Posted on December 15, 2007 by alanajoli
Written by Carrie Vaughn
Kitty Norville didn’t mean to become a popular radio personality. In fact, she could remember when she didn’t even enjoy having the night shift. But as a werewolf, her habits have gotten more and more nocturnal, and one bored night at the microphone discussing the paranormal becomes a talk-show phenomenon. Suddenly syndicated at two hundred stations, Kitty is the center of attention, and not all good. From a professional werewolf hunter named Cormac, to Arturo, head of the local vampire Family, to her own Pack, Kitty’s meeting opposition on all sides. Something has to give, but it won’t be the show. That’s the one thing that’s made Kitty fight for herself, and it’s the first thing that has given her life real meaning since she started sharing her body with a Wolf.
Kitty and the Midnight Hour isn’t scary in any classical sense of the word, but a murder investigation with a supernatural suspect, descriptions of the violence inherent in Pack dynamics, and the ally-or-enemy dynamic between Kitty and other supernatural factions keeps the intensity level high. The most intriguing parts of the novel, along with the relatively calm way that the world seems to take evidence of the supernatural living among them, is the description of Kitty’s transformation. Carrie Vaughn has obviously done her research on wolf behavior, and the whole shape of the social structure in Kitty’s Pack reflects the interactions in a natural wolf pack. While most of the novel is told in first person from Kitty’s perspective, when Kitty transforms, the Wolf’s perspective is given in third person, with a more limited vocabulary. The alpha wolf, Carl, is described as the One, and the Wolf’s emotions are appropriately simplistic, based on fight or flight. Even as a human, Kitty’s constant battle against her inner-wolf reaction to fight or flee comes through brilliantly.
The novel doesn’t quite question what it means to be human–Kitty’s already pretty sure that she has the answer to that one–but it does explore how people react to large changes in their lives that they must keep secret. How do you tell your mother that you’ve become a werewolf or a vampire? What if you’re alone in the world with no one to support you? Kitty’s role as a night talk show host allows her to handle all of those questions as naturally as a bar tender, but with a far wider audience. The result is a completely engaging novel with plenty of room for sequels. (Sequels, I might add, that are available in bookstores near you.) If you enjoy Ilona Andrew’s Magic Bites or Jim Butcher’s “Harry Dresden” series, Kitty and the Midnight Hour is definitely one you’ll want to pick up.
Reviewer: Alana Abbott