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Kitty and the Midnight Hour, by Carrie Vaughn Book Review | SFReader.com
Kitty and the Midnight Hour, by Carrie Vaughn Genre: Dark Fantasy Publisher: Warner Books Published: 2005 Review Posted: 11/8/2006 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 10 out of 10
Kitty and the Midnight Hour, by Carrie Vaughn
Book Review by C. Dennis Moore
Have you read this book?
When a conversation gets off-topic on her midnight radio show, DJ Kitty Norville finds herself with an all-new-gig. Instead of filling her play-list with all the alternative rock she can find, Kitty is given a weekly talk show to discuss, of all things, vampires and werewolves. Her pack leader isn't pleased with this--Kitty herself is a werewolf--thinking too much talk, especially the "I know what I'm talking about" advice Kitty is giving her callers, will draw unwanted attention to the fact that Kitty DOES speak from experience. Kitty offers Carl, her pack leader, half her paycheck and he relents. But as the show gains popularity, syndicated in almost a hundred markets, others begin to take notice and one night Kitty is almost assassinated on the air.
This leads to Kitty being exposed as a werewolf and suddenly Kitty's an even bigger star than she was before, appearing in over two hundred markets, garnering attention from the government, and aiding the police in determining whether or not the series of slayings in Boulder are the result of a rogue werewolf attack.
Carrie Vaughn's Kitty and the Midnight Hour is a . . . a "charming" novel? Yeah, maybe. It holds the interest, it flows pretty well. Kitty's character goes through drastic changes so there's plenty of development. The plot is well-structured. The ideas are interesting. Not original, but interesting. After all, I needed only read the back of the book before the Anita Blake similarities came to mind, and that's where the problems start to come up. Granted, I've only read the one Anita Blake novel ("Guilty Pleasures"), but readingKitty and the Midnight Hour I sometimes felt like I was reading Laurell K. Hamilton's little sister's attempts to prove she can do anything her big sis can do, too.
Let's count the similarities.
In "Guilty Pleasures," someone is killing vampires and Anita is forced to find the killer. In Kitty and the Midnight Hour, a werewolf is killing humans and Kitty is asked to find the killer. In "Guilty Pleasures," Anita gets help from a vampire killer who seems just a little TOO tough. In Kitty and the Midnight Hour, our hero is almost killed, then befriended, by a werewolf slayer who seems just a little TOO tough.
Okay, maybe those are all the similarities, but still, the book's only 259 pages, and those are some major plot points in both novels. That aside, however, I did enjoy reading Kitty and the Midnight Hour. After the last few books I'd read, I needed some good cheese. Vaughn definitely knows how to inject action in her plots--that's right, stuff HAPPENS in this book and it's exciting--and make the characters . . . while they're not exactly all likable, considering they seem kind of cardboard cut-out . . . ish?, they're not the angry "I hate everything, the world is horrible" type characters I hate. Kitty doesn't LOVE being a werewolf, but she's dealing with it in her own way, trying to keep a normal life going while keeping this secret. Werewolves in this world can change anytime they WANT to, but the only time they HAVE to is during the full moon. During her change, she's glad to have the comfort of her pack to help her through. But when it's not a full moon, the only pack member she's interested in seeing is T.J., her best friend. Kitty grows into a very well-rounded, self-confident, and self-reliant woman while we read this novel, Vaughn handled Kitty's development like an old pro and it made the experience all the more enjoyable.
In fact, I'm almost able to say it's one of the more enjoyable books I've read this year. Almost But there is one small detail which in the grand scheme of the novel is really a big thing that very nearly ruined the entire thing for me.
When Kitty is almost killed on-air, her killer is talking to her on the phone, telling her he's been hired to kill her and it has to be done on the air, that he's a werewolf-hunter and he's got silver bullets and she'll be dead in minutes. It's a very tense scene, well-written, and Kitty handles it all with great calm and logic. Except, the next day the world knows she's a werewolf. Why, because this guy said she was? If you're THAT interested in keeping the secret, DENY IT, idiot. So this guy says you're a werewolf and he's coming to kill you--he didn't kill you and you're not pressing charges, so friggin' deny it. It was all a ratings hoax. The guy's got mental problems. Anything, whatever you want, but for God's sake, if you don't want the world to know you really are a werewolf, don't admit you are. But that's not how Vaughn handles the situation. Instead the next morning Kitty's mother calls and asks if it's true, and Kitty says yes. Her co-workers look at her differently. Say it with me Kitty, "Wow, was that guy crazy, or what? Thinking I'm a werewolf. As if. Sheesh!"
I understand Kitty had to be exposed to further the plot of this particular novel, but the way it's played it's so unbelievable I just couldn't buy that it would happen that easily. And I still don't. So for me, that crucial scene in an otherwise decent novel . . . it hurt the entire novel's credibility for me and from there on I was reading, but I just wasn't as vested in Kitty's world anymore.
Other than that, yes, it was a pretty good book, one I'd gladly recommend. But still, with that point in mind I just can't bring myself to give the book more than 3 out of 5 stars, because that single point was so critical to the plot, but so impossible for me to suspend my disbelief. It really took me out of that world and made me once again see the pages in front of me, if you know what I mean. Good book, but flawed, that's all I'm saying.
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