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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Review: Kitty Norville Series by Carrie Vaughn

There are currently six books in this series, with the seventh book due out in January of 2010.

A number of people recommended this series to me before I finally tried he first book. I don't like some of the sillier books out there, where you hear more about fashionable shoes than you hear about the plot. I can't stand shallow protagonists who worry about hair and clothes and shoes when they should be worried that their life might be in danger. And, unfortunately, that's the idea the titles of the first few books gave me. I mean, really. A werewolf named Kitty?

I couldn't have been any more wrong. Kitty is not shallow, not at all. When she needs to dress up she is capable of doing so, but her normal work attire is jeans and a t-shirt. Her name is really Katherine, but everyone (including her parents) call her Kitty. Her name was Kitty long before she was turned into a werewolf.

This series focuses on the werewolves (since that is what Kitty is), though there are other shapeshifters as well, and there are vampires. We run into a few other mythological creatures in the course of the books, but I won't talk about them so I won't spoil any plots. The next book, Kitty's House of Horrors, is supposed to be a Big Brother type reality show, except everyone in the house will be some sort of supernatural, or have some sort of supernatural ability. There is no telling what mythologies the author is going to have fun with in that book.

One of the things I really enjoy about this series is the growth we see. The Kitty we see in books five and six are so far removed from the Kitty we first met in book one, that if you didn't read what had happened to her in the interim to help her grow up, you wouldn't think it was the same person.

Another thing I enjoy is that the author doesn't use constant conflict with friends and family in order to fill space. Kitty has a pretty normal relationship with her parents. She wasn't raised by someone other than her biological parents, she wasn't abused by anyone, there are no childhood traumas that she must try to overcome. She had a normal childhood and now she has a decent relationship with her parents and sister. And when she dates someone she acts like a responsible grown up. When she finally gets serious about someone, they both act like responsible grownups. Yes, there are arguments in the relationship, but they both work towards resolving the argument. It's a nice breath of fresh air.

This series gets a 9 of 10. The plots are good, the characters are likable and are well fleshed out, and the flow of the series works well.

1. Kitty and the Midnight Hour (2005)
2. Kitty Goes to Washington (2006)
3. Kitty Takes a Holiday (2007)
4. Kitty and the Silver Bullet (2008)
5. Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand (January 2009)
6. Kitty Raises Hell (February 2009)
7. Kitty's House of Horrors (2010)

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