As regular readers of this blog know, I have a weakness for urban fantasy and I like to start new series. Often I stop reading them after volume 2 or 3 but that doesn’t matter much.
I’ve read a lot of good things about Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series and thought I give it a try and read the first book in the series Kitty and the Midnight Hour. I didn’t regret it, it’s a breezy, fun read with a lot of elements which are typical in urban fantasy or paranormal crime but also infused with a nice dose of originality.
Kitty has two important features. She’s a radio DJ and she is a werewolf. Usually she works the night or rather the midnight shift at the radio station. It isn’t the most popular show until she has the uncanny idea to transform it in a late-night advice show for supernatural beings. Who would have thought that there are so many vampires, werewolves, shape shifters and what not in Denver? And that they all are in need of advice?
Kitty is still a young werewolf and as such at the bottom of the pack. Her new show and subsequent success upset the pack dynamics considerably and soon she must fear for her life. Someone is after her and wants her dead. On top of that there is a killer on the loose. A rogue werewolf who kills randomly.
While I wouldn’t say this is as well written as Kelley Armstrong’s’ truly great series, it’s a fun read. Kitty is very smart and witty and a lot of cultural references will even appeal to the more sophisticated reader. I also liked that Kitty didn’t just fit in but actively fought pack dynamics which demand that she, as the youngest female member, has to please the alpha males whenever they like. Kitty is too intelligent, strong and determined, to just accept things the way they are and always used to be. If it means to break with tradition to fight for her rights, so be it.
The idea of the “Midnight Hour” was what made this series stand out as it’s truly funny.
I might pick up book two in the series as the combination of witty humour, a strong endearing heroine and a gripping crime made for a very entertaining read.
Not everyone’s cup of tea but lovers of werewolf novels, fans of paranormal crime and urban fantasy should give it a try. It’s one of the best of its kind. For those who like their series with different paranormal creatures, yes, there are vampires as well.
35 thoughts on “Carrie Vaughn: Kitty and the Midnight Hour (2005)”
This isn’t my genre at all, but I like the idea of the radio call in show! I wish I could think who to recommend it to – three or four years ago I was swimming in nieces who would have loved this. Actually, you probably never grow out of the taste for this sort of book if you have it!
The radio call in is really funny. of course it’s a parody of this sort of show but in a nice way.
It’s a bit like with YA novels, either you like them or you don’t and if you do, the age isn’t all that important. This isn’t YA though. Once more I was pleased how strong the heroine is and that she could very well serve as a postivie role model for younger women.
This looks like an interesting book, Caroline. I used to read series before, but haven’t read one in recent times. The idea behind this series is interesting. Nice to know that the book also has cultural references which appeal to the sophisticated reader. Nice to know that there are vampires too in the story 🙂 Hope you enjoy the second part of the series. Happy reading!
There are so many series available, I like to sample them. 🙂
There were quite a few interesting references. I first read one of her short stories but this was much better. I need something lighter from time to time. I’m even reading the Vampire Diaries right now. I like the TV series very much.
Denver, Colorado? I used to live outside of the town. I may have to read this one to get a piece of home (one of my homes, that is).
Yes, Denver, Colorado. 🙂
Quite a few of the newer series are very successful because they are set in real cities, each in another one, so people living there or who used to live there enjoy it.
I’ll look for a copy. I’ll probably end up back in Colorado one of these days. I responded to your comment about Salem’s Lot on Novroz’s blog. I think one of the reasons I enjoyed that novel was it took place on the East Coast, another place I lived. It was nice to read about back home, even if there were vampires. Not that I want to move back home, but it is fun to visit via books.
It’s a quick read, just somethung for in between when you’re not up for something more challenging. I liked that it has a feminist twist. Many werewolf and vampire novels just show women falling for domineering bad guys. Yikes.
I haven’t seen your comment yet.
Last time I’ve read fantasy novels was Twilight Saga and LJ Smith novels. I’m now more into historical fiction, so I might not give this one a try. HOwever I see this is quite a qick read?
It’s a very quick read, yes. Unlike LJSmith and Twilight it’s not marketed for teens. That makes it a bit different but it cannot compete with great historical fiction.
I read about 2 LJ Smith books and I couldn’t read any more, the writing was just not what I’m used to! Twilight was better though.
I will think about reading this one 🙂
I know what you mean. I’m just finishing part two of LJ Smith and the writing is not very good. Twilight is better written.
Kelley Armstrong’s series – I’ve reviewed the first book Bitten a while ago – was a real surprise, it’s very well written. Carrie Vaughn keeps it simple but she is very witty and nowhere as rudimentary as LJ Smith.
But if you like fanatsy and really good writing you should give Robin Mc Kinley a try. And she has a historical feel, although it’s pure fantasy. Her style is lovely, no clunky sentences or akward strcutures.
I agree that the radio show concept in a book like this is original and draw. You mentioned that there is humor in this book and I the two factors make this sound entertaining.
It is entertaining. i think in a way it’s a good thing there are so many paranormal series. They really have to find some interesting new angles to be read. 🙂
Werewolves? Not for me.
A question though: is it suitable for pre-adolescents? (trying to unglue Daughter from Twilight now…)
No, I wouldn’t think it is. Werewolf books tend to be explicit when it comes to sex scenes. This isn’t a YA series.
I’ll let you know when I find something that might get her out of the Twilight realm without being too explicit in any other department. 🙂
Thanks. She’s got posters of RP all over the wall now. Oh well, that’s normal at her age. 🙂
Btw, do the werewolves have BDSM tendencies to mix all current trends? 🙂
No, not as such but since there is the pack thing, the male wolf is always domineering and that’s why I liked this as Kitty fights against that.
I read this one, it is fun and light and I liked Kitty and I loved the talk show, but then I never read any others – it is super popular though!
I liked Kitty as a charcater and the talk show is such a funny idea. I often read only book one or two in a series, especially when they are this long.
I understand its popularity, it does stand out.
do you ever feel guilty? I sort of do…I feel like I need to explain myself to other readers or something. Funny
Why do you mean, because you don’t read the others in the series? I don’t think I feel guilty. It’s a matter of taste. I would feel guilty if I looked down on others for liking something.
Kelley Armstrong’s series is a favourite of mine, too, so I was interested to read your comparison (which fit with my hunch); I’ve had this one on my shelves for ages, but I’m encouraged to nudge it up the stacks a ways now. Thanks for the reminder!
Armstrong’s writing is very descriptive, very lush. Ihis is more straightforward, funny. I could imagine reading the whole of Kelley Armstrong’s series eventually but maybe not the whole Kitty Norville.
But it’s a quick read.
same as litlove…this isn’t my genre. I love horror and that includes monsters and other being but this kind is not what I usually read.
Nice to see you’re having fun with it. The werewolf thing reminds me to watch Being Human as one half of my favorite couple is acting as a werewolf there.
I will have to look that movie up.
I know you don’t like werewolves/vampires. This is definitely not horror. Not romnace either like so many werwwolf and vampire books. But as far as I know there will be romance in later books.
it’s a series not movie. I am waiting for the whole series to finish before watching it.
Ah, I see.
not one for me I think I not big fantasy fan ,all the best stu
I know and if you’d pick fanatsy then probably more something like Gormenghast.
I have read the peake books wonderful books I have a book by mieville on my tbr the city and city that is a fantasy
See… I know you a little bit. Yes, Miéville counts as well.