Kitty Norville is a midnight-shift DJ for a Denver radio station - and a werewolf in the closet. Her new late-night advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged is a raging success, but it's Kitty who can use some help. With one sexy werewolf-hunter and a few homicidal undead on her tail, Kitty may have bitten off more than she can chew!
Carrie Vaughn is the author more than twenty novels and over a hundred short stories. She's best known for her New York Times bestselling series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty who hosts a talk radio advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged. In 2018, she won the Philip K. Dick Award for Bannerless, a post-apocalyptic murder mystery. She's published over 20 novels and 100 short stories, two of which have been finalists for the Hugo Award. She's a contributor to the Wild Cards series of shared world superhero books edited by George R. R. Martin and a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop.
An Air Force brat, she survived her nomadic childhood and managed to put down roots in Boulder, Colorado, where she collects hobbies.
If you hate special snowflakes who are always so good at everything, and so strong, and have awesome powers ... If you want to read a story where the "hero" is a weak, submissive, powerless lackey.. If you are tired of reading shifter books about the alpha who is noble, strong, and kind.. And, maybe, for once, you would like to read the story of the loser of a werewolf pack..
Have I ever found the book for you!
Kitty sucks. She is a complete coward who is constantly whining (literally - like a dog whines), cowering, shaking in fear, and hiding behind someone stronger than herself. She is the lowest pup on the totem pole and is super excited when the alpha of the pack rapes her after beating her up because she is so happy to have his attention. She also gives him half of every paycheck because he doesn't work. That's right, our alpha is a bully who beats up women and has the right to have sex with any member of the pack that he wants, even though he has a mate.
Hmm, I wonder why I didn't like it?!
After reading this, all I have to say is "Come back, snowflakes! All is forgiven!"
This was an interesting read that takes a different path for the urban fantasy heroine. Kitty is not the usual kickbutt heroine who can handle whatever life throws at her. She's a regular girl, who happens to be a werewolf. I found that intensely refreshing.
Kitty is the wolf of lowest status in her pack and complete submissive when the story starts. She has to come into her own and into the realization that she can make it on her own, and that she doesn't need the pack so much that she can deny her sense of self.
The description of werewolf pack dynamics kept my attention. I didn't care much for the way the pack controlled Kitty's life. I tend to be a loner because I don't like doing things because they are expected of me by others, and not because I want to. That's why I could really identify with Kitty's situation.
Kitty is still trying to deal with her dual selves, as a werewolf, and as a human. She became a werewolf under some pretty awful circumstances, and has lingering trauma over that. When the book starts, her parents don't even know she's a werewolf. She avoids going to family get-togethers because of fear that the wolf would emerge.
The one thing is hers and makes sense is her radio dj gig that becomes a show about preternatural creatures, and as it grows, helps Kitty to find her sense of self and meaning in life.
This story has plenty of action, but it is also a story about a woman coming into herself and dealing with her identity. That is one of the reasons I really like this story, because of the introspective aspects teamed with a good, action-oriented urban fantasy tale. Cormac is a hunter of vamps and weres who his hired to kill Kitty, but is convinced to call off the contract at the last minute by Kitty herself. Cormac certainly caught my interest, and I'd like to see more of him.
When this story ends, very few of the external conflicts are wrapped up. You know that Kitty has troubles ahead to face. But you know that she can handle it, because she is a wolf in control of her own destiny.
Only 3 chapters in and I am slightly disgusted. All the reviews here talk about this story being a coming to story for Kitty, a woman traumatized and learning to stand on her own again. Seriously though the way she is treated within the pack is just as emotional and mentally abusive as the half ripping her to shreds to make her a were in the first place.
In the name of 'protection' she cannot even go out by herself, has to fork over half of her money to keep her job, and isn't taught to hunt or protect herself so that the alpha can keep her as a 'cub' within the pack. Not to mention that the alpha Carl basically treats Kitty like a whore. He has his way with her and she allows it all for some minuscule scrapes of so called affection. Even if I hadn't read a ton of other were books that strictly adhere to the mating for life idea I would still find this demeaning and sad. And Kitty doesn't seem to have been this submissive and undemanding before she was turned into a werewolf. Also, whenever Kitty shifts into her werewolf form Vaughn switches into this weird 3rd person POV. She treats the wolfs as completely separate entities from the characters when in their forms as if that makes it ok that Kitty is now prostituting herself for a pat on the head.
The plot though involves assisins, fake faith healers pedeling a supernatural cure, dissapering vampires, and the revelation that were's and vamp's exist to an unknowing world. In other words, the plot seems awesome. It is just the pack ideals and dynamic that I find disgusting, demeaning, and as another reviewer put it - 'rape-y'.
Finally, I detest the woman's voice who is reading this book on the audiobook. She makes Kitty sound like she is running a 900 number with her deep, breathy take on the character. I'm hoping that this was the reason I didn't enjoy the book as much. I am going to read the second book myself, and am hoping this will have me enjoy it more.
Thoughts from after I finished the book:
The plot is what saved this book. If there hadn't been some great plot points I would not have survived throught the 4th chapter. Truely the beginning of this book just disgusted me with the characters thoughts and ideals. I especially enjoyed the involvement of the faith healer Elija Smith.
The ending though totally annoyed me plot wise. I couldn't believe that it ended the way it did. Totally pissed me off. It must be for a reason that is further developed in the next book, but for now I'm sad and annoyed.
Thankfully though Kitty grew up as a person and realized some key things not only about herself, but about her pack, her WORTHLESS alpha, her true friends, basically everyone and everything in her life. I must say in the end I am proud of her.
Who knows, maybe I have just been spoiled by how wonderful the werewolfs are in Patricia Briggs's novels. This new take on their society (an alpha who can take what he wants without mercy, love for the pack, or compassion for its members, etc.) is just horrible and I really disliked it.
At this point the next book in the series is going onto my TBR pile, but I doubt I will be getting to it anytime soon. I did redeem itself slightly in the end but now as much as I had hoped. There are something like 8 books in the series though so it MUST get better.
This was a cool book idea, but the weak protagonist and horrible gender dynamics completely ruin it. There are plenty of ways to write werewolves. Why, why, why did this female author choose to write hers in a way that justifies the main character's repeated rape?
This is not okay.
Seriously. Take out the werewolf aspect of this book and you are left with a story about a woman being abused and repeatedly raped by a man who is treating other women the same way (oh, and taking half of their earnings). This is gross and wrong and why the f*** would a female writer choose to create her pack dynamic like this without soundly slapping the concept down? There was no critique of rape culture to be found here, just a mewling, whimpering protagonist who kinda sorta actually likes being raped and it's kinda sorta actually okay because werewolf. Well, I guess the moral of this story is that if a man has power over you it's okay and you really want it. Slapping a paranormal facade over a real and common phenomenon that women experience at staggering rates all over the world does not make it any less a gross justification of that phenomenon.
This kind of garbage is turning me off of the entire paranormal subgenre. I almost see this book as I see Twilight--as less a novel and more a long-winded cry for help. Ms. Vaughn, although I will not personally be contributing to your finances any further, I sincerely hope you can afford therapy now with your absurdly high book sales.
It's unfortunate that this book even exists.
It's worse that it was written by a woman.
And it's absolutely appalling that female readers are eating this rape apologia up (along with other similarly-themed books, so many of which are also written by women). I'm ashamed for my gender. To my fellow women: you deserve better.
Kitty isn't the typical urban fantasy heroine when she starts out - but I like she's not fake. She's in an abusive pack relationship but doesn't realize it for awhile, and the way she was turned into a werewolf was abuse again. She has no one other than her pack, who she seeks for comfort, until she finds her own with a paranormal themed late-night radio show that takes off across the coast.
The radio station stuff was actually riveting - from funny callers, especially when they try to hook her up on dates, to having live attacks and suicides on the air, it's never a boring radio hour. About half the book takes place on the radio. Beyond this there is a mystery of pack politics and figuring out who put out a hit on her, and who's been killing humans around town (which wolf is which wolf?) I should have guessed the villain in that, but I didn't figure it out until right before Kitty did.
The characters were well done, even the detective who was sympathetic and not the typical hard-nosed detective who won't give fair chances. The personal awakenings with the pack was fresh for this type of book because I hadn't seen abuse like this toward the main character in quite this way before. The hitman becoming an ally was a weird twist that worked. A few vamp politics are thrown in - they don't take away from the story but add a little to the worldbuilding. Serial killer on the loose was another thing bringing this above the rest of the pack for keeping the pace smooth.
It's a quick book that's hard to put down but I hated what happened to a character I liked at the end. It soured it for me big time. I also found the revelations of who she is on the radio very unrealistic, especially if the paranormal was basically a kept secret. Humor helps, and Kitty is a likeable gal even if I wanted to shake her sometimes when she's not seeing things clearly enough fast enough, but it works for fans of furry fiction.
Maybe it's because I have a weakness for advice columns, but I freaking LOVED this. Wait, no, it's because it was perfectly paced, had a fresh voice (despite the fact it's a few years old now), and made me want to cry several times with the power of its characterization. Yeah, that's probably it. How did I miss this series for so many years?
ETA: Well, Goodreads certainly disagrees with me. I found this because various recommendation engines said I'd like it, not because any review of it caught my eye. I'm thankful I found it that way because I so strongly disagree with so many of this book's haters. If I had listened to them, I never would have picked up this fantastic book.
Kitty is an intensely damaged individual at the beginning of this book. She's a victim with a capital V. As a result, many reviewers checked out at that point because she wasn't strong, independent, or decisive. But...that's where she starts the book, not where she ends it. This is an origin story, and not all origins are pretty. Don't read this book if you require your heroes or heroines to be perfect from the beginning. Do read this book if you like urban fantasy for its ability to shine a light on the darker aspects of human nature.
What fun! Kitty is a werewolf DJ who runs a late-night radio program. When she starts talking about the possibility that there are "real" vampires, weres, etc., out there, her program suddenly starts to gain listeners and attention, not all of it good. Then, when she discloses that she is a werewolf, everything busts loose. Her pack leader is unhappy, the head of the local vampire collective forbids her to continue, a hunter has a contract for her life, and someone out there is killing people like a werewolf, drawing bad attention from the law.
One of the things I really liked about this book is that Kitty grows as a wolf in the book, from a cowering cub in the opening through the stages of maturation. With this growing her view of her alphas also changes. Also, Kitty is not a supergirl. It's only in this book, the first of the series, that she decides to take martial arts as a human, and she isn't slam-bang great at it from the start. I like this woman a lot!
Kitty Norville pleasantly surprised me with it's unique radio talk show segments and intriguing heroine. Unlike most other heroines in PNR UF series, Kitty is at the bottom of her pack and she's the meek one who needs the protection of others. Her radio talk show about supernatural beings suddenly takes off, and intrinsically she finds herself wanting to break out on her own and lead the pack.
The whole 'pack' mentality was interesting in this one. Even as humans, the Alpha can do whatever he wants with the rest of his pack members, provided they have his protection. Kitty's gotten by so far by acting submissive and needing to be looked after, but slowly, she starts to break free of that. It's an interesting journey to follow, especially because she's not the typical kick ass heroine and she starts out from the bottom.
The radio segments were fantastic. Callers talk to Kitty about their supernatural questions, and it attracts the attention of the police, government departments, and her own boss. I'm still not sure how the existence of werewolves, vampires and other beings are handled in Kitty's world. Typically, it would be risky to expose these beings, so why is she so open about it?
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the series unfolds, this wasn't mindblowing in any sense but intriguing.
Kitty is a werewolf who hosts The Midnight Hour, a late night radio program aimed at supernatural creatures. Every night she encounters her share of crazies, most of them are harmless, but one of them is a rogue who has started killing vulnerable women on the streets of Denver.
With the police unable to deal with it, it's up to Kitty, with a little help from an assassin sent to kill her, to track down the rogue.
This book is a lot of fun. It's probably not going to win any awards but it's great fun and entertaining.
This first book in a series did definitely made me hooked on the main character Kitty. I didn't have the highest hope for this book but I'm intrigued to continue. I have the tiniest feeling I've read another book in the series but haven't checked yet. Will hopefully continue on with it soon
My review is a cautionary tale. If one listens to a book on tape and hates it, but it's something they expected to like, always give the print edition a try.
Here is my review after I tried to read this book for the first time:
I listened to the first couple of chapters on cd, and it was so bad I had to stop even though I still had a hundred miles to drive with nothing on the radio. Since then I've realized that a bad narrator can ruin an audiobook so I think I'm going to try to read it instead and give it another chance. It would be nice to like a series that actually has a ton of books already written. My faves have 3-5. The ones I hate have 17-25. It's not fair.
I am so glad I did try again, and I wish I read it several years ago right after I listened to the audio version. The book is really good.
It took me awhile to figure that out, though. It wasn't because of the annoying tone of the cd version. That, thankfully, was only a bad narrator. But Kitty endures and justifies a lot of abuse due to her werewolf clan's rigid and cruel enforcement of pack order. I was afraid we had something even worse than Mercy Thompson since Mercy is at least is strong and repulsed by sexism unless it's with the pack politics. Even there, her acceptance of the pack's sexism doesn't extend to cowering in their presence, well, except when they're aroused, or when they are about to go all wolf or when...never mind. Those books drive me crazy taking a fabulous heroine and making her put up with being treated like crap because that's just what werewolves do. (You're not a werewolf and you're not in the pack!)
Anyway, it looked like Kitty was okay with the ultra-submissive position she was in. I do have to say that it was a far more realistic portrayal of what life would be like in such a hierarchal animal society. The author not only showed what behaviors would result in showings of power, but also explained what they meant in a not telling sort of way.
But I digress again. As the story progresses, things do not evolve into black and white on these issues. We the audience are not supposed to think this is all okay, either, and in fact, getting the reader thinking about them is the author's intent, I think. And the abuse isn't specifically toward women, either; all the pack is subject to these violent and deadly rules, although sexual abuse only happens to women it appears. The top position is always male, but there is also always an alpha female who is in a position to dole out heaps of abuse herself should she so desire.
There is another violent male with very questionable values who comes into the picture and that brings new issues, but I can't tell you anything without giving too much away. I think that overall, these themes and how they are handled are some of the things that set this book apart. I love shades of gray when it comes to complex issues like this.
Putting aside the violence and abuse issues, let's look at other parts of the book. For one, the heroine does do stupid and dangerous things, sometimes impulsively, but for once there are very good reasons for her doing them unlike what is so common in the UF scene.
I do think there are problems though. I don't like how easily society accepts a huge change in its foundations of belief. I think that there would be a lot of . Kitty also dealt with some other traumas far too easily with none of the PTSD and anxiety these things would induce.
Men keep saving her which I hate (sometimes is okay, but not all or most of the time). She does keep getting stronger, but maybe a little too fast.
The end was good in that it made sense. It wasn't some to-good-to-be-true ginormous miracle power or anything that saved the day and the aftermath made sense. I'm not going to tell you anything about it except this which affected me a lot:
Overall this was an excellent book and I am eager to read the next one in the series.
I must confess that I have not read this series in order. I’ve been picking up the books at used book sales and using them in challenges whenever possible. Having read Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand (book 5) first, I was really surprised by the reviews of this book. Surely it could not be about the same series? I kept hearing about Kitty being very submissive, almost nauseatingly so. Certainly this was not the Kitty in the later books. When I finally got to read this book, I could not believe the transformation. For those of you that are put off by Kitty’s character in this book, rest assured that she really does develop a spine in the later books.
Kitty Norville (how ironic is a werewolf named Kitty?) has been a werewolf for about three years. She is a very low ranking wolf and extremely submissive. Kitty’s wolf is eager to please the pack Alpha, a thug named Carl. Kitty’s submissiveness is a terrible thing to watch, especially when Carl takes advantage of Kitty sexually even when he is mated.
I found it hard to read about Kitty’s transformation into a werewolf. Her story is just awful: a bad date, a date rape, and left alone in an isolated park during a full moon. Kitty got the attention of a pack of wolves. Kitty’s evening from hell becomes even more hellish as she is bitten.
Kitty’s saving grace is her career as a radio personality. Kitty’s Midnight Hour radio show becomes very popular, despite the objections of her Alpha and the local vampire leader. When the show goes into syndication, Kitty was able to bring in a lot of money into her pack. Kitty’s show allows her to develop as a character, to get stronger and more assertive. It also allows her some financial independence as well. At one point, the Alpha suggests that Kitty may want to challenge his mate for an Alpha position.
I liked how the author gives us the wolf’s perspective. Submissive females are a little repugnant to me, but when the scene is explained from the eyes of a wolf, I was able to understand the character better.
The pack politics are not very well developed in this book as they are in other werewolf/shifters series. Perhaps it is because this Alpha was more of a thug than a leader to his pack.
The idea of a church group having a cure for vampirism and lycanthropy was intriguing. I had hoped that the story line would have been expanded. I would have liked to have seen more on that.
The supporting cast of characters in this book is interesting. While most of Kitty’s pack was a bunch of thugs, TJ stood out and protected Kitty from Carl and the other weres. Cormac deserves special consideration. Hunky, effective, and lethal, Cormac’s primary function was an assassin. I loved how he worked with Kitty. I can’t say enough about Ben the lawyer, who provided excellent advice to both Kitty and Cormac.
Hands thicken. claws sprout, think about flowing water so she doesn't feel bones slide under skin, joints and muscles molding themselves into something else. She crouches, breathing deep through bred teeth. Teeth and face growing longer, and the hair, and the eyes. The night becomes so clear, seen through the Wolfs eyes.
3.5 stars, rounded up for some interesting trope subversions - one of the bigger urban fantasy series that I never did get around to, and I enjoyed this start to the Kitty Norville series.
One of the things I liked was where we started with this; not in blood and trauma and "oh my god, I'm a werewolf", but in Kitty's first steps to really finding her own voice. She's a few years into werewolf-dom, but it's only when she starts talking about the long-rumoured factual status of supernatural species on her late night radio show that she starts really starting to grow into herself.
She's not a too-ready-to-fight badass, either, but a much more realistic (to me, ymmv) person who is kind of terrified of being on her own and is too willing to compromise herself to avoid that. Though - no real spoilers - when she tells her story you can absolutely see why it took her so long. I liked the upturning of the all-too-familiar werewolf alpha trope and the relationship that borders on abusive being recognised as such; I liked a lot of the characters, and the way they were allowed to act as people rather than well-worn roles.
All together, a strong start to the series, and a quick, fun read. Definitely a good series to pick up between heavier or more demanding books.
I listened to the narration of Kitty and the Midnight Hour. I was expecting to not be impressed and walk away from this series believing it was just another take on an overdone theme. After all, the series is about werewolves and vampires -- hasn't this theme been done before? But I was pleasantly surprised with Kitty and I plan to continue on to the next book ... sometime. But I won't be rushing to read it or listen to it.
Kitty is the main character and I liked her well enough. Kitty is not like Mercy, Elena, or even Riley. While she is a werewolf, she is not a tough ass-kicking she-wolf. Instead, she is at the bottom of her pack, typically submissive and she takes self-defense classes to work on her fighting skills. The side characters of TJ, Carl and Cormac were interesting and rounded out Kitty's world somewhat. There is a unique setup with a love interest that is not ideal, beauitful or romantic -- usually not a path taken in this genre.
I was able to put this book down (or rather turn it off since I was listening to it). The narration was decent and the storyline was okay. But nothing about it compelled me to go on. A negative for me with Kitty, which likely contributed to my lack of investment in the story, is that not enough time was spent developing Kitty's character. There is barely anytime spent with Kitty alone; she is always reacting or acting. There is not enough of her outside of the action. I would have preferred more character development, hopefully the next books do this a little bit more.
Short version: I wish that I could say that I loved this book from start to finish, but I can't. I was frustrated with Kitty's weakness for much of the book, and it was only toward the end that I started to really get her. That's not to say that it was a bad book (it wasn't) or that I hated it until the end (I didn't), it's just that I'm a character reader, and I need characters to make sense. Unfortunately, to me, the characters and the "paranormal hierarchy" just didn't make sense until close to the end.
After finishing the book, I think it makes a little more sense as to why Kitty would behave the way she did for so long... but I feel like the explanation should have come earlier in the story... It would have lent a validity to Kitty's dependency and need for protection that I felt was missing.
Oh, I almost forgot. When Kitty shifts into her wolf, the narrative changes to 3rd person, which was just weird. I didn't really care for that aspect at all. It just felt out of place and awkward - like it was completely separate from Kitty herself, rather than a part of her.
I did feel that there was a lot of growth to the main character though, which I appreciated, and that overall I liked this well enough to continue the series - but it was far from perfect. I did like Cormac, so I'm hoping we see more of him going forward.
(Fair Warning! I'll just say now that there shall be spoilerish rantings and stuff ahead, so continue at your own risk.)
Long version: So, Kitty is a puppy. She's a werewolf at the bottom of her pack's peculiar pecking order. Completely submissive to, and completely dependent on, her pack and alpha to keep her safe. Safe from what, you ask?
You see... Kitty was date-raped, and when she fled from the dick who did it, she had the crappy luck to be found by a werewolf and bitten, and thus turned herself. The werewolf's pack took Kitty in, promising her security and safety... and then kinda proceeded to continue violating her for the next 3 years. I use the term 'violate' here in just about every way. As Alpha, one can pretty much have run of the pack without any consequences at all, so there's more rape**. But she was also abused and terrorized by the Alpha and other members of the pack, kept in a constant state of fear and submission and powerlessness. So not only was her body violated, but her trust and her identity and EVERYTHING was violated.
Some pack. There's no order, no consistency, no security - none of the stuff that a good pack provides. Instead, being the lowest ranked member, Kitty lived in unending fear of being picked on, or beat up, or in trouble... so she coped by being completely submissive to everyone above her. It's give all control to those higher than you, or nothing. In any other relationship, that would be considered physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
(** Kitty didn't see it that way - she thought that was normal pack behavior, and the submissive wolf in her worshiped her Alpha. She didn't know better. It was only when she found a sense of place outside the pack that she began to see that shit was fucked up.)
So coming back to the "What were the pack protecting her from?" question... My answer is "independence". Though they'd have you believe it was from vampires, or other humans... big spiders... vicious kittens... whatever.
So, Kitty finds her place outside the pack, with her radio show, and proceeds to remember that she is not just pack puppy, but also a person. This creates all the drama you'd expect from alpha tyrants who don't like to be told no. Kitty does a lot of cringing, because the part of her who has lived as the pack puppy for 3 years feels she should, but the woman part of Kitty is like "Fuck that." And I say GOOD. The problem is that Kitty's only saying it in her head... she's afraid to make a move to go along with the thought... she's too used to having the pack behind her. And to that I say, "Shit or get off the pot, girl."
She eventually does, and there are some interesting plot twists and turns that, while predictable, were still decent. Nothing was really resolved, but that's what the rest of the series is for, I guess.
Still... despite my annoyance with the above stuff, I did like the book, and will continue on with the series at some point, now that Kitty has a backbone and is willing and able to stand up for herself.
KITTY NORVILLE and I first met back in 2010 when I started my blog; at the time I found the heroine rather spineless, and I didn’t particularly care for Carrie Vaughn’s werewolves. I forged on to book 2, didn’t see much improvement, and decided to call it quits. Now, five years later, the series has concluded, and I’ve decided to give it another chance in audio. Marguerite Gavin’s narration caused me to bump my original rating up by a star, and my second impression kinda left me scratching my head as to why I was so harsh to begin with.
KITTY AND THE MIDNIGHT HOUR still didn’t bowl me over with its mild level of Urban Fantasy badass-ery, although I did find myself enjoying the story and the characters more than expected given my initial assessment. The off-scene rape bits are probably what tipped me over the edge originally, and I’ve since encountered far worse over the course of my fictional wanderings *cough* Anne Bishop’s THE BLACK JEWELS trilogy *cough* that I barely batted an eye at them. Also, now that Norville is out from underneath Carl’s wing it seems unlikely that there will be a repeat.
The inclusion of a werewolf POV is borderline mandatory in a series with a fury protagonist IMO, and Vaughn’s spin was to my liking. The possibilities for future plot threads are practically endless as well given Kitty’s outstanding issues with the pack, the barely explored vampire angle, and the potential for her to become a police consultant, not to mention all of the cray-cray her callers could throw at her on any given night. In addition, it helps to know that there are only fourteen installments because it shows that the author has a plan of attack.
Marguerite Gavin is a new-to-me narrator, and given the impact that she had on my overall opinion of this title, I’d say that she just significantly increased the odds of me staying the course. The subtle adjustments of her tone and pitch with regards to Kitty’s “radio” voice and that of her wolf’s were well executed, especially her three-way on air dialogues. I enjoyed Gavin’s European accents, although they did seem slightly out of context, but that was in part due to some holes in the secondaries’ backstories which she can’t be held accountable for.
KITTY AND THE MIDNIGHT HOUR needed a few years to ferment, at least for this listener.
I am generally not a huge fan of post-Buffy urban fantasy, particularly the "hot chicks in leather" genre. The only reason I decided to try the first book in the popular "Kitty Norville" series is that I've heard good things about the author, Carrie Vaughn, and also it was on sale on Audible.com.
Well, Kitty and the Midnight Hour is well-written and not as schlocky as I feared, but it did not change my mind about the genre, nor am I likely to continue following the series. I found the story entertaining mind candy, but it's certainly nothing that stands out from the crowd. Also, I got so tired of Kitty groveling, whining, submitting, etc. By the time she finally did grow a pair -- sorry, grow some claws -- I just wanted to see the designated Love Interest werewolf hunter shoot her. I wanted to see more vampires and werewolves and learn more about how their world works, not listen to endless tedious angst about how much it sucks to be a lycanthrope. Shades of White Wolf!
The story is split into several different threads: Kitty's renegotiating her place in the supernatural world (and in her pack), a rogue werewolf who's killing people, and an evangelical preacher who claims he can "cure" the supernatural. None of these plot threads are completely resolved by the end of the book, so obviously you're meant to read the next installment. I wish I could say that the strength of Kitty's character was enough for me to want to find out what happens next, but it's not. The most entertaining bits were Kitty's on-air advice to lovelorn (and/or seriously delusional) supernaturals and supernatural-wannabes, but this was also too thin a premise by itself to keep me engaged with the series.
Not a bad read, certainly, but I'm becoming increasingly judgmental about well-trodden genre novels, and this just didn't have enough Win to overcome my aversion to "hawt vampire-boinking chick" series. (Okay, in fairness, Kitty doesn't boink any vampires... at least not in this book.)
I don’t like werewolves as much as I like vampires. (And I don’t like vampires all that much.) This is some kind of fictional monster prejudice of mine, and I’m a little ashamed of it and would welcome a twelve-step program to help me overcome it. For now, though, I prefer my monsters with a veneer of civility. And while Ceridwen makes a good point about having sex with vampires, the whole transforming-into-a-dog and then having sex thing is not much better. Despite these reservations, however, I tried to keep an open mind while reading this book.
Kitty and the Midnight Hour has a lot going for it. Squeezing in at a slim 259 pages, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. The pacing is tight, if somewhat linear, but it still allows the room necessary for Kitty to develop as a character. And to her credit, Carrie Vaughn doesn’t hit the reader over the head with the fact Kitty is a werewolf. She defers the origin story until the middle of the book, which keeps the exposition at the beginning light and allows us to get a sense of who Kitty is now. In fact, if one picked up this book and didn’t read the back cover, one wouldn’t even learn Kitty is a werewolf until page 8 or so. I have to commend Vaughn for not bludgeoning us to death with exposition in an eager attempt to showcase her wonderful urban fantasy world.
I also enjoyed the romance subplot—or lack thereof. Cormac is the dark and brooding antihero who waltzes into the book and could, if Vaughn so chose, become the dashing love interest of Kitty. Things could get hot and heavy fast. As it is, they share a kiss but go no further—not out of chastity so much as the fact that Kitty’s pretty shaken up from being attacked by another member of her pack. But that seems pretty realistic, because so often situations that could result in romance (or at least sex) get interrupted by more immediate and mundane concerns, like staunching the flow of blood from a wound. Such is life.
Vaughn lampshades Kitty and Cormac’s potential relationship on Kitty’s radio show, and if that kiss is any foreshadowing, then I suppose they develop it further in later books. That’s fine, though, because Vaughn is taking it gradually. Girl doesn’t just meet boy and fall automatically into his arms because that’s expected paranomal fantasy. And that made this book a lot more tolerable, especially when it came to Kitty’s other relationships.
Kitty’s situation in her werewolf pack is—and she admits this—abusive from the human perspective. As a junior member of her pack, she must defer to everyone and submit to the men who want her, unless she wants to fight about it, which is dangerous. In return for this submission (“loyalty”), the pack protects Kitty from external threats, such as the local vampire Family. It’s a twisted situation and very uncomfortable for the loss of agency it means for Kitty. As her radio show takes off and she uses it to explore her own feelings about being a monster, Kitty becomes more independent and strong-willed.
We are supposed to cheer her on in this, to recognize that she is breaking away from her abusive situation and celebrate this. And I do, because werewolves or not, it seems like what Vaughn is describing is, again, realistic. People in abusive situations often recognize the situation for what it is but still don’t (or can’t) take steps to leave. But Kitty’s situation is complicated by pack politics, by the fact that the alpha female has set up elaborate plots to get Kitty killed. It leaves the uncomfortable question lingering of what’s “acceptable” in a sane and stable pack—if your leaders aren’t trying to kill you, is it OK they still demand sex from you? I don’t know. This is where the whole humans turning into canines starts to freak me out.
So I’m glad that, in addition to the internal pack struggle, there are some external threats as well! Kitty’s radio show brings her into conflict with the local vampire Master, and she also learns about a faith healer who claims to be able to cure monster conditions. The nature of monstrosity—whether it’s a condition explainable by science and medicine or something wholly supernatural—is a motif that underlies Kitty and the Midnight Hour, and Vaughn mounts a very interesting investigation. I wish Vaughn had been more explicit about the status of the public’s belief in the existence of monsters in this world. At the beginning, it seems like everything is status quo: monsters aren’t real. But if that’s the case and Kitty’s revelation of being a werewolf changes everything, the amount of media fallout seems pretty tame. This should be a bigger deal than it seems, and that left me a little confused.
The end of the book is more of a cliffhanger than a resolution, for while it closes one chapter of Kitty’s life it still leaves many questions unanswered. It almost demands one read the sequel. This doesn’t bother me, because Vaughn carefully balances the need for resolution with her cliffhangers to set up the next book. The result isn’t perfect, namely when it comes to the loose ends about the state of Kitty’s world. Nevertheless, Kitty and the Midnight Hour is good. I won’t be shouting about it from the rooftops or rushing out to buy every book in the series, but I’ll read more if it.
When I read the first book of a long series I'm not looking for perfection - I'm looking to be drawn in. Kitty and the Midnight Hour does just that.
Kick-ass heroines are a time-honored trope in urban fantasy and Kitty is not one of them. She's at the bottom of the supernatural pecking order and it's refreshing. I'm used to seeing pack politics from the top down, but here we get a look from the bottom up. What is life like for the weakest members of a pack? What is it like to be the protected instead of doing the protecting? Some reviewers see it as a weakness - how dare the heroine not be strong from day one! - but it allows her to develop as a person and hopefully avoid the power-up trap many series fall into.
Speaking of development, the characterization is on point and deep for everyone from Kitty down to the guests on her radio show. While some parts of the plot don't strike me as believable - weres are outed and accepted in society too quickly for my taste - the characters always ring true. I can't wait to meet them again in book two.
Give this a go if you're in the mood for fun urban fantasy that colors outside the lines.
Yes, that's precisely it. If I think about it, I can pull out a lot of stuff I unexpectedly enjoyed about this novel. It sucked me right in and gave off some Alpha & Omega vibes...if there was no Charles, Anna wasn't an omega, and the Marrock didn't exist. The story focuses on a submissive werewolf without much going for her...until she starts answering questions about the supernatural on her late night D.J. gig and suddenly goes national. The plot kept things fast paced, Kitty was an interesting heroine, and the overall worldbuilding provided something new and clever. But honestly...my gut still says ick.Icky werewolves. Icky vampires. Icky pack. Icky worldbuilding. There are some obvious things like this review lays out. But I did try to ignore those things. I could see them setting up for character change. If Kitty stayed at the bottom of the pack and continued to let her creepo Alpha do what he wanted, then yeah. You're getting a low rating from me. But we see her start to take ownership of her own life again and show interests and in doing so sort of 'wake up' to how messed up her life is. It just doesn't go far enough. And despite trying to keep an open mind and tell myself that maybe later books will go further, I'm not satisfied. I'm just grossed out that the Alpha-boy I think I mostly blame the wolf POV. But I see several red flags (especially with the potential romantic lead) that would continue the ick factor. But also, it could be overcome if the author keeps Kitty on a fast track to empowerment and character growth. So maybe I'll read the next one. Or maybe I'll just go read all the one star reviews for the next book and see if they convince me. In either case, if you do give this one a try, prepare for abuse that will make your stomach turn.
The first 35 pages or so made me want to put the book down and never return. Maybe I'm spoiled by such strong female leads like Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thomspon, and karen Marie Moning's Mac Lane. I about gagged when Kitty cowered and whimpered in front of her alpha and then let him screw her the next morning. Mind you he has a mate. He reminds me of the alpha in Briggs' Alpha and Omega series. The one who was taking his pack's money, and let Anna be used as a plaything to keep his crazy mate sane...very similar. Kitty was an accidental werewolf, who was brought into the pack 5 years ago, and is still acting like a cub-but that's what they want. She finally grows up, and I think she's seeing that she's a little more dominant than she ever knew. I think the author did that to show us how Kitty had to grow into her wolfy self. I hope, because if I read the next one and she's still a submissive wolf, I may have to stop. I have heard great things about this series, so I hope she just gets stronger, and I'd like to see more of our bounty hunter...he was hot. But Kitty has to "man-up" so to speak, or I may just stop reading her. Other than that, the story has potential. I like Kitty when she's not around other wolves. She smart, sassy, and I like how she stood up for her radio talk show. She may have accidentally "outed" herself and the werewolf community, but the vampires now owe her one, and she's not giving her paycheck to her alpha any more, so let's see how she develops.
I remember reading, or trying to read, this book a while back, but I forget exactly when so I'll set the date to today.
In any case, what I do remember with perfect clarity is that it made me sick! I don't even know what I was doing picking up a book about werewolves - I dislike them as supernatural characters and only love a couple of select series that feature them.
Here's what I remember from the 100 something pages I read:
Kitty is a werewolf. She's been bitten against her consent by one of the wolves in the pack she is now in. Carl, the pack Alpha, is an absolute ass who uses and abuses Kitty on a daily basis: he takes half her paycheck, he controls her every move (she can't even go out on her own), he keeps her weak and untrained so she remains his "cub". Jerkface has a mate, but being Alpha he can take what he wants, when he wants it, so he basically treats Kitty like his personal hooker, sleeping with her whenever he feels like it. For me, it pretty much read like rape, especially since Kitty knows she can't protest lest she'll end up on her own, unprotected.
And if that's not bad enough, Kitty accepts the way Carl and the pack treat her!! She crawls on her belly and whines for a tiny bit of attention from Douchebag aka Carl.
Seriously, this book portrays the rules of the werewolf society in the WORST POSSIBLE WAY and it made me sick.
I really wanted to like this book, and I do think that the writer's style is accessible and it's possible that I'd like a different book from her, but I only managed to get a third of the way through this before I had to stop.
First, I didn't feel like the characters were really developed, and while they should have been interesting, they were just a little too two dimensional for me to connect with. I find the pack dynamics in this to be fairly disgusting and rape-y since the pack leader can and will have sex with whomever he wants, and something about the change seems to make them slavishly devoted to their pack leader, particularly right after the change. Essentially, her pack leader is a date rapist and the change is kind of like their roofie. Also, the abuse within this structure (he takes 50% of earnings!) is out of hand and because of the magic of the change he will discipline her and her reaction is to lick his chin.
Maybe the book got better, but I couldn't read anymore because of the gross gender fail. I will, however, say that stuff at her radio station was the most enjoyable part of the book and the reason why I read as much as I did.
I have read two books from this series, and i can say i hate it. It annoyed me beyond reason.
In the first book our Kitty is for a lack of a better description a floor mat for her pack and her alpha, doing whatever she is told no matter how degrading it is just to scrape some attention from her pack master. You get the idea in the beginning of the book that she is emotionally crippled and doesn't know just how pathetic her certain actions really are. Then in the same book you have Kitty the DJ, host of the Midnight Hour that deals with problems that might befall the paranormal community, and for the most of it her advice is solid and down to earth. So, clearly she is not stupid, but just likes to wallow in self-pity and whine. The second book was even worse then the first one and got me thinking on more then one occasion just how the hell did this woman survive in the world with the amount of idiocy she pulls? Kitty is a horrible main character without a single likable attribute and i can say with all the conviction of my heart that i do NOT want to know what happens to her in the series. A complete waste of time.........
Oh my - old timers! I thought I had this book, but couldn't find it. For some reason I'd collected the next 4, but didn't have the first, which was weird. I hadn't realized I read it! Well, I'm going to re-read it & then read the others that I have. I guess it wasn't particularly memorable.
I barely got into it & remembered it fairly well. I blame my lack of memory on me & reading dozens of similar books over the past few years. It was fun! On to the next!!!
------- From 27Oct08 ------------- The book started off slow for me, but was readable. I actually didn't like the heroine much. About halfway through & I couldn't put it down, as the heroine came into her own (a little too rapidly, but it worked for me). It's not great literature by any stretch, but it was a fun, quick read. It wasn't quite as predictable as so many of these books are & while sex happens occasionally, it isn't graphic. I'll look forward to reading another.
I hated this book to begin with. The pack dynamics SUCKED and I don't think the way it was was how it really should be. Carl sucked as an Alpha. He wasn't that strong and he was spineless. Zan should have been killed when he attacked, but it's explained like it was due to him being a werewolf. Which I felt was a cop out. This book also does a lot of telling too which got annoying and the radio show though is interesting. Still I'm thinking I'll read the next one.