RogerBW's Blog

Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Carrie Vaughn 28 February 2018

2005 urban fantasy, first in a series. Kitty Norville is a late-night DJ; one night she gets a call from someone who claims vampires are real, someone else says that werewolves are too, and lots of other people seem to want to talk about them. Which is tricky, because she's been a werewolf herself for three years.

This is an antidote to the sort of werewolf fantasy (not looking at any Kelley Armstrong in particular) where The Pack is all and perfect, and the big macho guy in charge of it is the ideal lust-object. That's what Kitty's wolf instincts are telling her, and where she is mentally at the start of the book; but as she develops some independence thanks to the success of the radio show, she comes to realise that the human side of her is simply better equipped for living in a world where she's actually people, not just a particularly smart animal. And sometimes a big macho guy is just a bully.

That transition does mean that for much of the first half she's a very damaged individual in an abusive relationship, and doesn't realise it. While there's a substantial series of Kitty books after this one, here at least she's definitely undergoing a transformation from bottom-of-the-hierarchy doormat into something more interesting.

There are other things happening – a rogue werewolf killing people, an assassin who specialises in supernatural creatures, a dodgy-looking cult that promises to cure vampirism and lycanthropy, a bureaucrat from the federal government who's trying to get some attention for his report on supernatural creatures that's been quietly buried by people who don't want to talk about them – but the main story here is of Kitty's growth.

"I'm a vampire. I was attacked and turned involuntarily about five years ago. I'm also—at least I used to be—a devout Catholic. It's been really… hard. All the jokes about blood and the Eucharist aside—I can't walk into a church anymore. I can't go to Mass. And I can't kill myself because that's wrong. Catholic doctrine teaches that my soul is lost, that I'm a blot on God's creation. But Kitty—that's not what I feel. Just because my heart has stopped beating doesn't mean I've lost my soul, does it?"

The book is well-paced and not over-long, and even when she's being a doormat Kitty seems to retain some sense of humour. Recommended.

Followed by Kitty Goes to Washington.

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