Kitty and the Midnight Hour; … Goes to Washington; … Raises Hell — book reviews

Kitty and the Midnight Hour; Kitty Goes to Washington; Kitty Raises Hell by Carrie Vaughn. Gollancz ’6.99 each

Reviewed by Rhian Bowley

Kitty’s a DJ on a late-night radio show. She’s also a werewolf. At the start of the series she’s struggling to come to terms with that, and trying to keep it secret. Before long, her two lives meet and her radio show becomes the call-in show for anyone with questions about the supernatural … and the supernatural themselves. Think Frasier, with fangs, for the fey.

I was sent books one, two and six. A shame to have missed out on the intervening adventures, but it let me discover that, once she shakes off the traumas that shadow her in book one, Kitty shapes up as a fine main character. Struggling with her wolf side gives her the requisite conflict, and Vaughn assembles a rich cast of supporting characters. The plot arcs are unsurprising ‘ Kitty getting into trouble with other supernaturals, trouble it looks like she won’t be able to handle, but thanks to her quick wits and trusty side-kicks she gets there in the end ‘ but they are always well written and fast-paced. I wish it had slowed down sometimes, actually; often the plot sped away when it could have lingered, when I would have liked to spend longer with a character or situation. But given that this is a series, and that …Raises Hell shows clear advancement from the first two, it might be that the series gives more depth if all the instalments are read.

Something I struggled with is that these werewolves aren’t very likeable ‘ here it is the wolf running the show, rather than a human exulting in their cool wolf powers. So, there are alpha power-plays that made me uncomfortable in …Midnight Hour, and the breaks in action while Kitty has to placate her wolf, or her pack, can start to grate. But that is also a strength, because I like that Vaughn’s set up is imaginative and different from other werewolf stories. A lot of work has clearly gone into this world.

I wish that more was made of music in these books ‘ each starts with a page that’s a playlist, and Kitty’s a DJ, so I expected that songs would be a background throughout, they way they pulse through other series, like Stacia Kane’s Downside. But apart from a recurring (and inevitable) ‘Bad Moon Rising’ it is barely mentioned, and that feels like a missed opportunity.

Of the three, Kitty goes to Washington was much more fun than her first outing. Away from the aggression and abuse of the other werewolves, Kitty adventures alone and starts to enjoy herself. I loved the club she finds, full of hedonistic lycanthropes ‘ were-jackals, were-foxes and a sexy were-jaguar from Brazil. I can’t say much about Kitty Raises Hell without serious spoilers, just that Kitty’s still on the radio and still getting into trouble. If you enjoyed the earlier books, you’ll enjoy the sixth, too.  

Kitty and the Midnight Hour; Kitty Goes to Washington; Kitty Raises Hell by Carrie Vaughn. Gollancz ’6.99 each

Reviewed by Rhian Bowley

Kitty’s a DJ on a late-night radio show. She’s also a werewolf. At the start of the series she’s struggling to come to terms with that, and trying to keep it secret. Before long, her two lives meet and her radio show becomes the call-in show for anyone with questions about the supernatural … and the supernatural themselves. Think Frasier, with fangs, for the fey.

I was sent books one, two and six. A shame to have missed out on the intervening adventures, but it let me discover that, once she shakes off the traumas that shadow her in book one, Kitty shapes up as a fine main character. Struggling with her wolf side gives her the requisite conflict, and Vaughn assembles a rich cast of supporting characters. The plot arcs are unsurprising ‘ Kitty getting into trouble with other supernaturals, trouble it looks like she won’t be able to handle, but thanks to her quick wits and trusty side-kicks she gets there in the end ‘ but they are always well written and fast-paced. I wish it had slowed down sometimes, actually; often the plot sped away when it could have lingered, when I would have liked to spend longer with a character or situation. But given that this is a series, and that …Raises Hell shows clear advancement from the first two, it might be that the series gives more depth if all the instalments are read.

Something I struggled with is that these werewolves aren’t very likeable ‘ here it is the wolf running the show, rather than a human exulting in their cool wolf powers. So, there are alpha power-plays that made me uncomfortable in …Midnight Hour, and the breaks in action while Kitty has to placate her wolf, or her pack, can start to grate. But that is also a strength, because I like that Vaughn’s set up is imaginative and different from other werewolf stories. A lot of work has clearly gone into this world.

I wish that more was made of music in these books ‘ each starts with a page that’s a playlist, and Kitty’s a DJ, so I expected that songs would be a background throughout, they way they pulse through other series, like Stacia Kane’s Downside. But apart from a recurring (and inevitable) ‘Bad Moon Rising’ it is barely mentioned, and that feels like a missed opportunity.

Of the three, Kitty goes to Washington was much more fun than her first outing. Away from the aggression and abuse of the other werewolves, Kitty adventures alone and starts to enjoy herself. I loved the club she finds, full of hedonistic lycanthropes ‘ were-jackals, were-foxes and a sexy were-jaguar from Brazil. I can’t say much about Kitty Raises Hell without serious spoilers, just that Kitty’s still on the radio and still getting into trouble. If you enjoyed the earlier books, you’ll enjoy the sixth, too.  

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