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Hello, my name is Valorie. I have a Master's Degree in History and a license to teach-- I have been both university professor and public school teacher. Currently, I am a middle school social studies teacher. I love horror movies and spooky things. Every day is Halloween. I am also a passionate book blogger.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Book Review: Kitty and the Midnight Hour (Kitty Norville, #1) by Carrie Vaughn

Title: Kitty and the Midnight Hour

Series: Kitty Norville
Book Number: 1
Author(s): Carrie Vaughn
Genre: Fiction - Paranormal
Finished: July 11, 2009

In Carrie Vaughn's Kitty and the Midnight Hour, book one in the Kitty Norville series, main character Kitty Norville works as a late night radio DJ and has great taste in music. These late nights fit well into her new nature as a werewolf. One night in between songs, a caller phones in and begins a discussion about the paranormal. Since this is something that Kitty understands very well, she answers. More people begin to call in claiming to be vampires or werewolves, or humans with vampire/werewolf concerns. Pretty soon Kitty is running her own late night talk and advice show for the paranormal called The Midnight Hour. Her pack leader, the Alpha Male Carl, is upset by this exposure of their kind. Upset even more is local Vampire Family leader Arturo who feels that she will upset the balance of his power by giving out advice to vampires. Both leaders want Kitty to stop the show, but Carl is begrudgingly willing to let Kitty go ahead with it for a cut of the profits. Though she is a weak werewolf, she is a strong talk show host and for the first time since she became a werewolf, Kitty is feeling independent and happy. But if good times were made to last, the book wouldn't be nearly as exciting as it is. First a werewolf hunter is sent to kill her, exposing her for what she is live on air. Second, there is a rash of killings that were obviously done by a werewolf. As the resident paranormal expert, Kitty is brought in by the police to scope out the crime scenes, but Kitty does not recognize the scent of this werewolf and knows he is not one of her pack-- he is a rouge in their territory mutilating young human women. Third, a church is claiming to "cure" paranormal creatures and everyone who goes there for help seems to disappear. Fourth, things within the pack itself have become a bit tense. Carl is making moves and suggesting she try to take the place of the Alpha Female Meg, her own maker Zan is becoming aggressive, and someone is working against her to get her killed by the hot werewolf hunter. How can a women so consumed by problems possibly give advice to others? Kitty is certainly not infallible. She is definitely not a tough girl capable of beating up men twice her size complete with roundhouse kicks like so many paranormal heroines. Sure, she is stronger than even a powerful human male, but she doesn't go around flaunting it. Kitty just wants to be normal. Even as a wolf she is submissive and uncertain, deferring to Carl as the Alpha Male as any wolf would do by instinct. Vaughn seems to have a good understanding of the hierarchical dynamics of wolf packs, which makes the book more realistic in terms of how werewolves as creatures would behave. I think too many authors are afraid to make submissive female characters for fear of playing into the stereotypes of women, and therefore realism suffers. Vaughn found a way to make Kitty real but also strong in her own way. There are many different plots and conflicts going on at once. Vaughn balances all of the issues very well, putting together a story that is fluid and easy to follow without becoming a tangled mess. Kitty is dealing with a lot of complicated stuff, but you don't feel overwhelmed by everything while reading. It all comes together in the end in a very intense scene, but the resolution is left open in certain ways to allow for the rest of the series to proceed. I have to admit that I like books that come in a series much better than stand alone novels. Usually, when given the choice of vampire or werewolf, I always choose vampire. Most werewolf characters are too animalistic and it is hard to relate to them. Yet Vaughn makes Kitty someone easy to understand and find commonalities with. So now I can say that there is at least one werewolf book that honestly enjoy. I enjoyed it most of all because of the flowing way Vaughn made her wolves human but wolf at the same time, never too much of either and certainly not just the best of both worlds. I am definitely excited to read the rest of the series.

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