Josh Reviews: Kitty’s House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn

Posted July 17, 2012 by Joshua Burns in Josh, Reviews, Werewolves / 1 Comment

Josh Reviews: Kitty’s House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn
Kitty's House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn
Series: Kitty Norville #7
Published on: January 4th, 2010
Genres: Werewolves
Pages: 292
Format: Paperback
One StarOne StarOne Star
Amazon | Book Depo 

REALITY BITES

Talk radio host and werewolf Kitty Norville has agreed to appear on TV's first all-supernatural reality show. She's expecting cheesy competitions and manufactured drama starring shapeshifters, vampires, and psychics. But what begins as a publicity stunt will turn into a fight for her life.



I don’t know why I’m reading books so far out of order. In this my latest, I’ve skipped to book seven.   I am pleased to say that the book stands on its own although gesturing a lot in its first half to characters I was not familiar with.   You will be pleased to know that said characters drop out if you were planning on reading out of order as I have done.

Kitty, our protagonist, displays much more backbone than I can glean from Carmel’s review of the first book in this series.   But it was the supporting cast in this House of Horrors that really added the color and intrigue that I wanted.   We have Lee, a were-seal, a concept that is cool even in the abstract.   Perhaps even worthy of a spin-off series.   We have Odysseus Grant, Doctor Strange knock-off and Las Vegas magician.   He might be my favorite character of the bunch, keeping a cool head even under the most dire of circumstances.   Plus he has a gateway to another world.   I promise that is not a spoiler as much as I wanted to glimpse said gateway.   We have Anatasia and Gemma, an old vampire and her beauty queen sidekick.   They get a little short-changed but only because this is the first book that they make an appearance in and eighty percent of their allure resides in their mystery.   The rest of the cast, telepathics, psychics, and another werewolf o my, did little for me.

But as you may already be noticing a chapter in any of these other characters’ perspectives would have been much appreciated.   What we have here is the Kitty monologue hour.   And as a character she pulls no punches about who she thinks is most interesting.   I think Kitty is well-fleshed and often the second-best decision maker, deferring to Grant who is too level-headed to be of this world.   But the book stagnates in her rather mundane dialect.   The wolf episodes that she brings on/endures occur few and far between; although, the wolf episodes in italects and often presented in sentences without subjects possesses a real thrill.   But even bad things can be said about these wolf episodes since they are so hard to orient yourself in, subjectless and objectless as they are.   Quite rightly.   This brings me to another problem (pro-blemish if you want to be positive about it), namely it is dire hard to keep track of the characters.   At the beginning of the book, we have something like ten characters cramped up in a house.   It is a miracle that I kept track of names as well as I did.

The plot shifts between an incredibly light, nearly eventless reality show conglomeration and a back up against the wall, fight for your life, death in the woods scenario.   In other words, the momentum at the start is practically nonexistent and then hits seventh gear about midway.   Yes, there were insinuations of something afoot the entire time.   But I would have almost preferred to see the effortless reality show parody formula developed further.   The characters that I have mentioned could do with more backstory and gathering around a fire to kumbaya, not spitting venom at each other or debating the fate of the world.   Spoiler: It’s not good.

Meanwhile, on the home front, boyfriend Ben oversees Cormac’s parole case.   We see none of this and I am wondering if I am, in fact, arguing that this book could have done with being bigger which makes no sense since its format is so matter-of-fact happenstance.   We do have one shining moment in the epilogue when a cat lady calls into Kitty’s radio station that proves Carrie can write convincing and intriguing slice-of-life episodes.   The lady rambles “then I tried leaving milk in a saucer, because one of the books I read said that works to calm brownies. But every morning the milk is gone and the house is a mess again”.   I would have liked to have heard more of her story.   But if that is too much of a stretch, I would have settled for anyone else involved.

Books in this series:

 

Recommended: Come to this one not for the shifting but the colorful and short-shrifted supporting cast.
Like this, like that: The Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter, the Alex Craft series by Kalayna Price and the Walker Papers series by C. E. Murphy

Josh

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Reviews UF/PR novels with an eye for weres of all kinds.

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