Kitty Steals the Show by Carrie Vaughn
I’ve been reading the Kitty Norville series since it first started coming out. What attracted me to it was Kitty’s unusual job (nighttime radio DJ and talk show host) as well as the character arc that allowed Kitty to grow from subservient werewolf to confident woman. I was also drawn to the cultures of the various supernatural races. Kitty Steals the Show gives readers a bit of a peek at the vampires’ Long Game, machinations that determine which vampires rule from the shadows.
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“Kitty has been tapped as the keynote speaker for the First International Conference on Paranatural Studies, taking place in London. The conference brings together scientists, activists, protestors, and supernatural beings from all over the world—and Kitty, Ben, and Cormac are right in the middle of it.
Master vampires from dozens of cities have also gathered in London for a conference of their own. With the help of the Master of London, Kitty gets more of a glimpse into the Long Game—a power struggle among vampires that has been going on for centuries—than she ever has before. In her search for answers, Kitty has the help of some old allies, and meets some new ones, such as Caleb, the alpha werewolf of the British Isles. The conference has also attracted some old enemies, who’ve set their sights on her and her friends.
All the world’s a stage, and Kitty’s just stepped into the spotlight.”
What I liked best about this novel was the bits where the older (and Old World) vampires make an appearance. A few of them are a bit more open than usual with their personal histories and what they’ve seen throughout their lives. Of course, readers also get to see that their values are very different from those of Kitty and her friends. It’s not just that they’re older and come from a different culture; the author makes readers well aware of the fact that their immortality has changed their views of the world they live in.
It was nice to see that the persistent issue of human acceptance of the supernatural community is coming to the forefront again. The conference highlights the fact that questions are being asked about the rights of such people as werewolves and vampires. I found it amusing that some of the panels that Kitty attends provide no more real information than was known before, simply because so little is known about how to deal with the supernatural among us. On the flip side, the novel doesn’t shy away from the extreme prejudices that could be leveled against people so different from “normal” mortals. Given the state of our culture at this time, the protests and riots rang uncomfortably true.
Most of all, I like that this book pushes Kitty to find some solidarity with other werewolves and vampires. The issue of Roman’s power plays, and his movements within the Long Game, will eventually mean a need for allies among the supernatural races. By taking Kitty to London and introducing her to other Alphas and Master vampires, the stage is being set for larger events down the line. I hope that Vaughn keeps bringing the London characters into the plot, because I think they play off well against Kitty and her ambitions.
Kitty Steals the Show is one of the stronger offerings in this series. It’s witty and filled with action and suspense. Vaughn proves that even after several books, there’s plenty more for Kitty to accomplish, and I intend to stick around for the long haul.