Prior to reading her latest novel, Discord’s Apple, I have to admit I’d not read anything by Carrie Vaughn. As much as I love urban fantasy, somehow I’d missed her series about a werewolf named Kitty entirely. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Vaughn is a Colorado author (based in Boulder) who has set Kitty up in Denver. So how did I miss this?
Well, much like the “Dresden Files” series by Jim Butcher, thankfully I didn’t have to start all the way at the beginning to get into this series. Kitty Goes to War is the eighth book in the series and the first published by Tor books. The previous seven are published by Grand Central Publishing. Lucky for me, Amazon doesn’t really care who publishes them and will send me the first seven books in the series before too long…
Back to this book though… Kitty Norville is the alpha dog of a pack of werewolves based in Denver. She hosts “The Midnight Hour,” a radio talk show she uses to talk to her small (but dedicated and growing) audience about paranormal events in general. Unfortunately she is getting sued after running a series of shows about weird things happening at Speedy Mart convenience stores across the country. Is the owner, Harold Franklin, really up to something nefarious or is it just a series of coincidences? The fact that Franklin is suing the show for libel tends to hint that he has something to hide…
In addition to the weirdness with Speedy Mart, Kitty gets called in to help with three Army soldiers back from Afghanistan having some serious trouble readjusting to civilian life after their leader dies in the field. Though Kitty wants to help, her pack is a bit less inclined to let trained killers into the fold. Can Kitty convince the military and the soldiers that they want to control their wolf halves? Or will they continue to run wild until the military has to use a more permanent solution?
Being from just north of Denver and now living in Colorado Springs myself, I was happy to find that the streets I knew and remembered were included in the book as Kitty and her friends navigated up and down the Front Range of Colorado. It was actually kind of cool to be able to picture the locations described in the book based on places in the real world.
Vaughn has a very easy to read style that flows amazingly well and makes for a quick, satisfying read. I couldn’t help but see some similarities with the sarcasm and humor to Butcher’s style, but I honestly can’t imagine Dresden the wizard for hire hosting a radio show. Wizards and technology don’t mix well in Dresden’s world – but that doesn’t seem to be a problem in Vaughn’s.
It was easy to slip into this book and empathize with Kitty’s struggles to not only keep control of her werewolf pack, but keep their respect while she tried to help the soldiers find a clear path through the paranormal world. I also found it very interesting that the story centered around a group of soldiers who fought in the war in Afghanistan coming home only to be mistreated by the system that sent them in the first place. The story really drives home the point that we need to do more to support the men and women fighting the good fight on the other side of the world and help them come home safely and securely.
Something tells me I’ll be reading more about Kitty’s trials as a werewolf in the near future. Kitty Goes to War may be my first foray into Vaughn’s paranormal world of werewolves, but it certainly won’t be my last.
For more information about Carrie Vaughn and her books, be sure to check out her website at CarrieVaughn.com.
This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.
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