Author: Carrie Vaughn
Genre: Adult, PNR, Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: July 31, 2012 (Tor/Macmillan – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided finished copy
Summary: 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.
☆: 3/5 stars – a great addition to the series, but nothing amazingly original.
Review: Okay, so I’ve been meaning to read this series for awhile, so when Tor asked me to review this book, I jumped at the prospect. A friend had really built up my expectations of the series and how awesome Kitty is, but unfortunately, for me, while this book is a solid contribution to the Kitty canon, it didn’t really feel like anything new or special in a genre that has a lot of the same thing.
While I admit this is my first Kitty book, and I probably should have started at the beginning – I’ll admit I had no time. So I jumped in. The one really great thing about the Kitty series is that Vaughn makes her characters and the general plot of the series very accessible to new readers, so I had no problem whatsoever understanding what was going on, and the relationships were pretty straightforward. This is hard to do, especially this late in a series, but I found that Vaughn just had it down pat.
The world is also very well-built – but I found that even as engrossing as it was, it didn’t have that special touch that I’ve been finding from so many new authors this year (and many older ones, too) – that of being able to weave the characters back into the world itself. While I saw some of that happening here (the vampire long-game was a nice touch to weave the vamps back into the world really well), I didn’t see enough of it to where it should be at this time at the series. That was pretty disappointing, and more than a bit disheartening. Perhaps at this point in time for a lot of series, things just kind of hit a wall. I saw the same thing happen in the most recently-released “Dresden Files” book, and the same for the latest “Sookie Stackhouse” book, too. The characters aren’t fitting back into the world and making it all work. It should be said that these other two series are at or above ten volumes a piece, like Kitty is, so I think it’s a rather fair comparison as they’re also urban fantasy series, as well.
I love Kitty as a protagonist – she’s witty, she’s got an awesome job, and she has some great one-liners that had me in stitches. But at the same time, she didn’t have all of the fire that I’d been promised, and from some of the other reviewers’ sentiments, it seems I’m not alone in that regard. I had a lot of fun reading about her involvement with this conference and her job, and how it all kind of collides, but I just wasn’t feeling her the way I’d hoped I would. Same for a lot of the relationships/romances – they fell a bit flat.
However, I did think that the explanation and exploration of the vampire long-game was really interesting, so that kind of saved the book for me. Not only was it a great sub-plot that took the wheel in this book, it really helped the characters fit back into their own world that Vaughn built. I enjoyed that part of it the best just because the politics she’s created are surprisingly complex and interesting.
But all in all? I’m starting to wonder if the urban fantasy genre with long series is just kind of hitting a bit wall. I’ve actually been toying with the idea with some time, and unfortunately, this book kind of concerned my suspicions. I really hope, for the sake of this world and these characters, that there’s no more of the rut I found in this book next time around. I’m still open to reading other books in this series, but I just wasn’t as wowed as I’d hoped to be here.
“Kitty Steals the Show” is out from Tor/Macmillan in North America now, so be sure to check it out and come to your own conclusion about this one.