Sunday, February 21, 2010

Book Review: Kitty's House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty's House of Horrors (Book 7)
by Carrie Vaughn
2010 Grand Central Publishing
294 Pages
Softcover Edition
Genre: Urban Paranormal

4.5/5 Stars

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

The cast members, including Kitty, arrive at the remote mountain lodge where the show is set. As soon as filming starts, violence erupts and Kitty suspects that the show is a cover for a nefarious plot. Then the cameras stop rolling, cast members start dying, and Kitty realizes she and her monster housemates are ironically the ultimate prize in a very different game. Stranded with no power, no phones, and no way to know who can be trusted, she must find a way to defeat the evil closing in...before it kills them all.

My Thoughts
This is the first Kitty Norville book that I have read and I was very impressed. I really wasn't sure what to expect, and at first it sounded like the usual urban paranormal fantasy whereby you gather a group of supernatural beings, put them in a remote location, and see what happens. Luckily, there was nothing usual about this novel, as with a dose favouring 'And Then There Were None' by Agatha Christie thrown into the mix, and many plot twists and turns, the novel takes on an ominous and dark tone, with Kitty thrown right into the middle of it.

The tensions between the characters begin fairly early in the novel, particularly between Grant and Anastasia, who both believe and suspect that there is something sinister about the whole thing and wonder if it has anything to do with the Long Game and the dangerous vampire Roman. Roman is slowly consolidating his power base and the supernatural world is becoming worried at his growing power.

Then one morning, the vampires' companion is found dead, three of the production assistants are found murdered, and Kitty and Jeremy discover a silver fence built around the compound effectively shutting them in. When they are fired at by someone using silver bullets, they realize that someone is hunting them down; further traps are discovered set up around the lodge that has everyone uneasy and worried. Kitty, Tina, Grant, and everyone else must either band together to stop what is happening or risk their lives in the process.

Vaughn does an excellent job at weaving many of the plot lines together and picking up some darker plot lines that leave you wondering what is really going on. You learn more about Roman, Anastasia, Grant, the Long Game, prejudice against supernaturals, and other important plot details that hopefully will stretch into future books and it looks like the future will be pretty ominous for supernatural beings. Ms. Vaughn includes some witty and fun dialogue to break some of the tension and I really enjoyed her tongue-in-cheek humour and the ironic slant in many of the scenes. While the novel started more slowly and was more fun, the second half of the book was quite intense, with fear and destruction, death and pain, all leading up to the big conclusion as to why this was happening. The writing style was crisp and clear, with lots of details; I understood exactly what was happening at all times.

I really enjoyed Kitty's sarcastic humour. I found her to be strong, interesting, kind, difficult, always trying to balance out the human and the wolf part of her being. Seeing her lose control a couple of times made her seem more human to me, as odd as that sounds. Watching people around you die, it only seems natural that you'd get stretched to the breaking point and would want revenge. The rest of the characters were pretty odd too, but that is expected of a group of supernatural beings. Conrad is the only human of the lot, and while he annoyed me at first, he actually grew on me towards to end. His character is believable because I think many people would be skeptical at first if someone told them they were a werewolf or a vampire, even if they believed in something like that. To watch him struggle with coming to terms with that was fascinating.

Kitty's House of Horrors was a solid piece of work with plenty of action, twists, and turns, and suspense to satisfy any reader. Fortunately, it looks like there will be more books in the series as the ending suggests epic battles are on the way. I am looking forward to reading more about Kitty Norville in the future.


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