Carrie Vaughn,
Kitty Norville #3: Kitty Takes a Holiday
(Grand Central, 2007)

Two books ago, Carrie Vaughn introduced us to Kitty Norville. At the time, she had just been infected with the lycanthropy virus. She was going nowhere with her career and her personal life, hostessing a late-night talk radio program and living with the Denver Werewolf Pack, where the alpha male made a habit of abusing the women.

Kitty decided to make some changes. She started discussing lycanthropy on her talk show and the calls started pouring in from weres and vamps getting support from Kitty and each other. She challenged the alpha wolf and won her freedom -- even if Denver wasn't big enough for her and the Pack anymore. She even went to Washington, D.C., to testify before Congress about lycanthropy. Now, the National Institute of Health is studying lycanthropy as a disease in its Allergy & Immunology section.

It's pretty understandable that after all of that, Kitty's ready for a break. She takes off for a remote cabin in Walsenburg, Colorado, to rest, recoup and WRITE. Yes, Kitty's working on her autobiography.

The thing is, Kitty's not getting any writing done. Worse, dead animals start showing up on her doorstep, along with a fence of barbed wire crosses around the property. Then, the local sheriff starts blaming Kitty for cattle mutilations. Top it off, there's a new talk-show hostess in town who Kitty is sure will steal her ratings while she's gone.

Kitty's holiday is hardly a break at all, but in that time she realizes she's even stronger than she thought -- and she's now building her own Pack to care for.

Probably my favorite aspect of Vaughn's writing is her character development and depth. Kitty's gone through a lot in three fairly short books and Vaughn does a stellar job pulling it off. Kitty stays true to her goal of being a positive force for lycanthropes and sticking by her values even if she has to fight her inner wolf every step of the way to make it.

Vaughn also manages to write good free-standing serial fiction. While I'd recommend you read all three Kitty novels, it's really not necessary to do so. Vaughn covers the backstory fairly efficiently without boring those who have read her previous works.

My only complaint is the first 118 pages of the book were somewhat slow to set up. Vaughn had a lot to do, establishing Kitty in a new town with some different problems. The material was interesting enough, but it didn't make me turn pages like the first two Kitty novels did. I think one more editorial pass might have tightened up these first pages and made a more interesting opening for Kitty Takes a Holiday.

review by
Becky Kyle

14 June 2008

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