It's always with pleasure that I sit down to read a new Kitty Norville installment. Though they have become a bit episodic in style and tone of late, Carrie Vaughn's books have nevertheless remained engaging and entertaining enough to satisfy me and the rest of her fans. I've always been afraid that these relatively short books would begin to lose steam down the line, but there is no sign of it just yet.
With me being late and with Kitty's House of Horrors around the corner, I knew I needed to bring both of them with me to Southeast Asia! The author always includes a playlist that goes with each Kitty book. Well, in terms of setting, I read the better part of Kitty Raises Hell on Kata Beach, on the island of Phuket, Thailand, and it made for a superb reading experience. Of course, that very night I was violently ill and rushed to the hospital, but I don't have it in me to blame Carrie Vaughn for this. Since the details are a bit nebulous, let's just stick with the stomach infection mixed with my seafood allergies theory to explain this unfortunate turn of events.
Here's the blurb:
Sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas.
Kitty and Ben flee The City That Never Sleeps, thinking they were finished with the dangers there, but the sadistic cult of lycanthropes and their vampire priestess have laid a curse on Kitty in revenge for her disrupting their rituals. Starting at the next full moon, danger and destruction the form of fire strikes Kitty and the pack of werewolves she's sworn to protect.
She enlists the help of a group of TV paranormal investigators - one of whom has real psychic abilities - to help her get to the bottom of the curse that's been laid on her. Rick, the Master vampire of Denver, believes a deeper plot lies behind the curse, and he and Kitty argue about whether or not to accept the help of a professional demon hunter - and vampire - named Roman, who arrives a little too conveniently in the nick of time.
Unable to rely on Rick, and unwilling to accept Roman's offer of help for a price, Kitty and her band of allies, including Vegas magician Odysseus Grant and Kitty's own radio audience, mount a trap for the supernatural being behind the curse, a destructive force summoned by the vengeful cult, a supernatural being that none of them ever thought to face.
Essentially, Kitty Raises Hell is a direct sequel to Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand. So much so that, to a certain extent, this could have been one big Kitty novel. As the blurb implies, the events from Las Vegas will come back to hunt Kitty and her entourage. Once again, the author introduces us to new characters and new threads in the overall story arc. Although we only get a few glimpses of the bigger scheme of things, it's becoming more and more obvious that something big is about to unfold, and that it has something to do with the vampire's Long Game.
As always, Kitty Raises Hell is told in the first person, so we see the story unfold through the eye of Kitty Norville. I've always felt that Kitty is a three-dimensional and genuine character, and I don't think that a third person narrative would work at all for this series. Though I wouldn't mind getting inside other characters' heads from time to time. . .
As far as the supporting cast goes, Ben gets more fleshed out, which allows us to appreciate him more and more. Tina is a new addition, with a lot more to come, I'm sure. The enigmatic Roman emerges as a power player, and I get the feeling that we haven't seen the last of him, not by a long shot. Revelations about T. J. were a pleasant surprise. All in all, Kitty Raises Hell is another fine addition to a very entertaining urban fantasy series.
Cool, hip, with more depth than meets the eye, and a genuine heroine you can really root for; there's never a dull moment in Kitty Raises Hell (or any of the other Kitty books!).
The final verdict: 7.75/10