Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville book sequence has become, in my humble opinion, what is probably one of the very best urban fantasy series out there. Nearly as good as Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, as far as I'm concerned. And while the early books were more episodic in style and tone, the author has unveiled various hints and offered several glimpses of a bigger and more ambitious overall story arc in the last few installments. We didn't know it then, but with Kitty Saves the World, last volume in the series, just now hitting the shelves, it is obvious that Kitty's Big Trouble and Kitty Steals the Show were meant to bridge what has gone before with the plotlines which will inexorably lead us to the endgame.
From the start, I've been going on and on about how I love the fact that Carrie Vaughn takes her characters and storylines along unexpected paths, keeping this series fresh and very entertaining. And well, I'm glad to report that Kitty's Big Trouble is no exception to that rule. As if Vaughn has not pulled enough rabbits out of her hat so far, throw in a trip to San Francisco filled with Chinese mythology and folk legends, and you end up with something that is as compelling as it is enjoyable!
Here's the blurb:
Kitty Norville is back and in more trouble than ever. Her recent run-in with werewolves traumatized by the horrors of war has made her start wondering how long the US government might have been covertly using werewolves in combat. Have any famous names in our own history might have actually been supernatural? She's got suspicions about William Tecumseh Sherman. Then an interview with the right vampire puts her on the trail of Wyatt Earp, vampire hunter. But her investigations lead her to a clue about enigmatic vampire Roman and the mysterious Long Game played by vampires through the millennia. That, plus a call for help from a powerful vampire ally in San Francisco, suddenly puts Kitty and her friends on the supernatural chessboard, pieces in dangerously active play. And Kitty Norville is never content to be a pawn. . .
Once again, the premise for this book was quite interesting. Having recently discovered that the US army secretly put together a unit of werewolves operating in Afghanistan, Kitty wonders for how the long the US government has been using werewolves in combat. Studying the past of American historical figures, she discovers that people such as William Tecumseh Sherman and Wyatt Earp could well have been lycanthropes. But as she attempts to uncover evidence in that regard, she receives an unexpected call from Anastasia and is soon on her way to San Franciso, along with Ben and Cormac. It appears that Roman, the enigmatic vampire behind the Long Game, is looking for an artifact of great power and Anastasia needs help to prevent him from getting his hands on it.
As always, the novel is told in the first-person narrative of the endearing werewolf radio host. And witnessing events unfold through Kitty Norville's POV continues to be one of the highlights of this series. With her supernatural knack for attracting trouble, she's not always be the sharpest tool in the shed. Yet she always means well, and I find it impossible not to root for her. Still, perhaps due to the development of her alpha personality, her stubbornness does put her loved ones in mortal danger a few times within the pages of this book and that didn't always sit well with me. Kitty is definitely changing, though her heart remains in the right place.
As I mentioned, Kitty's Big Trouble is somewhat of a transition book. One that links past plotlines and weaves them into the tapestry of threads that will lead us to the finale over the course of the next few installments. Hence, revelations are made about Roman and his Long Game. Nothing major just yet, but enough to really pique the reader's curiosity. The boundaries of the paranormal universe are also pushed back, what with the divulgence of the existence of a lot more than just werewolves and vampires out there.
The pace throughout Kitty's Big Trouble is fast and crisp. As was the case with most of its predecessors, there is never a dull moment between the covers and all too quicky one reaches the end of this novel.
With ten installments now behind her belt, it is evident that Carrie Vaughn's Kitty's Big Trouble marks the beginning of Kitty's involvement in a more complex and ambitious story arc, one of which we had only been granted a few glimpses thus far. This bodes well for the rest of the series.