Kitty's Mix-Tape

Though it's been a few years since Carrie Vaughn's brought the Kitty Norville sequence to an end, last year she surprised readers with The Immortal Conquistador, a work which revealed Rick the vampire's origin story. And even if it made you beg for more, that book was a compelling read that finally shed some light on one of the most fascinating and secretive characters from the Kitty universe.

This year, the author returns with a collection of short stories featuring Kitty herself and many of the men and women that made the supporting cast so memorable over the course of the series. The bulk of these short fiction pieces first appeared in SFF magazines, various anthologies, and on Vaughn's own website. But a few are original to Kitty's Mix-Tape.

Once again, it was a delight to return to Kitty's world. Even if it was only for the duration of a few short stories. Kitty's Mix-Tape makes you remember why you enjoyed the series to such a degree and makes you long for more of Kitty's misadventures. Thankfully, in the story notes Vaughn implies that there is more on the way. I'm sure I'm not the only one excited about that!

Here's the blurb:

Kitty Norville still can’t stay away from trouble—of the supernatural kind.

Everyone’s favorite werewolf DJ is here to mix it up just one last time. Here you will find, or even newly discover, the irrepressible Kitty Norville with friends and enemies alike: Rick the vampire; Jessi Hardin, paranormal detective; Kitty’s husband Ben; Cormac, the bounty hunter; and the villainous Dux Bellorum. These irresistible tales are full of unpredictable twists and turns: lupines experimenting with astronomy, a cheating boxer with preternatural strength, vampires arriving from the Philippines.

As a special treat, author Carrie Vaughn (Bannerless) has provided her own selections for a mix-tape: story notes and songs dedicated to each tale.

So whatever you do, don’t miss Kitty before she is gone. . . .

It goes without saying that this work is for people already familiar with the original book sequence. As was the case with The Immortal Conquistador, Kitty's Mix-Tape is another great companion book for fans of Vaughn's signature series. Newbies could potentially enjoy several of the tales, but without context they would miss out on too many nuances and references. Anyone interested in giving the series a shot should start at the beginning and read Kitty and the Midnight Hour.

The short fiction pieces compiled in Kitty's Mix-Tape offer an engaging blend of stories. Some of them provide new perspectives that fill in some gaps in the series' plotlines. Others are yet more origin stories. Others feature secondary characters that deserved more of the spotlight. Others are loosely related to the main story arc. And yet, though some are inevitably better and more entertaining than others, the entire collection makes for a fun and interesting read.

My favorites include "Kitty Walks On, Calls Your Name" (you just knew that any high school reunion Kitty attended would be something special!), "It's Still the Same Old Story" (another tale featuring Rick which occurs across different timelines), "The Arcane Art of Misdirection" (in which Odysseus Grant takes center stage), "Defining Shadows" (Filipino vampire, nuff said!), and "Bellum Romanum" (which shows how Roman became a powerful magician).

While we eagerly await whatever comes next for Kitty and the others, this one should scratch that itch. Like its predecessor, Kitty's Mix-Tape is sure to please all the Kitty Norville fans out there!

Carrie Vaughn proves yet again that she is nearly as good a short story writer as she is at writing novel-length projects.

The final verdict: 7.75/10

For more info about this title, check out these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA, Europe

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