While this instalment of the Kitty Norville series didn’t really rock my house, it was an entertaining read.
I think that part of the problem is that Kitty as a character and as a person, works best on personal, small scale things. She’s only the save the world type if the world can be saved by her being brave enough to do the right thing about the problem in front of her with the help of people that she trusts to stand with her. This is actually what I like about Kitty but it makes it difficult to maintain momentum when the series story arc is being propelled by “The Long Game” which will result in a war with a megalomanic group of vampires. I just can’t see Kitty as the leader of the opposing army. Then again, neither can Kitty, which is part of why I continue to enjoy these books.
The things I liked most in “Kitty Rocks The House” were that her talk show featured strongly and she finally paid attention to leading her pack.
I love the way Carrie Vaughn writes and Marguerite Gavin narrates, Kitty’s “The Midnight Hour” talk show. It’s a splendid mix of humour, compassion, and snark, tackling themes from the truly scary to the mindbogglingly stupid. If I could get “The Midnight Hour” on my radio, I’d listen every week.
Kitty became the alpha of her pack in the fourth book of the series, “Kitty And The Silver Bullet”. In the six books in between, it seems to me that Kitty’s paid very little attention to her pack and has seldom seemed comfortable in her role as alpha. Even if she did achieve her position by challenging and killing the previous alpha pair, Kitty is a talker, not a fighter and she has struggled to reconcile this with a role that is typically achieved and maintained through physical dominance.
In “Kitty Rocks The House” Kitty is made to confront her leadership responsibilities and decide on the kind of alpha she wants to be. I enjoyed that the problem is first highlighted when one of Kitty’s pack calls in anonymously to “The Midnight Hour” because its the only way that he can get her attention. Kitty is hoisted with her own petard when she describes the caller’s benignly indifferent alphas as “…the kind of parents who buy the beer for their children’s parties – cool but not responsible…” and only then realises who she is talking to. Later in the book, Kitty’s leadership is challenged by a werewolf pair that are stronger than Kitty and her mate and Kitty has to decide how to respond: run? fight? talk?
I really enjoy watching Kitty work her way through these problems; trying to do better and trying to keep the emphasis on Were rather Wolf. Kitty may stumble from time to time but that just shows her to be human and gives value to her successes.
I was much less engaged in the next segment of “The Long Game” plot, even though it included a vampire priest working for the Vatican and the emergence of a new kind of enemy. The ideas are good but they are not at the heart of the books or, perhaps, not at the heart of what I enjoy about the books.