Book Review: Kitty Goes to War, by Carrie Vaughn

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Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty Norville #8

Book Length: 334 pages (this one had slightly larger print than usual)

Time to Read: Approximately one week of easy reading.

Urban Paranormal Mystery/Romance (I say romance because of the series, but there’s no a huge amount of romance in this book)

Adult Fiction

According to the Blurb on the Back:

Kitty Norville, Alpha werewolf and host of The Midnight Hour, a radio call-in show, is being sued for libel after featuring Speedy Mart on her show.

CEO Harold Franklin’s nationwide chain of 24/7 convenience stores has a reputation for attracting supernatural unpleasantness; all Kitty wanted to know was if there was something more to the tales. Guess Harold Franklin doesn’t want anyone else to find out.

As if that’s not enough to deal with, a friend at the NIH’s Center for the Study of Paranatural Biology has asked Kitty for help. Three soldiers, recently returned from the war in Afghanistan, are being held at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs… the problem is, they’re all werewolves, and post-traumatic stress has left them unable to control their shape-shifting, and unable to interact with people. Kitty agrees to see them, hoping to help them by bringing them into her pack.

But it’s not too long before Kitty starts to wonder if she might have bitten off more than she can chew!

Review:

This was the first book in the series I have read, and considering it was number 8 I was amazed at how easy it was to pick up and read. I love starting series part-way through, just as a test to see if it could work. If it doesn’t, then I’ve usually found out enough about the author’s writing style and storytelling to work out whether I want to go back to the beginning anyway. But I digress…

The main character is extremely likeable: strong yet flawed (and honest about it), optimistic yet wary and practical, Kitty Dorville is my kind of heroine. The first chapter with her radio show is really enjoyable, and I’m a sucker for a good conspiracy theory. For me, characters can be more important than the story (not every time, but most of the time. I completely believe that the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series of movies, for instance, were successful because of Jack Sparrow more than anything else) and Kitty is a character I will keep coming back to. I’ve read books about werewolves in the military before, but they didn’t explore how the combination of PTSD and becoming a werewolf could make a person more beast than man. It’s a fantasy, of course, but there is a clear artistic link between what’s going on in this book and what’s happening in real life. The message that comes across is repeated endlessly, but still so very true and relevant: we need to keep talking to people who care, and to people we care about. One of my best friends is from a military family and she’s only just found out that her brother had considered killing himself before he got help. She knew he had some PTSD, but had no idea it had gotten that bad. It wasn’t even her brother who told her – it was his wife. I know I’ve digressed from the book review but that’s just because the message in the book is so relevant right now. Sorry, I know people don’t read book reviews for a reality check. I’ve said my piece now so let’s get back…

Overall, it was an easy and entertaining read. Casual, I suppose, and I mean that in the best possible way (not everyone enjoys serious reads, me especially). I will be returning to the series whenever I need a little comfort from a book. Kitty feels like a friend to me, and Carrie Vaughn weaves a great little world around her. The pacing was mostly good, if a little offbeat towards the end when the two main plots collide, but the story is simple enough to follow with ease, so for me, those minor annoyances are forgiven. More of a holiday read than engrossing. Thumbs Up.

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