Kitty Steals The Show
Published 2012 342 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Kitty Norville has been tapped as the keynote speaker for the First International Conference on Paranatural Studies, taking place in London. The conference brings together scientists, activists, protestors, and supernatural beings from all over the world – and Kitty, Ben, and Cormac are right in the middle of it.
Master vampires from dozens of cities have also gathered in London for a conference of their own. With the help of the Master of London, Kitty gets more of a glimpse into the Long Game – a power struggle among vampires that has been going on for centuries – than she ever has before. In her search for answers, Kitty has the help of some old allies, and meets some new ones, such as Caleb, the alpha werewolf of the British Isles. The conference has also attracted some old enemies, who’ve set their sights on her and her friends.
Kitty Steals the Show is the tenth book in Carrie Vaughn’s popular Kitty urban fantasy series. The books follow the actions and adventures of protagonist Kitty Norville, from her initial infection with lycanthropy in the first book through to her building a new life and relationships, discovering more about the supernatural and having plenty of action-packed adventures throughout the following stories. The series has a long-running story arc – so new readers would be best advised to start at the series beginning – but each instalment is also a stand-alone adventure so once a reader is familiar with the characters they could dip in and out of the books at will without getting lost.
In this story Kitty travels to London to attend a conference on the paranatural at which she has been invited to speak. For someone who makes a living out of talking on a popular radio chat-show she is remarkably stumped on what topic her keynote speech should be about. During the week of the conference Kitty once again finds herself in the thick of the action – mischievous fairies, dangerous master vampires and recovering a kidnapped werewolf are all in a day’s work.
London is a new setting for these books and the author serves up a realistic version of tourist London for Kitty Steals the Show which is no more than established series readers will have come to expect from Vaughn’s writing. All of her characters are convincingly realistic; they act in the ways that real-life people would act. Since this is UF the situations are obviously supernatural but even these have snippets of real-life fact woven into them to give them a real-life feel. By eschewing the overtly sensational this series has had more time to develop its characters who (after ten books) have now come to feel like old friends. The only downside to all this realistic character development is that in some places the story reads more like a “cozy” than an exciting fantasy adventure (the term “cozy” is sometimes used to describe twee crime novels but I think you could also apply it here).
The plotting of Kitty Steals the Show is a little slow and overall seems to achieve little in terms of moving the long-running story arc forward. For many books now readers have been aware of Roman, the shadowy master vampire who plans to start a war which he has been plotting for millennia… and still that’s about as far as this plotline has got. Every time you think this plotline might be moved forward, or more might be revealed, a different adventure (a sub-adventure) is substituted in its place. Running around Chinatown or London town is all well and good but after a while it starts to feel like the series has lost its overall momentum.
I still love the Kitty books – reading one is like slipping on your most comfortable leisure wear and favourite slippers – and this might be the problem with Kitty Steals the Show. I think I was hoping for more exciting fantasy action and a little less conveniently-plotted “cozy”.
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