Friday, July 12, 2013

Kitty's House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty's House of Horrors was the seventh book in the Kitty Norville contemporary fantasy series, and the last to come from Vaughn's original publisher (Grand Central), whom she left over what seemed to be their insistence that she concentrate on this series and not spread her time among other projects. [1] Subsequent books have come out from Tor, which is proverbially the place where SFF authors go once they get angry with their current publisher. (There's no similar story in the field about what happens when Tor authors get unhappy; perhaps they simply change editors, of which Tor has a plethora.)

So it's three years old now, and there have been five more novels in the series since then, counting Kitty in the Underworld, scheduled to release this month. And so any detailed criticism I could offer up here would be deeply pointless, since this is not just middle, but old middle.

(I've also reviewed several earlier novels in the series -- Kitty and the Silver Bullet, Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand, and Kitty Raises Hell -- and did a quick take on one later book, Kitty Goes to War, here as well. So I've been pretty Kitty-fied over the years.)

So: this is the one where Kitty Norville, her world's first publicly declared werewolf (and late-night radio host), agrees to do a reality show with a bunch of other supernatural folks, and one requisite doubter, off in a remote lodge deep in snowy mountains. And, of course, things turn out Not To Be As They Seem -- as if the title, and the existence of the genre of contemporary fantasy itself, haven't already tipped you off to that.

It's fun and zippy -- zippier than many of the other books, since it's slightly Christie-esque in its set-up (bunch of odd characters in a remote location, and then nasty things start to happen to them) -- and well worth reading, as is the whole series. But I would recommend starting at the beginning; the books basically stand on their own, but sub-plots and character development go on in the background, so it just makes sense to hit them in order. 

[1] I've only read one of those non-Kitty books, After the Golden Age, which was pleasant but not up to the level of this series. But she's written a couple of other novels since the move to Tor as well, and I'm not about to claim my opinion is more important than Vaughn's.

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