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Monday, January 2, 2012

Kitty’s Greatest Hits by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty’s Greatest Hits by Carrie Vaughn
Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC / Tor
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, holiday
Length: Full Length (258 pgs)
Heat Level hot
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Kitty Norville, star of a New York Times bestselling series, is everybody’s favorite werewolf DJ and out-of-the-closet supernatural creature. Over the course of eight books she’s fought evil vampires, were-creatures, and some serious black magic. She’s done it all with a sharp wit and the help of a memorable cast of werewolf hunters, psychics, and if-notgood- then-neutral vampires by her side. Kitty’s Greatest Hits not only gives readers some of Kitty’s further adventures, it offers longtime fans a window into the origins of some of their favorite characters.

In “Conquistador de la Noche,” we learn the origin story of Denver’s Master vampire, Rick; with “Wild Ride,” we find out how Kitty’s friend T.J. became a werewolf; and in “Life is the Teacher,” we revisit Emma, the human-turned-unwilling-vampire who serves the aloof vampire Master of Washington, D.C.

This entertaining collection includes two brand-new works: “You’re On the Air,” about one of Kitty’s callers after he hangs up the phone; and the eagerly awaited “Long Time Waiting,” the novella that finally reveals just what happened to Cormac in prison, something every Kitty fan wants to know.

This book is a must for Kitty fans. A simple statement, but it really does apply because Ms. Vaughn presents a bunch of short stories that showed the development of what we now know and love about Radio D.J, and my favorite werewolf, Kitty Norville.

I included in the page count the explanations that the author included at the end of all the short stories because they read well, are entertaining by themselves and provided greater insight as to what was going on at the time she wrote them. It was a fascinating process.

There are too many to write a review for individually and even though I rated the heat level as hot, most are spicy or sensual but since one made it to the hot level, the whole book has to be labeled as such.

I really enjoyed Ms. Vaughn’s personal interpretation of the Bible story, Daniel and the Lion’s Den. In fact, it was perfect because it made so much sense and it worked with the ‘facts’ as we know them. It was fun.

Actually, I'm really sick of books about zombies but I found myself completely engrossed in Ms. Vaughn's twist on the subject. It was a breath of fresh air and she even touches base at the end of the book as to the research she's done and why she took the stand she did. I like her version a whole lot better because I agree with the author -- it's waaay scarier.

What I found intriguing and had me bouncing in my seat were the stories that had Rick in them. Surprisingly, there is quite the undercurrent about his character. I’d read the one about the military lab and the unicorn and the selkie in another anthology but never could I have imagined that the vampire in that had any connection to Kitty’s world. Call me floored.

Ms. Vaughn saved the best for last and that is the story about Cormac. Oh, Wow! To be able to get inside his head? To get his point of view from inside prison? What an amazing ride. And to finally find out about how he and Amelia came together was awesome. The tale gripped me and had me reading wide-eyed through the whole thing. Also, I found those little comments that Cormac made relating to Amelia absolutely delicious. I sense a sub-plot and I have high hopes that the author isn’t just teasing her fans but will someday figure out how to bring that to light in a way to satisfy romantics at heart. As it is, this story alone was worth waiting for.

Between Rick and Cormac, they made the purchase of this book a winner and I’m a very satisfied reader. Some publishers have books out on popular series that don’t contribute much to the forward movement but re-hash what’s already been written. Kitty’s Greatest Hits doesn’t do that. I found value in understanding more of the background while at the same time it presented me with new questions and interest in the series.

A cute addition to this anthology is the behind scenes look at one of Kitty’s callers on the radio show. It tickled me because I DID remember the caller- though I can’t remember which book it was in – and I had an ‘awww’ moment at how it ended. I enjoyed it and thought it clever of the author. Why? Because it created a more solid world-building atmosphere where a reader could feel like a part of it; like they could travel to another city somewhere and actually find some of Kitty’s world. Or see it someday on the silver screen. When an author can successfully incorporate other mundane aspects of the world her characters live in and still entertain, garner interest and make them feel like they’re still visiting Kitty and pals, it’s well done and worth taking the time to read.

Another great lure is the background tale of the relationship between Ben and Cormac. They’re cousins but it’s more than that. Based upon the series, I understood that they’d been through a lot and they always had each other’s backs but there is one tale that brings understanding as to just how far back it goes, and the trials and tribulations they survived to get to the point of being where they are now in the series. Fascinating stuff.

Kitty’s Greatest Hits is the best book to get for fans of the series, especially if they have a special place in their hearts for Cormac, Ben and Rick. Those three guys are a trifecta for Kitty. Each one has a role that showcases the heroine’s growth as a character and this book explores for readers just how special they are. Add in those other intriguing tales from the author’s imagination and this is a real winner that entertains as well as informs. I can’t wait until the next Kitty adventure!