I don't know what it is about reality shows, but they are everywhere now. All of the major networks have at least one, and they've even invaded the cable networks on channels that shouldn't have them. Now they are invading the literary world. I've read a few, and sometimes the concept just doesn't work. That's part of the reason why, as much as I love Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville series, I put off reading Kitty's House of Horrors. For those of you not familiar with Kitty Norville, she's a celebrated werewolf who hosts a weekly radio call-in show that is dedicated to all things supernatural. She's rubbed elbows with other lycanthropes, vampires, demons, etc., so it's possible the reality show them could work here, but I was still hesitant.
When Kitty's House of Horrors opens, two sleazy Hollywood types are pitching the concept show to Kitty. She knew it would bound to happen sooner or later, but she has her reservations. They reassure her that everything is on the up and up, that the show is meant to raise awareness of the supernaturals in the world, but Kitty is still unconvinced. It isn't until the two sleazoids drop a couple of names that Kitty's interest is piqued. It seems that people whom she considers friends, people she has worked with in the past and people she knows will have her back should things go awry, that she agrees to consider it. That satisfies the pitchmen. When Kitty places a phone call to one of her friends, Tina McCannon, a psychic who works on another reality show, Paradox PI, who admits that the only reason she agreed to do the show was because they told her that Kitty was already on board. When Kitty confesses that she only just now heard about the show, Tina tries to sway her into doing it, telling her it would be a blast. Kitty is still not convinced, and she tells Tina she needs to think it over some more. Thinking it over means talking it over with Ben, her husband and pack mate. The timing couldn't have been worse, as he needs to prepare for his cousin's parole hearing. When Kitty first met Cormac, he had tried to kill her (see Kitty and the Midnight Hour, the first book in the Kitty Norville series). Since then, they've developed a strong friendship and working partnership, which eventually lead to Cormac's imprisonment. Kitty reluctantly agrees to do the show, especially since it will benefit the supernatural community.
Kitty doesn't know who else involved with the show until she is transported to the locale, an isolated cabin in the middle of nowhere. In addition to Tina, there's Jeffrey Miles, a celebrated TV psychic; Odysseus Grant, a self-proclaimed magician working the Vegas strip; Ariel, a witch who also hosts her own radio show; Jerome Macey, a professional wrestler who happens to be a werewolf; a state legislator from Alaska, Lee Ponatac, who also happens to be a wereseal; Conrad Garrett, a celebrated author who has made it his business to debunk the supernatural; Gemma, the winner of the very first vampire beauty pageant; Anastasia, an ancient vampire and Gemma's creator; and Dorian, a human who acts as a blood donor to the vamps. It is up to the supernaturals to convince Garrett that they are the real thing, but they have to play to the camera and play the game. In other words, Kitty can't change into her wolf in front of him to prove that she is the real deal. They need to try to convince him verbally first. The show progresses per schedule, but when Dorian is killed, they quickly realize that they have all been set up. There never was a show; what they have become involved in a supernatural snuff film, and they are the stars. One by one, they are being picked off, and it all to quickly turns into a real-life version of Survivor, only this time to be voted off is to lose your life. Can Kitty and crew, normally the predators in their world, survive being systematically hunted, or had Kitty finally met her match?
Well, all of my fears were for nothing. I think Kitty's House of Horrors is one of the best books in the Kitty Norville series. Kitty shines in this book, and we also get to see a side of her we rarely get to see. Through most of the series, Kitty has relied on the help of other supernaturals to get her out of a jam, but here, although there are other supernaturals present, they all seem to look to her for leadership, which is a situation she has tried her best to avoid most of her life. She just wants to be left alone, but she often finds herself in situations where she is reluctantly required to assume the role of leadership. It is because of her hesitancy that she often needs to rely on others. She does not want to give in fully to the beast within her; she feels that to do so would cost her humanity. However, in this book, if she wants to survive, she has to rely on wolf; she has to give in to the predatory nature of the animal within while maintaining the level-headedness of her human side. Wolf wants to run, but the alpha human side of Kitty feels the need to protect those she is with. She is literally backed into a corner, and that is the worst thing you can do to an animal.
I like that Vaughn brought back characters from past books in addition to introducing a few new ones. It ties them all together and foreshadows of bigger things to come. There's mention made of The Game, which involves the vampires. Anastasia implies that Kitty has a key role in this political power play. It seems that everything that's happening is preparing her for this role, a role she doesn't want. While I like this development, it strikes a sad chord within me, as it means the series will more than likely be wrapping up soon.
I would love to be able to recommend this book, but it isn't a stand alone novel. I do think it is one of the best in the series so far, but if you haven't followed Kitty's adventures from the beginning, I can't encourage you to read this; however, I can encourage you to start the series. If you have followed Kitty from the beginning and haven't yet picked up this installment, I strongly urge you to do so.
Welcome to Woofer's Lair. Curious as to what you will see here? Well, for the most part, you will find book reviews, maybe the occasional movie review, and if you are lucky, you might stumble across one of my own works in progress. If you like what you see or what read, and even if you don't, please feel free to leave your comments. As I am somewhat new to blogging, all of your constructive feedback is appreciated. Have fun and thanks for stopping by.