Monday, May 27, 2013

Kitty Rocks the House by Carrie Vaughn

 Dear Lord, is is just that I've read far too much of this stuff, are are there only a limited number of writer's methods to set up certain situations. This installment of Kitty's adventures just seemed really predictable to me, for some reason.

After a meeting with a powerful vampire who is considering an alliance with Rick (the Master of Denver) and Kitty (who may possibly be the Regina Luparum), a lone werewolf, Darren (Any relation to Samantha's husband from Bewitched?...sorry, my brain goes off on odd tangents once in a while) shows up in Denver and tells Kitty he's tired of being lonely and wants to join her pack, though he's not very submissive about it. Anyone with half a brain can tell this is just going to be trouble, and she should boot him right back out of town, but instead she decides to give him a chance, ignores all the early warning signs, and ends up in a battle for control of the pack, before sending him...ahem...packing.

One of the themes/conflicts in the novel was about how Kitty wasn't spending enough time with the members of her pack, perhaps taking too much of a hands-off approach instead of being involved in their lives, what with her recent history of traveling all over the place either doing publicity for her show, or dealing with supernatural community issues in other cities, plus being involved in the whole Long Game conflict against the followers of Dux Bellorum, or Roman, the millennia-old vampire who wants to rule the world, with humans merely fodder, and werewolves merely servants. Hmm, seems like a recurring theme there with the last novel I reviewed - humans as food. I wonder if the whole scenario wasn't suggested to Vaughn by some feedback from a fan who just wondered what in the world is going on with the pack back home while Kitty is traveling, or how things might begin to fall apart when the alpha is absent.

The other odd thing that happens starts out in a surprising manner (at least I don't recall reading about the idea before), when a powerful yet mild-mannered vampire shows up in Denver, and asks Kitty to be introduced to Rick. Rick's original name was Ricardo, and he was one of the Spanish conquistadors who came to the New World five hundred years ago, a loyal son of the Catholic Church. When it turns out that the vampire, Columban, is actually an undead priest, known to the Vatican, it rocks his world. While he has tried to keep his faith through the centuries, despite the common consensus that vampires and werewolves are spawn of the devil, and damned to Hell for all eternity, it has been very hard for him, trying in an almost Hippocratic sense to "do no harm". Columban wants Rick to join him and his brethren - there are more vampire priests? - which would probably be a bad thing, leaving Kitty without her strongest ally in the city, and the vampires in Denver master-less.

The oddly obvious thing to me in this plotline is that while Columban is holed up in a deconsecrated (though why it had to be deconsecrated, given that the Vatican sanctions his existence, I couldn't say) cathedral, he has written symbols and runes on the outside of the church, and cast a circle of protection (my M:TG history comes through) around the building. Kitty and Ben's friend, the ex-bounty hunter possessed by the spirit of a witch, Cormac, tries to lure the vampire out of hiding by messing around with the wards. They all spend a lot of time wondering what in the world Columban could be afraid of that he would have to ward so powerfully against it. When they finally find out, catastrophically, it's like "well, duh." I'll leave it unstated, no need for true spoilers here.

So, while no real progress is made in the Long Game war, there's a few new alliances made, old alliances perhaps lost, and potential allies still unswayed. Sounds like the next novel will be out fairly soon.

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