Kitty and the Midnight Hour

Posted by : atcampbell | On : December 2, 2008

Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

We had seventeen people, the largest attendance in years, for this discussion at A. T.’s house. Another reader submitted comments by email. Our topic was Kitty and the Midnight Hour, the first novel by Carrie Vaughn. The story is about Kitty, the host of a radio call-in show devoted to the supernatural, who herself is a werewolf. Fourteen of us started the book, and all finished it.

One person was initially dubious about this book, and only read it because the group had chosen it. He was surprised and delighted by it. He said it was better written than most first novels. He loved the story and enjoyed the characters, although he didn’t identify with anyone. He thought the depiction of werewolf pack dynamics was original and worthy of discussion. He said the story flowed, was well-paced, and nothing seemed forced.

Another commented that she reads about one werewolf book a year, and this book was better than most. She was pleased at the omission of the “icky romance” elements that she’d feared. She thought the author had pulled off a good character arc for Kitty, and appreciated how Kitty stood up to dominant men.

We generally felt that the strongest parts of the book were the “on air” sequences.  The talk show format was convincing, and the author did a great job of conveying ideas and action almost entirely through dialog. Kitty’s interview of an author who wrote a book on the supernatural was particularly fun.

One reader thought the book was fast-paced fun, but wished the author had been bolder with the sexual element of the book.

One member of the group is a former college radio disc jockey. She felt the radio sequences were good, and completely related to the weird callers late at night. She thought the book was a good popcorn read. She felt the vampire element of the book was unnecessary, particularly since many other authors handle vampires better.

There were some negative comments. One person felt it had “first novel issues” and used too much of the writing approach of “tell, not show”. Another dismissed the book as “just another paranormal romance.”

The most negative review came from one who reads a lot of paranormal romance and had lobbied heavily for us to read more such books. She felt the character development and plot were bad, and was disappointed and offended by the male characters who she felt were stereotypical and shallow.

Near the end, we talked about other vampire novels the group had read in the past. Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October featured an all-animal cast, including Larry Talbot, the werewolf from the classic Universal monster films. And Wen Spencer’s  Alien Taste featured werewolf-like aliens.

Overall most of us were pleasantly pleased with Kitty and the Midnight Hour, and several of us plan to read more in the series. At the end of the meeting, we picked new books for the reading schedule.