Kitty Rocks the House by Carrie Vaughn is the eleventh chapter in the Kitty Norville series. The urban fantasy series follows title character Kitty, a werewolf public radio DJ that shocks the world by becoming the first paranormal celebrity. As you might imagine, there are folks who aren’t too happy with her for shining lights into their darkness.
Kitty’s back in Denver from the scientific conference in London where she warned the world about the vampire Roman’s Long Game. She and the vampire Master of Denver, Rick, are busy receiving envoys from potential allies against Roman when a strange wolf appears and attempts to join the pack. Kitty has her hands full defending her position as Alpha while Rick mysteriously disappears.
A focus on characters rather than action
Urban fantasy books can be frustrating for a reader because they feature a ton of action in a relatively small 350 or so page book. Books typically open right before trouble starts, and finish as soon as it’s ended. One of the strengths of the Kitty books is that Kitty herself is so outspoken that the reader has no trouble following her personal growth through each book. However, it’s been a while since Kitty’s had the space to sit down and reassess who she is and why she does what she does. The challenge of bringing newcomer Darren into the pack provides Kitty with a chance to reaffirm her beliefs.
Kitty Rocks the House also lets us see more of a few old characters, as well as some new ones. Spending a lot of book time around the pack lets us see them for the first time since book number eight, Kitty Goes to War. Cormac and Amelia are really starting to jell as a team, and Detective Hardin is back.
Not the highlight of the series
The really good long running urban fantasy series all seem to experience peaks and valleys in terms of books that leave you on the edge of your seat, and ones that are quieter reads. Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files does it; Patricia Brigg’s Mercedes Thompson series also does it to a lesser extent. Kitty Rocks the House is certainly one of the lulls in action for the Kitty series. This is not a bad thing, as the slower pace and lower stakes let Kitty re-ground herself and deepen her character for the reader. However, it did not leave me reaching the end of the book dying for book twelve to find out what happens next.
Why should you read this book?
Kitty Rocks the House is not one of the highlights of this series. At book number eleven, with twelve (Kitty in the Underground) due out at the end of July 2013, it’s also not a good place to jump in having never read any previous titles in the series. That being said, it’s also not a good book to skip. Kitty does a lot of growing here, and there are some major revelations about vampire culture that will be important in future books. And while I wouldn’t list this as one of my favorite books in the series, it was an enjoyable and worthwhile afternoon read.