By Carrie Vaughn
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Kitty has been tapped as the keynote speaker for the First International Conference on Paranatural Studies, taking place in London. The conference brings together scientists, activists, protestors, and supernatural beings from all over the world—and Kitty, Ben, and Cormac are right in the middle of it.
Master vampires from dozens of cities have also gathered in London for a conference of their own. With the help of the Master of London, Kitty gets more of a glimpse into the Long Game—a power struggle among vampires that has been going on for centuries—than she ever has before. In her search for answers, Kitty has the help of some old allies, and meets some new ones, such as Caleb, the alpha werewolf of the British Isles. The conference has also attracted some old enemies, who’ve set their sights on her and her friends.
All the world’s a stage, and Kitty’s just stepped into the spotlight.
I’ll admit, this series hasn’t always been a solid grade-A winner for me, but this time around, the little things that I thought were off in past books came together, I liked Kitty and Ben’s relationship and this was a good story that kept me entertained.
Kitty, Ben and Cormac have gone to London to attend the International Conference on Paranatural Studies, where Kitty will give the keynote address (which she hasn’t written yet). She’s also wading into what promises to be the start of a supernatural end game led by the vampire master Roman, whose plan is to take out the other master vampires and ignite a paranormal war. Kitty’s first step to see who’s with him comes right away, at the vampire convocation she manages to seemingly crash, even though she was invited. In her own smart-mouthed style, Kitty insults half of the vampires, charms and/or confuses the other half and pisses off an unknown percentage of the whole. By the time she leaves, she has some valuable information and she’s put up the neon sign: Kitty Norville’s in town.
Soon, that sign starts drawing attention. Caleb, the alpha werewolf of Britain finds Kitty and Ben. He’s not thrilled that they’re staying with Ned, the master vampire of London but takes Kitty’s warning about Roman to heart. When she receives a sinister warning from werewolves serving a master in Europe and she spots another vampire menacing Emma, the young vampire under Ned’s care, Kitty decides it’s time to call the both paranormal groups together. With Caleb’s pack and Ned and his loyal group of master vampires, they at least stand a chance of defeating Roman. Don’t forget to factor in Kitty’s really bad attitude, Cormac’s sulking and Ben looking pained!
Okay, I was exaggerating those last three. But sometimes they were just the right touches in the book to make me laugh a little. Kitty can be so exasperating that I really feel for Ben sometimes. The scene she made at the convocation was particularly funny. She’d ask or more often, demand, something from one of the vampires and Ben would mutter something off in the background to himself, carrying on his own dialogue. They seemed a little demented, in a perfect sort of way when you’ve been in a relationship a while with someone who’s…difficult. Cormac spent a lot of the story skulking around London or generally being a sort of dark figure in the background. He still makes me a little sad but I did like his small side bit with Amelia.
The story was very quickly paced and kept me glued to the book from start to finish. There were a couple of little twists involving Tyler, the soldier with PTDS Kitty met in Kitty Goes to War and Luiz, the werejaguar Kitty had a little (ahem) tumble with in Kitty Goes to Washington shows up all flirty. I don’t know what it is exactly that I’m expecting from Ben and Kitty. They haven’t been married that long, but they act like my parents sometimes and while it’s comforting in the way a favorite quilt is, sometimes I was some lava hotness from them. They were their usual fairly calm selves though Ben is still such a sweet character.
Kitty is…Kitty. I love that she has absolutely no filter on her mouth when she walks into dangerous situations and knows all she has to work with is her brain. She can either make an insult sound like a backhanded compliment or maybe a “yo momma” joke. She stands up for the paranormal society even at great personal whether it’s on her radio show or just on the street surrounded by protestors. I do admit I like it a lot when she’s on her radio show with the hilarious call sign, KNOB.
There’s a small side story with Cormac and the spirit Amelia that possesses him that fits nicely into the larger plot without taking a lot of time away from it, something that’s bothered me in past books. Amelia’s family lived in London and she wants to see her old home and retrieve something. It’s poignant touch, especially when her family wants to spend time with Cormac/Amelia to talk about some old pictures and he seems a little unsure of himself handling it. It even serves as a little bridge, since Amelia’s relative is a prosecuting attorney that Kitty and Ben contact later about something.
My Summary: I really enjoyed Kitty Steals the Show (she never did write that keynote, not until the last moment), enough that I couldn’t put it down once I started reading. The pacing is great, with goons and goblin-ish things coming out of the woodwork regularly enough for Kitty, Ben and Cormac to have their hands full. I always wish for more swooning and hot times in my books, but I after all this time with Ben and Kitty, I just don’t think we’re going to get it. Their quiet romance is pretty darn good.
My Rating: A-