Kitty Goes to Washington: A fun “popcorn novel”

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsKitty Goes to Washington by Carrie Vaughn urban fantasy book reviewsKitty Goes to Washington by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty Goes to Washington, by Carrie Vaughn, is the second book in the long-running Kitty Norville series. I enjoyed the first book, Kitty and the Midnight Hour, enough that I read the second at the first opportunity. Kitty Goes to Washington picks up immediately after the events of book 1, when Kitty gets a subpoena to appear before a congressional committee that is investigating a government program for paranormal research. Kitty has been called as an expert witness due to her semi-celebrity status as a radio DJ who claims to be a werewolf. The motives behind her being called in to testify before the committee seems suspicious, and much of the intrigue in the story is built around the committee and its motives. While that by itself is not compelling, it’s safe to say that things go awry for Kitty and make the trip to Washington an interesting one.

The pace of this book was a bit slow, and a big chunk of the book is Kitty discovering the unique aspects of being in Washington DC as a werewolf. Her notoriety brings her a lot of unwanted attention, and it’s no surprise that the DC area is home to some colorful characters that express an interest in Kitty Norville. A few characters from the first book do return, but many more new ones make their entrance. I get a sense that a cast is being built that will be used for the duration of the series.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsMovie critics will often classify certain films as “Popcorn Movies.” These are films that may not be getting any award nominations, but are very enjoyable to watch. I’m a sucker for popcorn movies. Put on Army of Darkness, a cold beverage, and some snacks and I’m a happy camper. I have the same feelings towards certain books. Many of my favorite urban fantasies are firmly in the “Popcorn Novel” category, and Kitty Goes to Washington has found a home amongst that group.

Overall I enjoyed the book, but am coming to realize that I might not be Vaughn’s target audience. The romance angle was increased, and a studly Brazilian were-jaguar attracts the attention of Miss Norville pretty early on. The love-making romance stuff was kept low-key and felt appropriate for the story, but I did roll my eyes a few times at their “animal attraction.” An interesting anecdote about the book’s romantic angle comes from my own notes that I had written down while reading the book for review. I will often jot down in a notepad a quick word or two that captures a thought that I will expand on when I write the review later. In my notes under the subject of “Romance” I wrote the words “cuddly honey bunny.” I have no idea why. I think the most likely reason is because occasionally “popcorn novels” transition into “bourbon novels.”

I listened to parts of Kitty Goes to Washington on audio. The audiobook is published by Tantor Audio and read by Marguerite Gavin, who returns from narrating Kitty and the Midnight Hour. Marguerite is a professional narrator, and has loads of accolades for her work. Much like James Marsters is definitely Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden, Marguerite is Kitty Norville. Once again it was a really good audio experience from Marguerite and Tantor Audio.

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JUSTIN BLAZIER (on FanLit's staff September 2009 – September 2012) Like many fantasy enthusiasts, Justin cut his teeth on Tolkien. Due to lack of space, his small public library would often give him their donated SFF books. Justin lives in a small home near the river with his wife, their baby daughter, and Norman, a mildly smelly dog. He doesn't have much time for reviewing anymore, but he still shows up here occasionally to let us know how he feels about stuff.

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  1. “Bourbon novels!”

    What a fun review, Justin. Thanks!

  2. Justin Blazier /

    I’de forgotten about Kitty Norville! I’m about to to head out on a 13 hour flight. She might be just the right book.

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