Amph SFF Series: Now Disc. Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Books and Comics' started by Mastadge, Nov 23, 2008.

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  1. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    One thing I've noticed on this board is that while some series get a lot of talk, a lot of series threads come and go very quickly because readership isn't that high. So I thought maybe a hosted thread might be useful. Once a week, or longer if a discussion goes on, I'll post about a different series. Mostly at first I'll probably concentrate on urban fantasy/paranormal romance/that newly ubiquitous genre of mostly terrible covers, simply because there are a zillion of them and I'm not familiar with all that many, but I'll also get to sci-fi and fantasy series both new and old.

    Anyway, for our first discussion I present Kim Harrison's series The Hollows, also known as the Rachel Morgan series. There are six books in the series so far, with a seventh coming soon. They're told from the POV of Rachel Morgan, a witch detective fighting undead threats in an alternate Ohio. The books so far are:
  2. Dead Witch Walking (April 2004)

  3. The Good, the Bad, and the Undead (January 2005)

  4. Every Which Way But Dead (June 2005)

  5. A Fistful of Charms (June 2006)

  6. For a Few Demons More (March 2007)

  7. The Outlaw Demon Wails (February 2008)

  8. White Witch, Black Curse (February 2009)

  9. There are also several entries in this series to be found in anthologies. Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil is a novella found in the anthology Dates from Hell; Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel is in the anthology Holidays Are Hell; and the story Dirty Magic can be found in the anthology Hotter Than Hell.

    I haven't read any of these books yet, though the first is on my shelf waiting, but from word of mouth I've gathered that they're superior entries in this genre, better written and more interesting than most. Has anyone read them? Are they any good?
  10. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    No, but now I'm a bit curious :p I can't remember if I've seen them at Borders or not.
  11. Raven Administrator Emeritus

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    I've read a few. Every Which Way But Dead, A Fistful of Charms and For a Few Demons More. I don't care much for the series. As urban fantasy goes, it's fairly lackluster. Right now, I'd call Jim Butcher the best in the genre, and these are a long, long way away from his level. I'd also take the likes of Sunshine by Robin McKinley, the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelly Armstrong. I'd probably take it over Laurell K. Hamilton or Lilith Saintcrow, but that's a probably, not a certainty.
  12. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    Aaaaand down the list they slide.
  13. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

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    Hm. I've never heard of those, but now I'm curious too. :D
  14. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    Don't get too curious, guys -- there are about a million and a half of these series! Part of my purpose here is to help figure out which ones are good enough or distinctive enough to warrant my time, and, in the case of those I've read, help others make similar decisions. So far response to The Hollows has not been particularly encouraging here!
  15. Raven Administrator Emeritus

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    Possibly because I didn't start with the first book, they never really hooked me. There were a few plotlines (the vampire roommate/partner comes to mind) that felt like they had a lot of potential, but nothing worthwhile was done with them. The world building itself was a fairly typical post-normal world, without anything memorable about it. The writing itself was flat, not very engaging.

    All told, very disapointing.
  16. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    Author website and cover matrix for this series.

    [image=http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3063/3057206080_216a151a2a_o.jpg]
  17. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    Don't worry, in all likelihood I'll decide that two and a half weeks at school, during which time I have exams, is a bad time to be getting new books from the library. By the time I get back home for break I'll probably have forgotten :p
  18. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

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    Well, based on the covers and Raven's review, maybe I'll pass too. :p
  19. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    I make it a point never to judge a book by its cover. Most of my favorite books have terrible cover artists.
  20. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    And then there are some great cover artists. I submit for your approval the covers to Peter Saxon's series The Guardians, with art by Jeff Jones:

    [image=http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3053/3071911159_4b971bc1c1_o.jpg]

    The Guardians was a series published between 1968 and 1970, totalling six books. They're about a team (The Guardians, naturally) who fight supernatural evil, but they're definitely a cut or three above most paperback originals from that time or this one: fairly well written, exciting stuff. And the supernatural evil -- vampires, haunted houses, psychic battles -- is the real deal, too, with no Scooby-Doo copouts at the end. The team dynamics recall the best superhero team comics, even though these aren't superheroes, and some of the books in this series inspired some of Claremont's classic early X-Men stories. These books are worth tracking down used. Peter Saxon was not a real person but a "house author," a psuedonym used by multiple authors (some of whom may also be pseudonyms, and some of whom may have collaborated with each other, making determining authorship difficult, but. . .). The books in the series are:
  21. Through the Dark Curtain - by Ross Richards

  22. The Curse of Rathlaw - by Martin Thomas

  23. The Killing Bone - by W. Howard Baker

  24. Dark Ways to Death - by Wilfred McNeilly

  25. The Haunting of Alan Mais - by Wilfred McNeilly

  26. The Vampires of Finistère - by Rex Dolphin

  27. Anyway, good stuff if you like this kind of thing, which I do.
  28. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    Not what I'm looking for in a series right now (I'm about vampired out at the moment) but these sound interesting.
  29. Raven Administrator Emeritus

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    That looks right up my alley. I don't suppose there's any kind of collected edition, or am I going to be hunting in used book stores?


    Regarding the "book by a cover" thing, I point people in the direction of Orbit books. With some very pleasant exceptions, most books from Orbit are rarely better than mediocre. But the covers are usually absolutely amazing. I don't care how much they're currently paying the girls or guys in their art department, they deserve to pay them more.
  30. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    No collected edition, but they do stand alone, so there's no need to read them in order (in fact, I don't really recommend starting with the first one: it's not the best of them).
  31. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

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    On the covers: for me it's not so much that the cover art sucks - although that's a factor as well, it's not all of it. :p It's just that the cover art is usually sort of indicative of the kind of book it is, like if there's a leather-clad knife-wielding woman on the cover, there is probably a leather-clad knife-wielding woman in the book, and if there's a kid holding a gun, there's probably going to be a kid holding a gun in there, and so on. Some things get lost/added in translation of course (there was a book I read once with a girl in a pink spacesuit on the cover, holding what looked like a water gun - it was military sci-fi and none of the spacesuits were described as pink and no character technically held a gun) but that's usually the case.

    Unless the cover is just some patterny thing in which case it's just there to be pretty, obviously.
  32. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    And moving back to awful covers, lets look at Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville series.

    [image=http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3264/3099497607_60f9b6e7ff_o.jpg]

    There are six books available now of what will be a seven-book series:
  33. Kitty and the Midnight Hour (Nov. 2005)

  34. Kitty Goes to Washington (July 2006)

  35. Kitty Takes a Holiday (Apr. 2007)

  36. Kitty and the Silver Bullet (Jan. 2008)

  37. Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand (Jan. 2009)

  38. Kitty Raises Hell (Feb. 2009)


  39. Carrie Vaughn is an interesting up-and-comer in the field whose novels to date are all this werewolf urban fantasy stuff, but who's stories are good enough that I'm curious to see what else she'll do. I've only read the first of these, and as these things go it wasn't at all bad. An easy read, enjoyable enough fluff. The series is supposed to end at book seven, and I assume from what I've heard that it's been escalating as it goes on rather than just doing more of the same, so I wouldn't be surprised to find myself liking it more and more as it goes on. The novels center on Kitty Norville, a werewolf on talk radio who, IIRC, survives an on-air assassination attempt and, whoops, cat's out of the bag. My understanding is that in the second book she goes to Washington to advocate for her kind. Don't know plot details past that. Once book seven is out I'll likely give them all a read-through.

    Anyone read these? Any thoughts? Yea or Nay?
  40. Raven Administrator Emeritus

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    I've not read them, but I'm willing to give them a try. I'll take a look next time I visit Chapters.
  41. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    I think I may have seen these in Borders once. I put the first one on hold; I need something to do on break anyway, since it looks like I won't be working.
  42. Raven Administrator Emeritus

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    I just finished the first book in the Kitty series, and it's good enough that I'll be picking up the second tonight. Nothing to set the world on fire or to go out and write gushing recommendations about, but good solid fun. And for fluff, the relationship in the wolf pack was surprising. I wasn't exactly expecting that things would be handled as they were - relatively brave way to handle things, to put her in that abusive and controlling relationship with her pack.
  43. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    I have it from the library, and plan to start as soon as I'm finished with Sanderson.
  44. s65horsey Otter-loving Former EUC Mod

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    Nat - did you ever read it?

    I just read the first one and loved it. I think my favorite part is that Kitty doesn't start out as a strong werewolf, but instead we get the perspective of a pack from the bottom rung. That's not usually how authors write their characters (well at least from my experience, LKH, Sookie Sackhouse, Twilight, some Kim Harrison). I am going to have to see if I can find anymore of these here and if not, I'll order them from Amazon. I'm very interested to see where she's taking the Kitty character.
  45. Raven Administrator Emeritus

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    Kitty starts out as an abused woman, and that colors everything she does later in the series, even when it's not directly referred to.
  46. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    Haha, well, no :p I meant to, but it had to be returned and I've been so busy this semester (and other books had a higher priority) that I never got around to it [face_blush] I still mean to though, maybe this summer.
  47. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    Oops. Forgot this thread! Will get back to it this weekend!
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