Kitty's Greatest Hits
by Carrie Vaughn
Edited by David Hartwell
Cover Artist: Craig White
Review by Gayle Surrette
Tor Books Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765329578
Date: 16 August 2011 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Kitty's Greatest Hits is a collection of Carrie Vaughn's short fiction taking place in the Kitty Norville universe. When I first picked the book to read, I thought that Kitty would be in all the stories and was confused when she was only in five of the fourteen stories, and only minimally in one of those. In the Author's Note, Vaughn says that the stories included were to fill in some of the background of continuing series characters such as Cormac, who features in three stories, and Ben.
I enjoyed all of the stories in the volume even those I'd read when they were originally published. This is a great collection for readers of the Kitty series as it collects them in a nice package.
Some of the stories that stood out for me include:
I was surprised by "A Princess of Spain" (The Secret History of Vampires, DAW Books, 2009). The princess is Catherine of Aragon who is be wed to Arthur, the older brother of Henry (who later became Henry the VIII). Together, Henry and Catherine work to save her future husband.
"The Book of Daniel" (Talebones #39, Winter 2009) was a delightfully different take on Daniel in the Lion's den. I won't say any more about it but it was an interesting twist to a story every child who has attended Sunday School will have heard or read.
The first Cormac story is "Looking After Family" (Realms of Fantasy, February 2007) in which we learn how Cormac ended up living with Ben's family and just how the relationship between Ben and Cormac developed.
In "Wild Ride" (Running with the Pack, Prime Books 2010), we get some of the background for T.J. How he became a were and how that impacted his life.
"Kitty's Zombie New Year" (Weird Tales #345, June/July 2007) will really leave a lasting impression. It deals with a situation that seems to show up all too often in police blotters and news casts. Not a person being turned into a zombie but people who'll do the most outrageous things to others in order to get their own way, with no thought of the potential consequences.
"You're on the Air" shows just how some talk shows can actually help people, even when they least expect it. A vamp turned against his will and left untrained is barely scraping by, trying to accommodate the realities of his condition. He finally finds a way to live with his vampire-ness.
There are other stories and they're all good ones. Pick up Kitty's Greatest Hits. You'll love the stories if you're already a fan of the series and if you're just interested in finding out what the fuss is about, this book will give you a visual taste of what happens in Kitty's world.