Emily Baxter is a news reporter for a large paper in New York City. Emily loves being in the city, surrounded by people, and finds the hustle and bustEmily Baxter is a news reporter for a large paper in New York City. Emily loves being in the city, surrounded by people, and finds the hustle and bustle to be comforting. Then, one morning she is sitting in a cafe writing her next article when the red rain begins. Within a few hours, everything Emily loves about the city is gone. Everyone is dead, and not only is she now totally alone, but the Earth is changing. The plague brought on by the red rain is all-consuming. The book follows her escape from New York City and the terrors she encounters along the way. I’m a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction. One of the problems with this sub-genre is that it’s often hard to find a unique story. Apparently there are only so many ways to end the world. Lately zombies are the way to go, and frankly I’m pretty tired of them. Good news, everybody: Extinction Point is a zombie-free apocalypse. It’s a truly original take on the apocalypse, and that in itself is exciting to me. The plague is the antagonist and it has some unique characteristics that become problematic for Emily. Problematic might be a bit of an understatement — I really mean it’s an absolute pants-wetting terrorizing menace. To reveal the horrifying ways the plague torments Emily would ruin most of the book’s fun. Things begin seriously unraveling for Emily rather quickly. During the first chapter of the book I made a footnote musing that the writing was a bit overly detailed. When Emily enters a coffee shop, for example, Paul Antony Jones describes the number of chairs that are at the table when she sits down. This level of detail sticks out to me, and does more to remove me from the scene than it does to draw me in. In another example, there is an entire paragraph spent giving turn-by-turn directions of the route she is taking out of the city. While grating at times, this authorial quirk comes in handy when describing the disturbing things Emily stumbles upon on her journey. The details also help build suspense. I became very anxious when Emily took her sweet time in examining something I was certain was going to take off her face. The book is short, and comes in at just over 300 pages. Add in Mr. Jones’ love of detail, and the brevity becomes a real problem. I don’t mind short books when they feel complete, but Extinction Point did not feel that way to me. I felt left hanging just when the story was really getting exciting, and when I was just starting to see the big picture of the Earth’s problem and Emily’s place in it. That was frustrating, and one of the reasons I did not give it 4 or more stars. The good news is that the book is very inexpensive on Kindle, and the sequel is already available. I was able to immediately purchase Extinction Point: Exodus and continue the story unabated. This looks to be a series I will be following for quite some time. I listened to the book on Brilliance Audio CD, and was very satisfied with the quality. Brilliance really sets the standard in audiobook quality. Emily Beresford narrates the novel, which is written from Emily’s point of view. When I first started listening I thought the narration was a little flat, but as the book progressed I came to realize that it was a pretty accurate portrayal of the main character’s personality. The character is a reporter and often has a detached tone when checking out her surroundings, so Ms. Beresford’s interpretation was spot-on. At just over 8 hours in length, Extinction Point makes for a nice listen over the course of a few days. I highly recommend the audio version of this book.
Review originally published on FantasyLiterature.com...more
Kitty Norville is a radio DJ that hosts a late night talk show about various paranormal topics. She often gets strange calls from the very subjects shKitty Norville is a radio DJ that hosts a late night talk show about various paranormal topics. She often gets strange calls from the very subjects she talks about. She usually ends up giving out advice to these callers since they have very few options for advice available to them. As a werewolf herself, Kitty is in a unique position to dispense helpful information to those that need it. Her show became popular and that did not sit too well with some key players in her life. Her own pack was made jealous of her success and that created tension in the ranks that she is forced to deal with. Not to mention the vampires, werewolf hunters, and other denizens of the night she has managed to irritate with her openness of sensitive topics. All of these things make Kitty Norville’s life complicated and scary.
I’m a big fan of the Mercedes Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, and it was too easy for me to draw comparisons between Kitty and Mercedes. Both series have a strong “werewolf” female protagonists, and both use inter-pack politics as significant plot points. Their characters in both series make it a point to defy their stereotypical societal roles as both werewolves and women. As similar as they seem on the surface, the surface is where the similarities end. To put in simply, there is a lot less magic in Kitty’s world, and the overall tone of the book is heavier.
Kitty and the Midnight Hour is a much darker book than I was expecting. While still a fun read, it had an edge to it. Nothing overly graphic, but it certainly didn’t shy away from a little gore, sex, and violence. I viewed this as a good thing. Werewolves and vampires are supposed to be gritty, dangerous, and violent. I liked the world Carrie Vaughn created, and must say that I wished I had found it before I had already been overexposed to sparkling vampires, hunky werewolves, and other Urban Fantasy tropes that are so prevalent now.
The Kitty Norville books draw their inspiration from your typical werewolf Urban Fantasy stories, and at this point I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone who is a fan of the genre and is desperate for something different. However, I would recommend it to anyone looking for an introduction into werewolf-themed fantasy, or you simply can’t get enough ass-kicking werewolves. The books are well written, intense, and chock full of great characters. I may not be running to the bookstore to pick up the sequel tomorrow, but Kitty Norville has definitely found a permanent home on my To-Be-Read list.
I listened to Kitty and the Midnight Hour on audio. The audio book is published by Tantor Audio and read by Marguerite Gavin. Marguerite is a professional narrator, and has read tons of books and received many awards for her work. Marguerite was such an awesome choice for reading Kitty Norville because she sounds exactly how you would imagine Kitty would sound. The Kitty Norville character is a professional DJ who talks down some very scary creatures. Marguerite’s power of voice lends great credibility to the character. Not to mention that, when I pulled up her bio on the Tantor site, she is a dead ringer for Kitty as well. A really good audio experience from Marguerite and Tantor.