“Kitty And The Silver Bullet” was fun from the first page to the last. Carrie Vaughn’s writing is deceptively easy to read: I found myself sliding right into the story, like returning to a favourite reading chair, yet what Carrie Vaughn writes is not light-weight. It works because she loads her books with serious, difficult issues and drives Kitty’s development by her responses to them. Carrie Vaughn is never heavy-handedly didactic but her characters are always made to choose between right and wrong and to take the consequences of their actions.
Kitty, now the Alpha of a two werewolf pack, is forced by family circumstances to return home, even though the Alphas of her previous pack has banished her on pain of death.
This means that Kitty finally has to confront the abuse she received from the Alpha of her first pack and the scars that it left. The confrontation becomes wrapped up in the Byzantine complexities of Vampire politics: a hierarchy enforced by violence and changed only by challenge but which turns out not to be entirely in the hands of the local Vampires.
Kitty befriends a young pack member who occupies the bottom-of-the-heap, abuse-toy for the Alpha role that Kitty held. This meeting, together with the reaction of some of her former pack-mates, makes Kitty realise that the experiences of the past year have changed her from a defenseless follower into a strong leader.
I enjoyed Kitty’s reluctance to become an Alpha and her struggles to try and avoid violent conflict. Perhaps it’s true that power should only be given to those who don’t desire it and the force is a last resort.
I was also fascinated to see Kitty trying to sort out whether she becomes more as werewolf by embracing the human or the wolf. Her reactions to abuse and murder are decidedly human. Her need to protect her pack and her pack’s expectations of her are mainly wolf. Until this novel, Kitty has tended to see herself as a human who has contracted a disease that turns her into a wolf on the full moon. In this novel she accepts that that is not the whole truth. She is no longer who she was and she has now to decide who she will become.