Ever since her friend TJ was killed, Kitty has stayed far away from the abusive pack alphas in her home city. But a family emergency pulls Kitty back to Denver, where she has to confront the pack she left behind. Since she's been gone, it's gotten even more dysfunctional, and meanwhile the vampire Master of the city is increasing his demands of the wolves. One of Kitty's old friends asks for her help in breaking the Master's hold, but Kitty wants to stay out of the power struggle. But when the coup fails, Kitty realizes that she can't let the status quo keep deteriorating. With fewer allies and more to lose than ever before, Kitty makes a power play of her own.
This is one of the strongest books in the series, and one that kept my eyes glued to the page. Vaughn never gets lazy about characterization: every book, we understand Kitty a little better. I love the strategies she uses, effective ones seem like common sense but are rarely utilized in fiction. She talks to the pack, getting support and a feel for their opinions, before making grand speeches or a power play. When a submissive werewolf is in danger, she doesn't immediately start ripping throats out--she sets up a safe house (using the connections we've seen her make in the previous two books) and gets her a plane ticket. When she finds out a battle is going on, she tells the cops. They're not fully prepared for supernatural business, but at least this way law enforcement knows who to charge and how to protect themselves. She transforms into a small, not particularly strong wolf--and so instead of fighting with her claws, she starts learning how to use a gun and gets silver bullets. It was so refreshing to have a truly sensible heroine for once. Which is not to say she's overly analytical or passionless, but she's not constantly running into battle without backup or fore-thought. I also appreciated Vaughn's take on power. Heroes (including Kitty) are always going on about how they have to step up and take leadership because that's what The People Want. But much harder, I think, is to step down
from power because that's what is wanted or needed. I've pretty much never seen a character relinquish power, particularly for selfless reasons, so to see it here, paired with Kitty having to accept power, was a great choice. The last few books have expanded our knowledge of the lycanthrope and human worlds, and given us a little taste of vampires. This one makes it clear how much is still mysterious, which just whetted my appetite for more. I can't wait to see what happens next!