The series is aimed at a bit of a niche market. Each book begins with a song playlist, for starters. While each book does have a single plot that finishes at the end, many of the plotlines stretch from one book to the next. Unlike most books using werewolves and vampires and other horror tropes, and like the Mercy Thompson series, the focus is less on conventional horror and more on the political and social issues underlying the problems. The denouement is less often a massive bloody brawl — Kitty only takes down a single mook and a weak fae herself in the first three books, and the fourth book is the first time a Big Bad is taken out by her hand — and more often about untangling vampire or werewolf politics and managing to not be violent to a nasty politician. As the series has progressed and the stakes have been raised, however, she has gotten continually more proactive and combative, and the books have had increasingly climactic confrontations—she takes out the leader of the Band of Tiamat and two of the Right Wing Militia Fanatic hunters, and has faced the ultimate Big Bad twice. The whole thing seems to be gearing up toward one incredible showdown.
And according to Marid, the story of Romulus and Remus is also true albeit metaphorical, since werewolves can't have offspring and so the boys raised by her indeed had to be adopted. He's right, since Kitty encounters an aspect of the first Regina Luporum, and may just be guided by/channeling her spirit.
Knowledge of this trope is what inspired Roman to find and gather all power in the supernatural world to him so as to destroy it.
All Part of the Show: In the very first book, when Kitty is outed as a werewolf by Cormac on the air, later callers (and critical pundits) claim that this was all merely a publicity stunt and that Cormac had in fact been hired to help drive up the ratings. Meanwhile, the animals in Balthasar's show in Las Vegas are all actual lycanthropes, but despite their being smaller than real animals due to conservation of mass, none of the audience members ever realized and just assumed, naturally, that they were watching real animals who were just part of the act. More horrifically, when things first start going wrong at the Montana cabin in House of Horrors, a few of the contestants, particularly Flat Earth Atheist Conrad Garrett, claim that the new developments are simply part of the reality TV show, more of the same engineered stunts, games, and 'conspiracies' they'd been subjected to already. What is worst of all is that in a way, this is all part of the show, since the real intention of the producers was to, in Kitty's words, make a snuff horror film, showing just how supernatural creatures could be killed.
Altum Videtur: Aside from Roman's adopted name of Dux Bellorum, Latin is also used, it seems, in missives between the vampire Masters of Europe when planning gatherings or communicating generally. Justified since not only is he actually from the Roman Empire, but many of the older vampires are from at least the Middle Ages if not earlier—so they would either also have lived when Latin was a living, spoken language or when it was used by the Church to preserve literature and by nobles to show off their education. It's also one of the few languages all of them would have in common. And it can't be denied it's pretty awesome when applied to Kitty. It is also clearly the Language of Magic, or one of them, since it is used by Roman, Cormac, and Father Columban.
My kingdom was a small one. I had my family, my mate, my pack, my city. I didn't want anything else. I didn't want an empire. But I would fight to protect what I had. I'd fought before, and I'd be an idiot to ignore the forces out there building empires, who would take my world away from me if I let them.
Animal Jingoism: For the most part this does not apply, since outside certain canine mannerisms and traits which werewolves have (and, naturally, the similar mannerisms other werebeasts inherit from their wild counterparts) the werebeasts don't have any particular problems with each other—within packs there are matters of dominance, but lycanthropes of various kinds all mingle freely at Ahmed's restaurant the Crescent and cats and dogs in particular don't have any difficulty getting along. In fact Kitty gets along quite well with Luis. But when she meets the Band of Tiamat she discovers the reason there is no werewolf pack in Las Vegas is because the preferred sacrificial prey of the all-feline cult is werewolves.
Anti-Villain: Alice, Arturo, and the ifrit, which is under the control of the vampire priestess and so is not truly attacking Kitty and her pack out of malice. Maybe.
Arbitrary Skepticism: Justified—as Kitty says, just because one supernatural thing is real, or the supernatural world at large is, doesn't mean that every myth, legend, conspiracy theory, and fantastic creature is. The fact some are real just means people need to be even more skeptical, to be certain something is genuinely supernatural, to keep from being conned and tricked by those with other agendas or who are too credulous as to believe anything. She isn't the only one, either—various supernaturals she's encountered have been skeptical, startled, or even awed by the discoveries she's made and learned about: Luis and Esperanza didn't know of either the fey or gods and Alette hadn't encountered Roman's binding-spell coins. And Anastasia revealed that dragons aren't real, while Kitty (in reference to "Kitty's Zombie New Year") reveals actual voodoo zombies are real, but not Hollywood zombies.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: One of Kitty's favorite means of snark. Very early example, when Rick and Kitty are discussing the implications of Elijah Smith's Church of the Pure Faith:
The possibilities he suggested were downright ominous. They incited a nebulous fear of purposes I couldn't imagine. Witch hunts, pogroms. Reality TV.
Artifact of Doom: The Manus Herculei, which to judge by Kumarbis' translation just may have some power over the earth, specifically to induce volcanic eruptions.
Author Appeal: By Word of God, Amelia Parker is in the series solely because of Carrie Vaughn's love of Victorian adventure fiction and occult stories.
Badass Damsel: It's almost become a Running Gag how many times Kitty gets in trouble or danger, gets kidnapped, or otherwise becomes a target of the villains—but fairly early on her growing strength as a character allows her to weather adversity, and by now, near the end of the series, she's often quite capable of rescuing herself, and even when she isn't she is hardly helpless.
Badass Squad: In Kitty Goes to War, Captain Gordon and his pack of Special Forces werewolves are these, achieving results far beyond their expectations, but the pack completely fall apart after Gordon, the alpha, dies.
Bad Boss: Carl. In the first book, he sexually abuses his female packmates—including Kitty—and manipulates them in a power game against his wife Meg. When he returns in the fourth book, he's even worse, dragging his pack into a vampiric civil war and killing underlings out of paranoia. It all backfires on him rather spectacularly: two pack members defect to Kitty's side, four more rat out the entire operation when the police catch them, and the remainder decide enough is enough and tear him to pieces at the end of book four.
It definitely seems to be leaning more toward Order Versus Chaos as of Kitty Steals the Show. While Roman and his followers are still trying to Take Over the World and it is very clear his group is evil while the resistance forming against him is (mostly) good, his methods still involve manipulating others and pitting them against each other so as to sow chaos and keep them from uniting against him—whether through his use of various lycanthrope slaves to be his Red Shirts, his dividing the vampire Masters into fractured, suspicious, It's All About Me camps, or his layered deceptions involving Mercedes, Flemming, and the protest rioters.
Father Columban and the Order of St. Lazarus of the Shadows explicitly describe it as fighting "the forces of darkness" but then they are a bit biased.
Because Destiny Says So: According to Kumarbis and Zora, Kitty was chosen by the first Regina Luporum to be her avatar, and thus she was meant to become a werewolf. Since even aside from the pain and suffering this has brought to her life, she had to get raped to be in the "right place" to get infected, she naturally responds, "Fuck you!"But judging by what happens during the final ritual, they may just be partly right about her after all...
Beware the Nice Ones: the curse from Book Three is actually being cast by Alice, the sweet store-owner lady
Big, Badass Wolf: All but the smallest werewolves become something noticably bigger than lupine average when they change. Big (240 pounds on up) werewolves become something firmly in the OHMYGODWHATISTHATDON'TEATME category when they do.
Big Brother Worship: Peter has this for T.J., although he turned somewhat into The Resenter after T.J. left home when he was thrown out for being gay and didn't take him with him. Still resulted in him traveling across the country, taking odd jobs, and even learning how to spy, sleuth, and break a few laws in order to track him down.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Mercedes Cook. When first introduced in Kitty and the Silver Bullet she appears to be a genuinely kind, funny, warm, and surprisingly human vampire who, once she's decided to "come out" to the public, has a candid and revealing interview on Kitty's show where she seems to be a kindred spirit, a great face for positive human-supernatural relations, and a possible ally. But after she invites Kitty over to her hotel room, only for it to turn out to be a set-up just to provoke a conflict between her and the antagonistic werewolves (her former alphas) who exiled her back in book one, she is revealed to be nothing like either her stage persona or how she appeared on the show—instead being a cold, manipulative, calculating creature whose motives are opaque and whose intentions are inscrutable. By the end of the book she's unequivocally a villain and major threat to be dealt with (or as Kitty puts it later, a "double-crossing fink"); as of book ten she's turned out to be a recruiting agent for and possibly The Dragon to the ultimate Big Bad of the setting, Dux Bellorum.
Bittersweet Ending: In "Wild Ride", T.J. becomes a werewolf to become cured of HIV, and ends up finally finding a place to belong, a family of sorts, after his own threw him out for being gay. But...in order to have health and safety with the pack, he must give up all autonomy, become submissive to his alpha, and he has essentially traded one incurable disease for another. So he stands up for himself, rejects his pack, and strikes out on his own to be brave and independent. But thanks to Dramatic Irony, the reader already knows that his decision leads to Colorado, Carl, and his death. Kitty thinks, when she learns his Belated Backstory, "Was it worth it, T.J.?" Chances are he would say it was, but there was still a sad price.
Black Comedy: The European vampire Masters' excuses for why their Caligula-like blood orgy is acceptable.
Jan: Modern sensibilities? We are ancient creatures. What do human mores have to do with us?
Antony: It's not like we kill anyone—civilized vampires don't. Why kill mortals for their blood when they so obligingly make more?
On a related note, Kitty's response to Stockton when she's being held in a silver-painted cell and about to be interviewed.
Kitty: As I recall, you insisted on conducting an interview. Is now a good time for you?
Stockton: As long as you're not busy.
Kitty: I'm a captive audience.
Black Dude Dies First: Absolutely defied with Sergeant Tyler, who actually makes it to the end of Kitty Goes to War and lives; despite repeated hints to the contrary, he also makes it through Kitty Steals the Show. Sadly played straight with Jerome Macy in House of Horrors, who is the first to die other than Dorian.
Bring Out Your Gay Dead: Straight Gay T.J. gets Stuffed into the Fridge, by the straight man he once loved. Ouch. No other openly gay or lesbian characters show up. However, it should be noted that this definitely falls under the example of a character who does not die because of his gayness or to teach something, not to mention this is only one example among many deaths in the series. His death is more strictly speaking an example of Mentor Occupational Hazard, and Carrie Vaughn notes in the afterword to Kitty's Greatest Hits that she only made T.J. gay to keep readers from Shipping him with Kitty, then to display a non-stereotypical tough gay character.
Britain Is Only London: Justified, since the supernatural conference is held in a hotel right in the heart of the city, so not only will all the usual sights and landmarks appear, there's no reason to travel outside the city to see the rest of the country. Kitty even lampshades the trope, and compares it to Big Applesauce and SoCalization, when noting how familiar Central London seems to her from the movies. Despite all this, very few landmarks or famous places are actually visited during her time there. On a side note, the fact that only the London clan of lycanthropes is mentioned is also justified: due to the small size of the British Isles, it was decided centuries ago to have the clans of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the rest of England join together as one giant clan headed by the alpha of London, so as to protect themselves from Europe's vampires and humans alike.
Broken Bird: Anastasia. Between the events of book seven and her backstory as revealed in book nine...
The Bus Came Back: With the ending of the series drawing closer, and due to the nature and far-reaching effects of the London conference, numerous characters from early in the series have reappeared in Kitty Steals the Show. Luis and Emma are back with fairly large roles, as is Dr. Flemming; Alette, Tom, and Mercedes all get The Cameo (the latter, however, acting as a Woman Behind the Man for most of the book); and Tyler gets to be the Distressed Dude this time. Jules from the Paradox PI crew is also there, though only named as a guest on Kitty's show. The only ones we haven't seen return are Ahmed, Tony, Grant, Peter, Brenda and Evan, and the non-evil members of the Band of Tiamat...and with the way the series is shaping up, it's likely at least some of them will appear too.
Call Back: Small details from the earliest books continue to crop up later on, whether in minor moments or as major plot points. In Kitty Raises Hell, the idea of lycanthropy curing HIV returns that's mentioned in Kitty Goes to Washington, and in Kitty's House of Horrors, the were-seal is brought in, a throwback to the mention way at the end of Kitty and the Midnight Hour of homo sapiens pinipedia.
The Call Knows Where You Live: True to form, despite Kitty's constant cries of I Just Want to Be Normal and her determination to stay neutral and out of trouble, fate will not allow her such an out. Aside from being a Weirdness Magnet, her determination to on the one hand be a voice of reason, understanding, and tolerance to bridge the human and supernatural worlds and on the other hand her inability to cease helping those who are in danger or trying to remain human has continually thrust her and those she cares about into the limelight, and the target crosshairs. This particularly is true in book four, when despite attempting not to take sides between Rick and Arturo she ends up trying to help the young abused omega Jenny (because she's heartbreakingly Not So Different from what Kitty herself used to be)...and when she breaks down and begs Carl for help, he kills her for daring to leave him. And once this galvanizes Kitty to action, she quickly finds that KNOB, her family, and Ben will all be in danger from Carl, Meg, and Arturo if she does not accept the mantle of pack alpha and take them out once and for all.
Cane Fu: Marid is quite adept at this, and it's in fact the whole reason he carries one it seems, since as a vampire he certainly doesn't need one for the usual reason. Would be a Sword Cane, if the sharp tip were actually a separate weapon, or concealed in any way.
Cats Are Mean: Subverted with Luis, but played depressingly straight with Balthasar and Nick.
Played with at first but finally subverted again with Sakhmet (Samira), the Badasswere-lioness warrior. At first she is simply part of the cult-like fanatical group that kidnaps Kitty to complete their ritual, but throughout her captivity she becomes increasingly solicitous of and sympathetic toward Kitty. By the end of the book she's unquestioningly taking battlefield orders from Kitty, and if she does show up again in the series, she'll clearly be a firm ally.
The Cavalry Arrives Late: Happens twice—first in book two, when Cormac, Ben, and the cops all burst into the Georgetown house only to find Kitty, Alette, and Flemming already took care of Leo and his military goons; then in book seven when the police and paramedics arrive in Montana (sent by a worried Ben) only after almost everyone is dead, including the villains. That time, at least, The Cavalry was able to get the living to a hospital and thus save Tina, Conrad, and Grant's lives. A third time is in book twelve, when Ben and Cormac (and the police) arrive at the mine after Kitty has already escaped and all the others save Sakhmet are dead.
Cerebus Syndrome: Although the first book was not exactly light-hearted fare, each one since then has gotten progressively darker as the series seems to be building toward a climactic showdown between the forces of good and evil, or order and chaos, with the human world caught in the middle. Unlike most examples of this trope, this seems to have been planned from the beginning, and its gradual nature is both believable and satisfying.
Cliff Hanger: While these do crop up at various points in the books, the most notable one would be the Sequel Hook at the end of Dead Man's Hand—Kitty being shown by Shaun the word "Tiamat" burned on the door of New Moon.
Kitty in the Underworld: So the ritual to destroy Dux Bellorum fails, costing the lives of the entire cult save Sakhmet, the demon bounty hunter most likely escaped again, and Dux Bellorum has retrieved his Artifact of Doom. But Kitty has obtained Zora's Book of Shadows, and with the help of Cormac/Amelia and people at KNOB she has managed to post its entire contents online—thus exposing Roman even more to the world, and providing anyone who finds and decodes it the means to band together and stop him.
The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: At various points throughout the series, Kitty often finds it easier to deal with the problems of her callers than those in her own life. This is most prominent in Kitty Takes a Holiday when first because of her writer's block, desire to hide from publicity, and yearning to go Wolf and never come back, and then later when she's dealing with Ben and Cormac, the curse, and the skinwalker, she ends up calling in to her imitator and in-universe fangirl, "Ariel, Priestess of the Night"—and it helps having someone looking at her life from the outside so as to give her the advice she needs.
I was a bit taken aback, that here was this person I didn't know, out on the airwaves, rooting for me. Maybe I'd forgotten that anyone was rooting for me... Nothing like having that mirror held up to you, or your words thrown back at you... Maybe I just needed someone to listen. Someone who wasn't depending on me to keep it together.
Played up in Kitty Rocks the House, apparently Kitty's personal life and the Denver pack has been suffering as she pursues her career and networking among vampires willing to resist Roman.
Coming-of-Age Story: In many ways, despite Kitty already being a college graduate at the start of the series, this is the shape of the overall plot as she not only learns more about the supernatural world and her place in it, but about herself and how to balance her human and wolf halves. Seeing her grow from the Extreme Doormat, to an independent and strong woman, to pack alpha, to spokeswoman for the supernatural world and heroine combating the forces of darkness/chaos, is extremely satisfying.
The Commissioner Gordon: Detective Hardin acts as the low-ranked version of this for Kitty, though at times rather unwillingly and snarkily. Even after the decision in the Senate in book 2, people do tend to still fear/hate the supernaturals, making this a secret Hot Line version of the trope—at least as far as the public goes; other members of the force are aware of both Kitty and Hardin's focus (they call it obsession) on the paranormal, and instead react with mockery. Except when the shit hits the fan and they need help, of course. She also becomes this, to some degree, for Cormac while he's in prison, coming to him for supernatural assistance in one of her cases, and as of book 11 has even hired him on retainer as a supernatural/mystical investigator.
Compelling Voice: All vampires have this (though Roman takes it to an art) as part of how they use Mind Control on their victims, usually before feeding. Elijah Smith has one as well, which Kitty could even hear (and be mildly affected by) over the phone.
Conspiracy Theorist: In a seemingly random moment at the start of Kitty Raises Hell, one of her callers claims there is a correlation between robberies, Ley Lines, and the location of Speedy Mart convenience stores. Though intrigued, Kitty dismisses him thanks to his You Have to Believe Me crackpot nature. However, this turns out to be a Chekhov's Gun: Charles from Shreveport, in Kitty Goes to War, lays out a more detailed plot connecting the president of the company with major weather disasters over the last forty years. It turns out he's absolutely right—and gets killed for his troubles. Even Ben is forced to admit, when the truth comes out, that Kitty may be right to be Properly Paranoid.
Unsurprisingly, Kitty comes across these on a regular basis, and usually manages to either prove them wrong or dismiss them as crackpots. A more amusing example would be Martin Pearce and his "fae magic explains The Power of Rock and the explosion of mass market pop bands" theory. But after what she learns in London, and her announcement at the conference, she herself is regarded as one...and suddenly sees it from the other side, trying desperately to prove her story, knowing it to actually be true, but realizing she can't differentiate herself from the hordes of theorists who are equally "sure" they're right. It doesn't help that she's actually proposing two theories, the Ancient Conspiracy of the Long Game and the fact some of those in power would love to obtain the "secrets" of the supernatural for their own military and political gain, which sound similar to other crackpot theories out there.
This is also how Kitty's show got started in the first place: talking about the Weekly World News's "Bat Boy" and other supernatural "sightings", and wondering whether they were real and it was all a cover-up. (Which comes back in a great Brick Joke at the end of book one: Bat-Boy is stated on the cover of Weekly World News to be appearing on Kitty's show.)
Cormac/Amelia, in describing Zora's Book of Shadows, mentions how medieval alchemists would also encode their research, writings, and arcane systems so they wouldn't be stolen, and that some of these have still not been translated today. This would seem to be an oblique reference to the Voynich Manuscript.
Contrived Coincidence: In book four, Kitty's mom's cancer just happens to bring her back to Denver at the same time as a vampire war is breaking out. In book five, she and Ben decide to get married in Vegas at the same time as a bounty hunter convention (and in a hotel quite close to where both Grant and Balthasar perform their acts). In book six, Grant and Peter find the amulet controlling the ifrit and destroy it, possibly at the same time as Kitty and the Paradox PI crew capture it but certainly very close together.
Conveniently Precise Translation: Ben's lawyer knowledge allows him to translate the name of Dux Bellorum's Artifact of Doom, the Manus Herculei, as the Hand of Hercules—which sounds bad enough, being named after a superstrong and invincible demigod. But it turns out he had the translation wrong: it's Hand of Herculaneum. Kitty, unfortunately, falls prey to Common Knowledge by not recognizing the name, but with research she'll surely discover just how ominous it is.
Create Your Own Villain: This has happened at least twice that we know of among the vampires: Father Columban was the vampire who sired Fray Juan, who later underwent a Face-Heel Turn by leaving the Order of St. Lazarus and trying to create his own faction of world-conquerors with cannibalistic perverted Christian rites; he in turn created his own hero, Rick. And it turns out that Kumarbis turned Roman, believing him meant for greatness and the one who could unite all vampires. Instead Roman was horrified and enraged at being turned against his will, usurped the Long Game, gathered wicked allies and dark powers even Kumarbis would not employ, and tried to take over so as to destroy the supernatural world.
Crystal Skull: One of these shows up in Rocks the House courtesy of a fan of the show. Kitty has a great deal of fun with it, both in debunking the mythology behind it and playing a hilarious prank on Ozzie. It even becomes a Brick Joke at the end when she gives it as a gag gift to Rick before he leaves town.
Cue the Sun: No, not whenever sunrise threatens a vampire, but the actual symbolic meaning of the trope—Rick overthrows Arturo just before dawn, and Kitty and the pack take out Meg and Carl not long afterward; she and Ben drive away into the sunrise, the beginning of a new and heroic era of leadership for Denver's vampires and werewolves.
In book three, Alice, Joe, and Sheriff Marks cast one on Kitty in order to get her to leave town, preemptively fearing something the "monstrous" werewolf might do to them and their community. But because a) Kitty isn't evil and b) they weren't willing to truly kill and shed blood the curse didn't work properly, instead bringing ill-fortune on all of them until Tony helps cleanse it, and drawing the skinwalker there.
Tony also claims that the touch of the skinwalker cursed both Kitty and Cormac. It isn't clear if this is true, or whether the curse was expiated after Kitty met and escaped Lawrence Wilson, but it is worth noting that Cormac not only goes to prison after this but encounters a demon and gets possessed by Amelia while in quick succession after this Kitty's mom gets cancer, she gets caught up in a vampire war and draws Roman's attention, and she encounters the Band of Tiamat, the ifrit, and the Right Wing Militia Fanatic TV show producers. Some of this may be bad luck or publicity, and if what Alette hinted at was true, Roman was already involved well before the skinwalker showed up, but her touch may have accelerated things and it can't be denied things in Kitty's life get much more complicated and deadly after this encounter...
Tricked by an inscription claiming a Sumerian cuneiform tablet lay buried beneath a particular stone marker, Amelia instead unleashed one of these in the form of a demon...one that would follow her everywhere she went, killing people to feed on their blood and fear, while she could do nothing to stop it.
Cursed with Awesome: Vampires are immortal, powerful, dominate the minds of other people, and can recover from all but the most destructive attacks. Werewolves almost never get sick, have impressive senses, heal from nearly anything, and move faster than humans can. Kitty still treats the conditions as a chronic disease... although there are downsides made clear.
Vampires need blood (not necessarily to kill people, just to drink blood, but even that is a fairly big downside) and burst into flame in sunlight. They have other weaknesses as well, but sunlight is the big one.
Werewolves shapeshift involuntarily once a month and have to work to suppress it whenever they simply get frightened or stressed. When they do shift, they take on the mentality of their alternate form, which is inconvenient at best and sometimes dangerous to themselves or others. They are also severely allergic to silver, and female lycanthropes cannot successfully carry children to term, as they'll miscarry the first time they have to change shape. We see plenty of characters who don't think of the conditions as diseases, but Kitty's attitude is both a way to help maintain her self-control and a sign that she's clinging to normalcy.
Werewolves also have to put up with their animal instinct even in human form. Kitty is shown to have taken subtle "wolf" clues from non-were(wolf)s and misinterpret them, and is also shown to have made the same mistake in reverse to non-weres.
Cutting the Knot: How do you deal with a Chessmaster villain who seems untouchable, incites fear in everyone who knows of him, is gathering allies in secret for a great Order Versus Chaos war to Take Over the World, and is consistently able to outmaneuver or manipulate everyone to his own ends? Reveal his existence and what he is doing to the world in a live public speech.
Dark Is Not Evil: A repeated theme within the series, especially during the radio show segments. While vampires and werewolves are described as sufferers of a chronic disease that no one should go looking to get, there are both heroic and monstrous examples of both.
From the short story collection, Angeline, who not only doesn't kill Arthur outright, but is deliberately keeping him alive (but weak) so that England will not gain a strong king and thus threaten the rest of Europe, i.e., a vampire actually preventing the acquisition of power.
A Day in the Limelight: New bit-part characters get to have stories told from their point of view in Kitty's Greatest Hits—David, Robin, Jake—while characters from the main series whose backgrounds we've not gotten to know also get their chance to shine as the protagonist—Rick, Ben and Cormac, T.J., and Emma. Matt even gets The Cameo in "Kitty's Zombie New Year".
In book 11 we not only get to meet another member of the pack, Trey, but Becky comes back into focus as a character as does Kitty's sister Cheryl.
Deadpan Snarker: Aside from Kitty herself, a number of characters are this, but one of the most deadpan of all (because of his lawyerly Straight Man persona making him The Comically Serious) is Ben. His response after Kitty's kidnapping, forced televising of her Change, and loss of anonymity have completely overwhelmed her? "Your place in American pop culture is assured. You're going to wind up as a question on a game show, you realize."
Just another hour and maybe I could have a nice soft bed. A hot meal and a bed. A hot meal, shower, and bed. No, a drive around Trafalgar Square first, then a hot meal, shower, a cuddle with Ben—I'd never had sex in a foreign country before—and bed...
Does This Remind You of Anything?: The afterword of Kitty's Greatest Hits reveals that at first Carrie Vaughn made T.J. gay solely to prevent readers from Shipping him with Kitty; then she realized the opportunity this afforded her to make a metaphorical statement about gays and AIDS vs. supernaturals and lycanthropy, and thus played up the subtext deliberately.
Domino Revelation: We meet werewolves, vampires, and various other members of the supernatural by the second and third books.
Double Consciousness: The instincts that came along with Kitty's werewolf transformation, referred to simply as "Wolf," are treated as a separate character, a sort of backseat driver to Kitty's human life. In times of stress or surprise she gets harder to ignore, and from what we see when 'Wolf' is in charge the converse also holds true.
Double Meaning Title: Most of the books' titles work on more than one level. Book two, besides literally describing its plot, is a reference toMr SmithGoes to Washington. Book three is a reference to Death Takes a Holiday, which in some ways accurately describes Kitty fighting to make sure Ben doesn't die. Book four's title also works as a metaphor for what Kitty is facing by coming back to Denver and putting herself in the middle of a vampire war. Book five not only refers to a hand dealt in card games (since it takes place in Las Vegas)—and one which is considered bad luck and a Portent of Doom for impending death, no less—but also to Roman who, though Kitty won't learn it until the next book, is secretly behind Dominic, the vampire priestess, and the Band of Tiamat (i.e., he's a vampire, a "dead man", and his hand is behind everything). Book six, of course, references the fire-wielding demonic ifrit. Book seven's title literally describes what the Montana cabin is due to the "monstrous" supernaturals residing in it, but it also refers to what the cabin becomes for them once the Ten Little Murder Victims plot kicks off. Book eight refers to her trying to save Commander Gordon's Special Forces platoon. Book eleven refers to what Kitty and her allies literally do to the church where Father Columban is hiding (a former house of God) but also what happens to her allies thanks to Cormac's actions and Rick's departure. Book twelve's title is simultaneously a reference to her being held underground in a mine, her delving into Roman's past (and facing a demon), and her metaphorical journey for knowledge.
Do with Him as You Will: At the end of the fourth book, when Kitty finally has Carl cornered, with a silver-loaded gun pointed at him and the rest of the pack closing in, he begs her to spare him. Kitty lowers the gun and says, "I'm sorry, Carl. That's not for me to decide." Then the whole pack descends on him and rips him to shreds.
Dramatic Irony: If Kitty had bothered to tell Kumarbis and the others what Alette had already told her (that Antony had found Dux Bellorum in Split), there would have been no need for the first ritual to divine his location...and he might not have been forewarned, allowing them to kill him after all. Of course he likely would have had the demon bounty hunter with him anyway, and Kitty was not in a mood to trust her captors, but still...
Ear Worm: Invoked in-story—when Kitty learns that an ifrit (i.e. genie) is what's after her and her pack, she can't get the Theme Song for I Dream of Jeannie out of her head. Not helped by the fact that various others around her (the Paradox PI crew, Hardin's fellow cops) keep bringing it up.
Eiffel Tower Effect: The clock tower of Westminster Palace is featured prominently on the cover of Kitty Steals the Show. This is especially notable because no such landmarks were used on the other book covers (e.g., the Washington Monument or the Capitol Building for book two, the Golden Gate Bridge for book nine).
Elopement: What Kitty and Ben decide to do when they opt for a Vegas wedding so as to escape all the expenses and stresses of a big wedding. Subverted when her parents decide to come along. The end result, after they both make it through their separate ordeals with the Band of Tiamat and crime boss Faber, is them choosing My Own Private "I Do" in the form of an Elvis drive-in wedding chapel.
Epiphanic Prison: Kitty in the Underworld has elements of this. Kitty is in a literal cave, and getting out of it requires learning more about her captors from the inside. She eventually escapes in a physical sense, only to voluntarily go back because her captors have convinced her they're doing the right thing, just in a bad way.
Escalating War: Extremely non-comedic version—the series' antagonists start off by only threatening Kitty personally or those she cares for (T.J., Alette, Ben and Cormac). But once she goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for Jenny's death, takes out Carl and Meg, and becomes pack alpha (in the process undermining Mercedes and Roman's scheme), she has put herself on the Big Bad's map. Thus each encounter she has becomes increasingly dangerous to herself, Denver, and the world (both supernatural and human): from sacrifice to the Band of Tiamat, to the summoning of an ifrit and then a gigantic blizzard, to obtaining an artifact that can potentially create millions of followers, to trying to turn all the vampire Masters of Europe against each other while creating an army of Super Soldiers. Even the human world gets in on the act, moving from Senator Duke's religious hysteria and Van Helsing Hate Crimes, to the curse which draws the skinwalker, to the Right Wing Militia Fanatic hunters determined to eradicate all supernaturals. Where it will end, now that Kitty has Thrown Down the Gauntlet, incited the werewolves to Turn Against their Masters, and rallied the vampire La Résistance is anyone's guess.
Even Evil Has Standards: Balthasar, admitted head of a chaotic Religion of EvilCult, is as disgusted as Kitty is by Nick's suggestion of admitting their lycanthropy so as to incorporate on-stage transformations into their act. Meanwhile, as dangerous, trigger-happy, Ax-Crazy, and anti-heroic as Evan and Brenda are, they (and most bounty hunters) have strict rules they follow: no poaching other hunters' kills and no harming of the innocent. Thus, even they hate people like Boris and Sylvia who will do anything if the price is right, or will even nastily hunt down and kill supernaturals just For the Evulz.
The Exile: Kitty, from the end of book 1 up through her return to Denver in book 4, thanks to the way her confrontation with Meg and Carl plays out. Results in her Walking the Country for a while, taking her show on the road.
Face Your Fears: Kitty's biggest fear, her personal invokedNightmare Fuel, is losing herself in the Wolf, losing her humanity and fully becoming a ravening beast, particularly if this leads to her bloodily attacking and killing the innocent. Naturally of course this is what Roman tries to make her do in book six when he induces the Change in her. What is perhaps a bit worrisome about this moment is that Kitty doesn't actually face her fear; Rick intervenes to save her, and while she swears afterward not to let it happen (and continues to fight her enemies without succumbing, even though she comes quite close to doing so in book 7), it can't really be said that she's overcome the fear or truly gained the control she seeks. To a point such a battle is always a lifelong one for a lycanthrope, but overall she seems merely to have sidestepped the issue...
The Fair Folk: The faith healer. Dealt with via Roger Stockton's grandmother and her knowledge of the Old World's herbal remedies and old wives' tales.
Also The Trickster fae girls and their queen. Amelia Parker knows a great deal about themand their ways, thus able to keep Kitty out of the usualpitfalls mortals fall into. Like Roger Stockton, she also has charms that detect them. Revealed, of course, to be unable to withstand Cold Iron. If Martin Pearce is to be believed, also drawn to mortal music.
Also the "agent of chaos" who made the deal with Kent Hayden of "Devil's Kitchen" in "Kitty and the Mosh Pit of the Damned" and Jax the bartender, of the good sort.
Family-Unfriendly Violence/Death: Unsurprisingly there's a lot of this throughout the series, but notable examples would be Meg and especially Carl's death, Arturo's death, and Mick's death. The whole slew of deaths in House of Horrors takes this Up to Eleven, but among those Jerome, Lee, and Gemma stand out. Jan's death also counts.
Fantastic Racism: Although it's been building throughout the series all along, this comes to a head as the motivation behind the plot of Kitty's House of Horrors and is one of the main reasons for the protest riots at the London conference. Most of these people, as well as Senator Duke, are acting based on The Fundamentalist thinking of the supernaturals as creatures of the Devil, but some merely see them as animals. There's also racism within the supernatural world, with many vampires seeing werewolves as dumb muscle and vermin and many werewolves (somewhat justifiably) seeing vampires as arrogant, manipulative bastards always willing to control and use them as slaves and cannon fodder. And it seems something of this sort is also motivating Roman to take over and destroy the supernatural world.
Fantastic Religious Weirdness: The call that puts Kitty on the map as a talk show host comes from a vampire who wants to talk about being Catholic when he literally can't enter a church, at least not without physical pain. Kitty advises him to read Paradise Lost. Drawing on her English major background, she argues that Lucifer's real sin wasn't the rebellion against God itself, but his belief afterwards that he was beyond redemption. She advises her caller not to make the same mistake. By her reasoning, a vampire could still be a good Catholic, he'd just have to work harder at it than most people.
The stakes are upped when, in book 9 Kitty meets what appear to be gods. It leads to quite the existential crisis when she has to wonder if this truly means All Myths Are True and what she believes is called into question.
Addressed in a different way when the conference is held in London. Esperanza points out that the scientific community's recognition of the reality of the supernatural has caused attendance of religious services to greatly increase—i.e., if magic and monsters are real, God must be too, and so they are going to church more for protection against them. This isn't necessarily unrealistic either, since Ahmed had told Kitty Daniel was a werelion, and that was how he saved himself from the lions—but that he then went on to thank God for making him one, and to contemplate the purpose behind it, suggesting the religious and the supernatural can coincide without abandoning logic. On the other hand, the breaking of The Masquerade also caused people in Tanzania to think the superstition about albinos being magical was real, thus justifying killing them for their parts...
As of book 11, the supernatural and the religious have crossed paths more clearly in the form of the Order of St. Lazarus of the Shadows, since it's not only composed of vampire priests, its members are quite firmly set in their faith that God is real and grants them His blessing to fight the forces of darkness; Father Columban certainly seems to truly believe in God, even if he's willing to accept the pope's declaration of who is a true Catholic and who isn't rather than God's. Note that no explanation is given of how they actually work, considering that in this setting vampires can't handle crosses or even set foot on consecrated ground. Also, in a nice Call Back to how this issue first cropped up in book 1, it turns out Milton's Paradise Lost may not be entirely fictional, since the bounty hunter pursuing Father Columban seems to be a Fallen Angel.
On the one hand, Enkidu and Sakhmet somewhat dismiss Kitty's stories of having met Sun Wukong and Xiwangmu, as well as suggesting there never was a real Enkidu or Sakhmet, merely stories which told of great powers which they would embody and harness for their ritual; on the other hand they genuinely believe not only that they will gain power which they call divine, but they both speak of lycanthropes as having been the messengers or servants of the gods, and of how much godly power lycanthropes have lost since the days of the ancient world.
Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Carl, in a way, in how he kept refusing Kitty the chance to have her successful show, not only because it was drawing attention to her and the supernatural world but because a) he had no control over it and b) it was giving her too much power and independence.
Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Fey, psychics, skinwalkers, chaos-worshipers, Cthulhu, ifrit, weather wizards, and the list is still growing...
The Final Temptation: Not villainous, but Father Columban's offer to Rick to join the Order of St. Lazarus of the Shadows has a similar flavor to it—basically offering him everything he secretly wanted (faith, hope, a family, a return to his roots) without even requiring he abandon his heroism since the Order would not only be fighting evil, but Roman specifically...though he would have to leave Denver to do it. At first he refuses...but then he indirectly accepts the offer after Columban's death.
Flat Earth Atheist: Most people in the series take the existence of the supernatural in stride; Kitty remarks that she wonders if her parents think of it as a fad or affectation on her part, but even they are willing to take her lycanthropy at face value. The seventh book, Kitty's House of Horrors, introduces what might be the first determined skeptic of the series: the author Conrad Garrett, who believes that alleged supernatural people are frauds or crazy, that video footage of a werewolf shapeshifting is CGI, and that CDC reports on were-people and vampires are the result of collusion with drug companies who want to make money off the conditions. It's arguably justified, though, since The Masquerade only was broken in the first book of the series, so there would still be a fair amount of skeptics around.
Follow the Leader: In-universe example with "Ariel, Priestess of the Night". Kitty wants to sue her until it comes out that Ariel's actually a huge Midnight Hour fangirl.
Another form of this occurs when Ned, vampire Master of London, publishes his memoir—referencing the suggestion Kitty made to him but also riding on the coattails of her own book.
Foreshadowing: As proof that the series' Cerebus Syndrome was planned, Alette's discussion of "stories vampires tell to frighten each other" of things that are merely "evil", coupled with Leo's assertion that the plot went "far beyond Flemming", makes it clear Roman was being set up long before he appeared in Kitty Raises Hell.
When Ben accompanies Kitty to the Senate hearing in book 2, and she is finally about to testify (on the day of the full moon), Kitty thinks to herself that he had a predatory grin, and was a "wolf in lawyer's clothing".
Friendly Neighborhood Vampires : Alette, Rick, Henry, the Boss of San Francisco, Anastasia, Ned, Marid, Antony, and to some degree every good character. Staying sane requires werewolves and vampires to keep some semblance of a normal civilized life.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Based on what little is revealed or hinted at about his Backstory, and what he becomes by the time Kitty takes him out, this fairly accurately describes Carl—from insecure dominant who has to become an alpha, have a harem, and boss everyone around to feel like a real man to a murderous rapist and monster who specializes in Breaking the Cutie.
The Fundamentalist: Although Kitty has encountered these throughout her radio show, and also in the form of Senator Duke, things come to a head in Kitty Steals the Show, first with the Armageddon-spewing caller and then with Tracy Anderson and her organization Truth Against the Godless. Unsurprisingly, of course, a number of things she says are Flame Bait (she accuses Kitty not only of having done something to "earn" her lycanthropy, but states that this something is having an abortion), Insane Troll Logic, or With Us or Against Us commentary, and her group, naturally, carries out plenty of Activist Fundamentalist Antics. What is most disturbing about her, of course, is that people just like her exist in Real Life, and a number of the arguments she makes are rather similar to anti-gay rhetoric.
Fun with Acronyms: After The Masquerade is broken and Kitty (already Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee) is forced to Change on national television, a number of protesters start demonstrating outside the Capitol Building. On the side in favor of the supernaturals, there's the Vampire League Against Discrimination: V.L.A.D. They reappear at the London conference in book ten.
Furry Fandom: In book two, Kitty addresses this topic via a caller who asks about overlap between the fandom and genuine lycanthropes. There's a certain amount of snarking and Take That, whether in her claiming she'd been avoiding the topic to maintain her dignity or in making snide reference to (of course) "people who dress up in animal suits to get it on"; she seems to take the view that genuine lycanthropes would wish to avoid the fandom as much as the "real" Dracula would be ashamed about the book inspired by him. On the other hand, she does quite fairly point out the problems in those within the fandom who, wishing to truly be a furry and become the species they were "meant" to be, might seek out lycanthropy on purpose—i.e., that unlike getting a sex change operation as those who feel they were born the wrong gender do, this would be deliberately infecting oneself with an incurable (albeit in some ways beneficial) disease. (A similar moment had occurred with a caller in the first book who believed he was meant to be a lycanthrope and was one "trapped in a human body".) It also leads to quite the funny moment when her caller confesses to his blissful dream of being a grass-eating alpaca in the Andes.
Genre Savvy: Kitty—aside from her inside knowledge of werewolves and vampires combined with being a fan of the supernatural genre, she specifically shows off her knowledge of Slasher Movie tropes in House of Horrors.
Godwin's Law: Skirted by Kitty at several points, from early on in her show to when she is called before the Senate to testify about the Center for Paranatural Biology, and outright addressed when she interviews Senator Duke at the end of the first book, suggesting that what the government intends for supernaturals could very easily become the same as what the Nazis did to Jews and other undesirables. However, based on Duke being an Expy of McCarthy and the events that happen in book two, it is sad and disturbing (and a sign of human nature) that she may actually be right, if the wrong people's views prevail.
Goggles Do Nothing: Played with. The demon bounty hunter's goggles, not being magical or supernatural, really don't do anything (when Kitty pulls them off she almost thinks the trope name, and is bemused they don't turn to ash in her hand). But they do serve a very important purpose, one they're actually meant for: protection, since their wearer is legitimately Blind Without 'Em thanks to being from a place of utter darkness.
Good Guy Bar/Truce Zone: Ahmed's restaurant the Crescent, where all manner of lycanthropes can mingle and interact without territory, dominance, or conflict arising. It inspires Kitty to create one of her own after she takes over the Denver pack, New Moon. Shaun, its proprietor, even lampshades its nature by referring to it as "Rick's Cafe" (prompting a brief bit of confusion on her part with vampire ally Rick).
Haunted House: Kitty gets to explore a genuine one, Flint House, with the Paradox PI crew in book six. The ghost itself doesn't factor into the story (other than it being in residence keeping uninvited vampires from entering), but plenty of supernatural stuff occurs there thanks to the ifrit, and the backstory for the house is certainly dark and chilling enough to count.
Have You Told Anyone Else?: Lawrence Wilson pulls this on Kitty and Ben when they go looking into the past of the skinwalker to prove Cormac murdering her was justified and make the mistake of visiting him alone. He's prevented from eliminating witnesses (and punishing those who killed his grandchildren), though, by Louise's pendant.
Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: Kitty gets this from various sources, including of course her family—in book four her sister Cheryl actually compares her "symptoms" (lying, secrecy, etc.) to those of a drug addict, to which Kitty sarcastically retorts, "What are you going to do, stage an intervention?" At one point, before The Masquerade is broken, she considers it would be easier to tell her mother she was a lesbian. Ironically, Kitty actually is making a concerted and constant effort not to be a monster—as in, resisting the impulses and retaining her humanity, rather than stopping being a werewolf.
Cormac makes a different sort when he kills the skinwalker and goes to jail for it instead of Kitty. Jerome makes one for Kitty, blocking the silver arrows that were meant for her. Grant takes the stake for Anastasia, but lives.
Father Columban makes one for Rick. Extremely meaningful, since he is in a sense Rick's grandfather.
Enkidu, and Zora bringing down a whole mountain to close the portal and stop any more of Roman's forces from coming through. Kitty takes the spear for Kumarbis and also lives.
Hero Antagonist: Rocks the House introduces us to two. On the one hand Father Columban is unequivocally on the side of good, since he's a devout Catholic, determined to bring down evil (including Roman), and is a member of a special religious order; however, his coming to Denver and offering Rick membership drives a good part of the book's plot, with Kitty becoming increasingly frantic to "save" Rick from being drawn into his circle and leaving her in the lurch relatively alone against the Long Game. He is not at all opposed to Kitty or even her methods, but simply believes she isn't seeing the larger picture and that Rick can do more good for the world in the order rather than only by leading and protecting one city. On the other hand, Darren is an ally of Nasser's and most certainly opposed to Dux Bellorum and it seems clear by the end that he is in fact a good guy...however, having determined in his mind that Kitty isn't strong enough to lead the fight, he undermines her authority so as to take over her pack, and his methods certainly leave a lot to be desired.
Hero of Another Story: It is never revealed just what Grant (and Peter) did off-screen to get into the lair of the vampire priestess who leads the Band of Tiamat—only that it was awesome, and that it resulted in them obtaining and destroying the amulet used to summon the ifrit and bind it to Kitty.
Hero's Journey: Kitty's journey has been very bumpy and not followed every step of the structure, although she has experienced The Call Knows Where You Live, tried refusing it, and has eventually become resigned to it; she's also encountered the usual Mentor Occupational Hazard, her exile would probably count as Crossing the Threshold, and any number of moments could be considered her Belly of the Whale—nearly being sacrificed by the Band of Tiamat, the experience at the Montana cabin, even her televised Change way back in book two. But book twelve contains the most explicit references—not only does Kitty keep herself sane while imprisoned by thinking of famous pieces of literature and mythology to compare her ordeal to (particularly Persephone and Innana), she has embarked on both the Road of Trials and a Night Sea Voyage: she's gone into the underworld in a sense (hence the book title), encountered shapeshifters (including one associated with an Egyptian goddess), and she seeks knowledge/wisdom against the Big Bad. She gets it, too—not just Dux Bellorum's backstory and truemotivation, but the literal gift of knowledge contained in Zora's flash drive, her Book of Shadows.
He Who Fights Monsters: Flemming falls into this in the end. As Kitty herself says, "Science can become its own brand of fanaticism."
Cormac was on the verge of becoming this as well, before he met Kitty, thanks to Good Is Not Nice (or Soft). In "God's Creatures" he explicitly compares himself to the werewolf he is hunting, noting how the people he helps are no more comfortable in his presence than they are with the "monsters", that they are two sidesof the same coin, and that while the monster he's hunting hasn't killed anybody (yet), he has killed many times.
Hijacked by Ganon: With the appearance of Big BadRoman, combined with comments made by Leo and Mercedes, it's a very strong possibility that he's responsible for almost every threat Kitty has so far faced down.
Hitler Ate Sugar: Inverted example—as soon as Kitty finds out in House of Horrors that resident Bitch in Sheep's Clothing Mercedes Cook wanted nothing to do with the reality TV show, she was much more inclined to sign on, assuming anything she avoided couldn't be all bad. By Dramatic Irony, of course, if she'd not fallen into this fallacy Kitty wouldn't have nearly been killed by the Right Wing Militia Fanatics (or been able to save the other supernaturals from them). Whether Mercedes actually knew what was up and did this as a form of Reverse Psychology to put Kitty in danger or it was a case of Even Evil Has Standards and a bad judgment call on Kitty's part isn't known.
Hitman with a Heart: Cormac, the quasi-friendly werewolf hunter. He usually only goes after werewolves or vampires that went out of control, but is introduced when he's trying to take down Kitty. After that, he sticks with just werewolves or vampires that went out of control. Has a lot of mental issues, a lotta firearms, and a good lawyer. That happened to be his cousin. A bit of a Death Seeker.
A House Divided: Has happened to some degree by the end of book 11. While Darren's attempted coup has actually rallied the pack behind Kitty stronger than ever, he (and through him, Nasser) has certainly not inspired much confidence and loyalty in Kitty and her allies. Meanwhile, Cormac and Hardin's actions have made Rick leave town to join the Order of St. Lazarus, thus leaving Kitty in the lurch and forcing her to deal with the arrogant and distrustful Angelo, and nearly causing Rick and Cormac to kill each other. Even Kitty herself is rather unhappy with Cormac.
Humans Are the Real Monsters: Not only does Kitty draw a parallel between Island of Dr. Moreau and some of the non-supernatural enemies she's faced, it seems Dux Bellorum's ultimate goal stems from this trope being true of himself—since as soon as he became a vampire and learned the whole supernatural world was real, he took it upon himself to gather all power to him and take it over...solely so he could destroy it.
I Have Your Fiance: Kitty believes this has happened with Ben in book 5, when Balthasar sends Nick to her with a piece of his shirt. This turns out to be merely a lure, something he took from their hotel room, since he has no idea where Ben is and just wanted to get her back to the Hanging Gardens for the ritual sacrifice.
I Just Want to Be Normal: Kitty expresses this general thought as early as the first book, and says it out loud several times in the sixth and seventh books. She is a successful radio talk show host and a publicly acknowledged werewolf, so naturally everyone laughs at her. Admittedly, it's not the celebrity that bothers her so much as the Fantastic Racism, her own Weirdness Magnet nature and the epic battle of Order Versus Chaos she seems to be stumbling into, but still, if the weirdness really bothered her so much, getting a desk job would help a lot...
In the Past, Everyone Will Be Famous: Discussed in Steals the Show when Kitty meets Ned—Rick is always teasing her for probing him about his past due to her belief that he must have known many famous historical figures, when as he points out, just because he's a long-lived vampire doesn't mean he's any more likely to have known famous people than anyone else. Of course the fact he came to the New World as a soldier of Coronado's and encountered Doc Holliday, while Ned knew Shakespeare and Marlowe somewhat undercuts his point, since even if he (and other vampires) didn't know everyone famous in their times as a matter of course, they still knew some.
Intrepid Reporter: Kitty herself, but also Roger Stockton. To the extent he'll do anything to get his scoop.
Irony: The kind of prisoner who would not go insane and kill themselves after hearing Amelia's ghost and thinking they were Hearing Voices would also be too strong-willed, determined, and independent to let her in. Lampshaded by Amelia herself.
I See Dead People: Well, maybe not quite see, but Tina has Psychic Powers that extend to being a trance medium and doing automatic writing, so she at least communicates with them at times.
Kangaroo Court: In the third book, Cormac is accused of murder. He shot someone to protect his friend Kitty, with half a dozen witnesses. However, the person he shot was a Skinwalker and in this setting the Broken Masquerade is still fresh enough that people barely even believe in vampires and werewolves, let alone esoteric monsters like that. And half the witnesses had already been persecuting his friend Kitty due to Fantastic Racism, so testifying in Cormac's defense would be admitting they were wrong before.
And the guy Kitty dated in college, and the fake vampire master of Las Vegas, although you'd expect it from him. Also probably Senator Duke and Dr. Flemming. We know that they lost a lawsuit, but they kidnapped someone and were party to murder; losing a lawsuit seems like a poor substitute for jail time. Justified in their case, of course.
Kiss of the Vampire: Her first experience with vampire feeding makes Kitty question her sexuality. That good.
Kneel Before Frodo: The pack gives Kitty the werewolf version of this when she becomes alpha.
Kryptonite Factor: The expected silver vulnerability is quite severe. Direct contact will cause rashes and welts within a couple of seconds, while trivial-by-human-standards wounds mean an agonizing death.
Laser-Guided Karma: All the villains who have died thus far have been targets of this in one way or another, but the fates of Meg and Carl are particularly delicious. Evan and Brenda setting up Boris and Sylvia to take the fall for the shootout at the Hanging Gardens is also quite fitting.
Law of Inverse Fertility: Kitty had never even given any thought to motherhood and whether she wanted children. But finding out she'd had a miscarriage and that, due to the Change, no female werewolf can ever carry a baby to term, naturally leads her into a great deal of What If? daydreaming, a lot of research to try and find a solution, and desperate hoping that someday science will have the answer—and even as late as Kitty Steals the Show, she was willing to use the fae's wish to become pregnant, despite knowing The Fair Folk's nature. It didn't help that her mother had also been telling her I Want Grandkids. The resultant Angst is played quite realistically, and is effectively heartbreaking as well.
Leave Your Quest Test: This is a perhaps inadvertent result of Darren's Secret Test of Character on Kitty, when she becomes extremely tempted to flee Denver, the pack, the Long Game, and all the stresses and pressures so as to have a quiet, normal life with Ben, because she still doubts her abilities and strength as an alpha. In the end, though, she passes. A form of this also occurs for Rick, since even though joining the Order of St. Lazarus would still be fighting evil (and Dux Bellorum) he'd be giving up Denver, his Family, and Kitty to do it. He doesn't pass.
Kitty actually received one of these two books earlier as well, when after the confrontation in San Francisco Dux Bellorum offered a truce, claiming he would leave her and her people alone if she agreed not to follow Anastasia's charge and interfere in the Long Game. Although he claims he only offers this because she is an "inconvenience and nuisance", she correctly surmises (bolstered by Xiwangmu's support) that he wouldn't have bothered if he didn't see her as a threat—so she refuses.
Light Is Not Good: Elijah Smith, both in terms of his quasi-religious cult that "saves" supernaturals from themselves (but they can never leave or be free) and his trueform. Also Pure Is Not Good, with his Church of the Pure Faith.
Averted with Rick, however, who turns out to do better (and is on the side of good) precisely because he has a been a lone vampire for so long, outside the influence of the Families, Roman, and the Long Game.
Loony Fan/I'm Your Biggest Fan: In book twelve Kitty briefly considers that one of these might be her kidnapper, before she finds out who the real captors are.
Love Triangle: Between Kitty, Ben, and Cormac, sort of. Though Kitty and Cormac flirt with the notion of getting involved in the very first book, he can't at that point bring himself to overcome his What Measure Is a Non-Human? thinking. By the time he can do so and seriously considers a relationship with her, Kitty and his cousin are already bonding as werewolves, then he gets locked up for killing the skinwalker. During visiting hours, they briefly discuss whether things could have gone differently, and while they conclude that maybe it might have worked for them, they'll never really know and it's too late by then. Kitty and Ben are Happily Married, and after Cormac gets parole, he seems to have accepted this and is just happy to be their friend and an unofficial third member of the pack.
Ben, Kitty, and Luis have the start of one before Kitty nips it in the bud. Partially caused by The Trickster fae girls, but also encouraged by Luis's own The Casanova nature and Ben's jealousy.
Magic Versus Science: A great deal of the scientific community, naturally, either doesn't believe in the supernatural, or wishes to quantify and explain it without any recourse to magic or the unknown. Even Flemming, who undoubtedly believes in its reality, and Dr. Schumacher believe the conditions are diseases which can be cured, studied, and (for Flemming) harnessed, despite the fact that their attempts to explain how and why they work continue to be stymied. Dr. Olafson considers all magic to be based on superstition but is willing to admit Kitty and the other supernaturals are "outside his area of expertise". Kitty, on the other hand, sees no reason the two have to be at odds, that instead each can help explain and illuminate the other. She does, however, acknowledge that to some degree, no matter how people like Flemming (and later Schumacher) try to study and understand vampires and lycanthropes, in the end there will always be something indefinable that makes them supernatural, so that even if the two are not fighting one another, neither can they fold together compatibly.
The Maiden Name Debate: Briefly referenced when Kitty insists she's keeping her own name, because Kitty O'Farrell sounds like "a character in a bawdy Irish ballad".
The Man Behind the Man: Almost every book, but especially books 4 through 6 (complete with an inversion from book 5 revealed in book 6)
To recap Roman's curriculum vitae in specifics—not only is it fairly clear that he was behind Leo's attempt to usurp Alette's place in Washington, but he controlled the Philadelphia Masters who created Arturo and thus was likely a force behind keeping him and Carl in power. Through Mercedes, he incited the vampire war between Rick and Arturo; through the vampire priestess, Balthasar, and Nick he was behind the Band of Tiamat; he set up the con with the ifrit to get Kitty's service or sacrifice; he sent Harold Franklin after Kitty; and he manipulated Flemming, again through Mercedes, into capturing Tyler. The only times he didn't turn out to be this were when he had nothing to do with the events at hand (the skinwalker and the curse that summoned her, the reality TV show monster-hunters, what happened to Gordon's platoon) or when he was directly involved (his search for the Dragon's Pearl). He was also literally this through his use of figurehead Master Dominic to control Las Vegas, although he appears as one of Dominic's bodyguards to add to the ruse.
A less far-reaching (but no less critical, in terms of the series' plot) example occurs in the very first book: Meg goes to Arturo to have Kitty taken out (out of jealousy and fear of her growing independence); he, wishing to maintain The Masquerade, agrees and, using a third party with ties to Right Wing Militia Fanatics, hires Cormac to do the deed (but also calls the cops so he will take the fall). When this is revealed to Cormac and Kitty, it causes the former to change sides and become a firm ally, and causes Kitty herself to stand up to Carl and Meg.
Incredibly, it seems as of book 11 that Dux Bellorum is actually The Dragon to one of these in turn, a so-called "Caesar" magician and ruler of some sort, for whom he is the literal general of his armies. It's not clear yet whether this is true, and said villain is actually the Big Bad of the setting, or if he is the Bigger Bad, or Roman is a Dragon-in-Chief.
Matter Replicator: The Dragon's Pearl is the magical equivalent of this. Dux Bellorum's plan for it is, in a way, to turn it into a Mook Maker, since creating multiple copies of his coins allows him to mark, and bind, more and more followers.
Mauve Shirt: A large majority of the characters in Kitty's House of Horrors are this. Dorian, Jerome Macy, Ariel, Lee, Gemma, and Jeffrey Miles all die after the reader has become attached to them. Although Conrad Garrett tempts fate by mentioning his wife and kids, he survives. (Maybe because he didn't start showing Kitty family photos till afterward in the hospital and through e-mails to keep in touch.)
Henry in book 9. Despite the fact he is sent along just to spy and "help", gets put under Mind Control fairly quickly, and is constantly in danger of dying, he makes it out all right in the end.
Enkidu, Zora, and Kumarbis in book twelve, although Zora does not become truly sympathetic until her badass last stand against the demon (and in retrospect, once it's discovered what is on her flash drive) and Kumarbis, for all his valor and determination to make amends, is still a rather arrogant Knight Templar who did at one time want to Take Over the World.
The Maze: The tunnels underneath San Francisco in book 9. They don't appear to be a Mobile Maze, but thanks to their magic it is pretty much impossible to navigate them without Grace's lantern. There are also a number of traps (some, possibly all, set up and watched over by the Monkey King), and any trappings of the modern world (guns, cell phones) don't work or are suppressed there.
Meaningful Name: Kitty, the werewolf. Lampshaded to the point of being a Running Gag. (Also, Roman.) New Moon, the lycanthrope-friendly restaurant owned and run by Kitty's Number Two, Shaun.
Odysseus Grant is probably a subversion of this trope. He deals with things that aren't from around here, but he himself is apparently a normal human. A powerful and mysterious human, but still, from around here. As far as we know he's never made any odysseys of his own, or if he did, he's already come back safely.
Anastasia ("she will rise again") as the name for a vampire.
The pseudonym adopted by Flemming's mysterious foreign backer is "G. White." "G" for Gaius, and White in Latin is "albus".
Meaningful Rename: Kumarbis renames the members of his cult (and possibly himself too, though his would be an aspect of being The Atoner) to reflect the names of the deities/mystical beings they are supposed to be channeling or becoming avatars of; much significance is made of whether Kitty will accepther new name/identity as Regina Luporum, whether Sakhmet and the others should tell her their former "mortal" names, and accidental (or not-so-accidental) slips when she is called Kitty. In the end this leads to both a very emotional Say My Namewhen Sakhmet finally calls Enkidu by his original name as he dies in her arms and Sakhmet eventually confessing her original name—partly because the ritual is ruined and can never be performed again but also because Kitty has helped remind her of who she used to be and inspired her to embrace her old self once more.
After their introduction, The Men in Black get played for laughs. Once Kitty has seen behind the mask, she's willing to use them to intimidate people who haven't. At first they are ignorant of the effect they have on people until Kitty points it out to them.
Mind Control: While all vampires have the ability to hypnotize and influence the will with their gaze, the Big Bad of book 6 is able to do this, as well as induce the Change, through arcane, Vancian magic.
This is shown more explicitly with what he does to Henry in book 9.
Misfit Mobilization Moment: Tends to happen whenever Kitty rallies her allies together for a battle or rescue. Examples: her gathering the pack to stand against Carl and Meg (and Arturo) in book 4; bringing the Paradox PI crew and Hardin together to capture the ifrit (after doing a technological version of this by appealing to all her show's listeners for information on how to do so!); rallying the pack again (as well as Ben, Cormac, and Tyler) to take on Harold Franklin; and gathering everybody together to rescue Tyler in book ten.
The Mole: Darren turns out to be this for Nasser, acting to determine whether Kitty is strong enough to face Roman and then, after deciding in his mind that she isn't, undermining her authority so as to set off a coup and replace her as alpha. Despite this, he remains a good guy and may possibly still be an ally in the future, considering how she managed to impress (and scare) him.
Monster Mash: Vampires and werewolves tend to work together, albeit not in a friendly manner. Book 4 includes a war between two separate groups, each of which have both creatures of the night. Kitty makes more vampire allies than enemies, though.
The best example of a Monster Mash in this series is book 7, Kitty's House of Horrors, which begins with reality TV show producers assembling all the supernatural celebrities they can: Kitty the werewolf talk radio host, a werewolf pro wrestler, a were-seal Alaska state legislator, a TV medium and stage magician who are both the real thing, a vampire beauty pageant winner, and someone from a supernatural investigation TV show who has psychic powers herself.
Monster Protection Racket: Classic example in Roman, the Band of Tiamat, and the ifrit. First discussed by Rick, then lampshaded by Kitty when she realized Rick was right and Roman's story was a little too convenient.
Mundane Utility: Given the existence of werewolves, it's not surprising that one of them would be a pro wrestler; it's surprising that only one would be. What a huge advantage. And it hasn't come up during the narrative yet, but presumably Ben's enhanced senses come in handy in the courtroom.
They certainly do come in handy at a poker table.
Mundanger: Subverted. After all the plotting and scheming involving Roman, Mercedes, the vampire Masters of Europe, and their werewolf clans, it seems that the kidnapping of Sergeant Tyler is completely perpetrated by human agents only, Dr. Flemming and his military assistants, whom Kitty had completely discounted due to all the supernatural threats she knew about and her determined belief that after being exposed and discredited as he was, he would never show up at the conference. But then it turns out they were all being manipulated and used by Mercedes and Roman, as part of his attempt to gain new recruits for his final gambit in the Long Game.
Played straight in Dead Man's Hand, however, where Ben's disappearance has nothing to do with either the bounty hunters or the Band of Tiamat, but his werewolf-enhanced gambling.
Kumarbis considers turning Roman to be this, since not only did he end up doing it against his will, but Roman betrayed him, delved into powers and beings he would not dare to consort with, and eventually warped his design into one to dominate and destroy the supernatural world; as a result he is now determined to do anything if it will allow him to kill Roman and make up for his sins. If Kitty's surmise is correct as to just where Kumarbis's feelings and instincts about Roman being meant for greatness came from, he is more right than he knows in considering this such a terrible act.
Mysterious Informant: Dr. Flemming starts out as this before he gets exposed by an interview made in preparation for the Senate hearings on the Center for the Study of Paranatural Biology. Kitty even calls him "Deep Throat" at one point, which somehow he doesn't get.
Myth Arc: Beginning with book four, every story has tied in somehow to an ongoing conflict that apparently is an extension of vampire politics, called the Long Game. As publicly-acknowledged supernatural person, a diplomatic-minded werewolf, and for that matter as a leader for werewolves at all, Kitty is a wildcard in that.
Necromancer: Odysseus Grant proves to be one of these in book 7, and while it comes across as more of an I See Dead People moment, the arcane sigils and ceremonial magic suggests he may be capable of more than that. Which, since he is firmly against the forces of chaos and darkness, makes him the rare good (or at least neutral) example of this trope. Amelia Parker is one as well.
Nepotism: Various members of the D.C. police force are, it seems, in Alette's pocket, making her the true power in the city. However it turns out that they, like her human servants, are all actual relatives, descendants of either her original servants or of her blood children.
Never Split the Party: Kitty learns this the hard way in book 9 when, in an attempt to keep Grace safe, she sends her away from where they're fighting Roman's werewolf cohorts...which causes them all to become horribly lost, since the lantern Grace carries is the key to getting them out of the tunnels.
A major example of this occurs in Rocks the House: Because Father Columban does not bother to tell Kitty what sort of dark forces are pursuing him, and neither she nor Rick will inform the police of the Long Game and his role in fighting it, Hardin acts on the information from Interpol that seems to tell her the priest is a murderer and arsonist, hiring Cormac to break his protective spell so she can arrest him; his recklessness and loathing for vampires, and Amelia's curiosity about the magic involved, lead him to agree. The end result? The spell is broken all right, a demon is unleashed, and by the time the dust has settled and she has been banished, Father Columban has died to save Rick, Rick has nearly killed Cormac for it, Kitty nearly died, and Rick has left town to join the Order of St. Lazarus, leaving Kitty with only Angelo to work with and spearheading the fight against the Long Game on her own. Cormac is of course completely unrepentant about this; the only good to come out of the whole mess is that Kitty now knows there's a Bigger Bad behind Roman and Hardin is now fully in the loop and willing to help bring down the Long Game.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: If Roman, through Mercedes, hadn't incited a vampire war against her friend Rick, and drawn the werewolves into it, Kitty never would have become pack alpha, and if he hadn't tried to get revenge on her for foiling the Band of Tiamat's sacrifice, he never would have turned her into the Regina Luporum and Arch-Enemy who, it strongly looks like, will be instrumental in bringing him down. By setting up the abduction of Tyler, he's also turned him against him, and by breaking neutrality to get rid of Ned and divide the European Families, he's instead united them against him and drawn the attention of the whole world.
Ninja Zombie Pirate Robot: Ben, the werewolf lawyer ex-part-time-bounty hunter. Cormac, the ex-bounty hunter possessed by the ghost of a witch. Tyler, the werewolf Green Beret.
The final showdown in book 9 takes this to quite the high level: two werewolves, an 800 year old vampire, a bounty hunter possessed by the ghost of a wizard, and a modern-day magician/videostore owner take on a 2,000 year old vampire, his mind-controlled slave Henry, and the Chinese god of chaos, Hundun with the assistance of the Monkey King and the Queen Mother of the West.
Father Columban, the vampire Catholic priest magician.
Noodle Incident: A number of stories from Ben and Cormac's past seem to count as this, but in particular the tale of how Brenda and Ben ended up hunting Cormac (complete with Ben falling and injuring his knee) is never explained.
No Periods, Period: Kitty's menstrual cycle is never mentioned once in the series...until it becomes relevant in book four, when she miscarries, then discovers female lycanthropes can never carry children to term.
Nothing Is Scarier: Much of what makes Roman such a threat, and so frightening, is that no one, not Kitty and not even the other vampires, know what it is he will do to Take Over the World, other than as an amorphous The End of the World as We Know It. Which is why Kitty's revelation is so effective: Roman only has power, and can strike fear in others, as long as he and his plans remain secret and unknown.
Tyler's story of the ghul in Afghanistan partakes of this too.
As does the silent leavings of blood, barbed-wire crosses, and slaughtered animals to cast the curse in book three—Kitty never hears or sees anything, just the evidence left behind—and the sightings of the skinwalker's glowing red eyes. When it is finally seen, it remains nightmarish and disturbing, however.
Nothing Is the Same Anymore: As of the end of Rocks the House, Kitty has become fully in charge of her pack again after a brush with dissension and loss of authority as alpha, a wake-up call regarding her neglect but that has earned her full loyalty again. However, even with the addition of Hardin to the ranks of those who know about the full extent of the Long Game, she has lost Rick as an ally, now has to rely on the far less dependable Angelo, is not sure she can trust all her allies thanks to Darren and Nasser, knows of the existence of fallen angels, and has discovered that Dux Bellorum is merely the general for some faceless unknownevil ruler, one who considers her, Rick, and all werecreatures and vampires to be "traitors" to him and his cause. To say where the series goes from here is going to be a departure from what we've seen so far is an understatement.
Nothing Left to Do but Die: Fritz in Kitty Goes to Washington partakes of this trope—living alone and lonely, forgotten by everyone, believed by many to be a Nazi war criminal, but continuing to live on, haunted by the memories of what he saw and did and was made to do...until he finally confesses his story on Kitty's show. Then, having shared a story that "needed to be shared", his heart gives out and he dies...still alone.
Our Vampires Are Different: Break out in hives and die from exposure to sunlight, crosses, and holy water. Wooden stake through the chest kills. Need blood to regenerate injuries, can hypnotize anyone that looks directly into their eyes. If you're drained dry, you come back as a vampire later. Much faster than humans, and can teleport through shadows if the way Mercedes and Ned appear and disappear out of nowhere, and how Ned finds Jan hiding in them, is any indication. They can show up in mirrors and photos, or decide not to. And much older, more powerful vampires can apparently make lesser onessweat blood.
It's uncertain, but it may be the case that they just they use their speed and/or mesmerism to make it look like they vanish. It's frequently stated that most vampires are melodramatic. In a few scenes, like Arturo in the hospital in Kitty and the Silver Bullet, Kitty expects a vampire to vanish but he actually just walks away.
Our Werebeasts Are Different: Many different varieties of werebeasts have been seen so far. In addition to werewolves, there are also werelions, weretigers, were-jaguars, were-African wild dogs, and were-seals. Kitty says that as far as she knows, no were-varieties exist of herbivorous species, only predators. Werebeasts are infected through bites. They change into human sized animalsnote whether they are unusually large or unusually small depends on the animal in question, observing conservation of mass. They can change when they want, must force themselves not to change when under enough stress, have to change once a month at the full moon, and don't always remember what they did as an animal. They have a Healing Factor and are pretty much immune to any sort of normal illness. Silver is nasty for 'em, though, and they can die when decapitated, their hearts are destroyed, or their bodies suffer extreme major trauma (like explosions or evisceration). Female werebeasts can't carry children to term due to the shapeshifting.
The old traditional "female werewolves are always subservient to men because they are stronger and bigger" trope has been subverted. Heck, Kitty becomes pack leader in book 4, and nobody once tells her that because she's a girl she can't do it. Nobody expects her mate to run the whole show, either.
In the sixth book there is some resistance to the idea, and Kitty's husband does have to push someone around, but the would-be challenger gets conveniently killed soon by the Big Bad. Overall, though, it's clear since the second book that lycanthrope social dynamics vary greatly.
Parttime Hero: Kitty herself is a borderline version; while she does hero work and it interferes with her real life, her job is pretty willing to put up with it. Ben is a better example, lawyer by day, werewolf and vampire hunter when necessary. And werewolf, too. He doesn't get enough sleep.
As of book 7, despite her protests of I Just Want to Be Normal and Refusal of the Call, Kitty may have to become a fulltime hero and even a leader, just to protect the world, both her allies and innocent humans, from the forces of darkness and chaos. As of book 9, she has actually been given the call directly, and seems to be ready to accept it. See Passing the Torch.
Post-Modern Magik: Vampires are blurry on film, unless they decide to not be. Police officers end up carrying spray bottles of holy water and pistol crossbows that fire wooden quarrels. Silver paint isn't just a chrome-like color scheme. Faerie wards work just fine if the herbs come in pill form. Vampires can enter commercial property without asking (but not a haunted house, since the ghost still lives there and has to invite them). There's a DNA test for lycanthropy and vampirism. A police officer wonders whether sunglasses protect against mental domination, and suggests that a vampire's life sentence be one day.
At one point, Kitty sees Rick, a nearly five-hundred-year-old vampire, with a laptop and is surprised; she jokes that she thought vampires were allergic to modern technology. She asks him what he's doing, and he says he's correcting the Wikipedia entries of historical figures he has known. When she's told that was just a joke, Kitty replies that he should.
Thanks to werewolf superimmunity, nothing foreign will remain in their bodies. After being turned, the werewolf soldiers of Captain Gordon's squad wake up to find their tattoos have become ink staining their sheets, and the microchips the military try to use to track them get ejected. Kitty then notesthis means she couldn't get breast implants.
Mystical runes work just fine when they're used in corporate logos.
Books of Shadows (which Amelia describe as "a magician's soul") can be written and viewed on computer, downloaded to a flash drive, and uploaded to the Internet.
P.O.V. Cam: Used to some degree whenever Kitty shifts into Wolf form.
The author specifically stated that the character would get out...in the amount of time specified in his plea bargain.
As of Kitty's House of Horrors, he's out on parole for good behavior, although Word of God has stated something pretty bad happened to him whilst in prison...
Hellhole Prison: The Colorado Correctional Facility isn't this normally, but it definitely becomes so (literally) in "Long Time Waiting" after numerous murders, a demonic haunting, and riots.
Properly Paranoid: As Kitty learns more and more about the supernatural world, and especially the Long Game, she becomes more and more convinced that everyone is out to get her, or at least that various groups are allied and plotting together, particularly for Roman. What is distressing is how often she's proven right.
Subverted with Colette, who points out to Kitty that sometimes a stripper just happens to be a vampire, a radio host happens to be a werewolf, and a Master Vampire happens to be a guy who didn't want to be put in charge but is making the best of it.
Pyrrhic Victory (lampshaded): Of all the men in Gordon's platoon, every one but Tyler ends up dead, whether having killed each other or been brought down with silver bullets by Tyler himself. He does get rehabilitated and in a pack of his own, but still...
Despite all getting out alive, getting the Dragon's Pearl away from Roman, and Anastasia finally getting to have some peace as a handmaiden of Xiwangmu, Cormac has to wonder at the end of book 9 if they won. Considering what lies ahead of Kitty and her allies if she accepts Anastasia's charge, he may be right to worry.
Race Against the Clock: Happens fairly often. Kitty had to track down the Serial Killer before he killed again and rescue Alette before the sun rose; Grant and the bounty hunters had to make it to the temple before Kitty was sacrificed by the Band of Tiamat; the ifrit had to be stopped before it burned any more people to death; she and the other supernaturals had to save Gemma from the cage before the sun rose (this time they failed, at the last moment); Franklin's spell had to be broken before the snowstorm plunged Denver into Katrina-level chaos; the Dragon's Pearl had to be found before Roman got hold of it; and Tyler had to be rescued before he could be smuggled out of London's port.
In addition, it's implied or threatened several other times. Kitty fears rape from both Leo and Balthasar in their respective books. After she is forced to change on TV, she compares the experience - getting kidnapped, watching an acquaintance get killed, thrown in a cell with walls painted silver, and watched as she transforms - to being raped. (To drive the point home, when she makes this comparison Ben, who at the time isn't aware of the Date Rape in her backstory, actually asks her how she would know.) And like in many settings, vampiric feeding and being converted to a vampire has sexual connotations, so this basically happens to Alette's descendant and maid, Emma.
Red Herring: A lot, but most notably Arturo, the Master Vampire of Denver, despite a genuinely moving scene trying to save one of his people from Elijah Smith, is made out to be the Big Bad in book 4. In actuality, he's just a patsy, victim of someone else's plan.
A secondary example: a significant portion of Dead Man's Hand is spent building up Evan and Brenda as Ax-Crazy bounty hunters who believe the best prey is werewolves. But, while they certainly fall into Anti-Hero camp and are hardly the most trustworthy people, in the end it turns out that they're not really after Kitty at all, it's Sylvia and Boris who are the bounty hunters she should fear. And Evan and Brenda even help rescue Kitty from the Band of Tiamat, and see to it that Boris and Sylvia go to jail.
All those people looking to me for answers, me standing tall and declaring that I actually had them. I was tired of it, and the thought of being just Kitty, lowly werewolf making do, made me feel light-headed. Giddy. What would it be like, to explore...options, without feeling like I was dragging some poor kid into a war? Could I really walk away from the life I'd built? We had so much to lose. Would it be worth it? Would I ever know?
Religion of Evil: the Band of Tiamat, which gets extra points for (possibly) being based on a real, Babylonian Cult if mythology is to be believed
Right Wing Militia Fanatic: In Kitty's House of Horrors, the bad guys are just as willing to hunt mediums, gothy women with tattoos and maybe a little knowledge of folk magic, and atheists as they are willing to hunt vampires and werewolves. The atheist in the story points this out.
This is also part of the Dark and Troubled Past in Ben and Cormac's Backstory—Ben's father was one of these and created a whole insane fringe group designed to overthrow the government and protect their land until he was caught by the FBI and convicted; after his own father was wounded by a werewolf and had to be killed, Cormac stayed with Ben's family and became part of the group to have somewhere to belong until, as he put it, he realized they were just "playing games, not living in the real world" and left home. Unfortunately this bit of history helps stack the deck against him when facing the Kangaroo Court.
Running Gag: People continually pointing out Kitty's Ironic Name. In book ten, there's also Kitty's not having written her keynote address, and being asked about it by everyone she knows.
Secret Test of Character: Darren's appearance in Rocks the House and attempt to join the Denver pack is a form of this; once Kitty fails to pass in his estimation it turns into an outright The Mole situation where he works to bring her down from within and take over.
Selkies and Wereseals: Kitty meets a wereseal in Kitty's House of Horrors. And a selkie appears in "The Temptation of Robin Green".
Senseless Sacrifice: To some degree the climax of book twelve comes off as this: after the ritual is ruined by the demon bounty hunter, Kumarbis is simultaneously enraged and despairing at his Life's Work Ruined, thus throwing himself at her and getting speared for his efforts; Zora stays behind to close the portal and bring down the mountain, which arguably kept any further minions of Roman's from coming through but most likely didn't take out the bounty hunter at all; and in the process of fighting the bounty hunter off, Enkidu got slashed by one of her silver weapons. The only good to come out of it all is the information Kitty learns about Dux Bellorum, acquiring Sakhmet as a possible future ally, and obtaining Zora's Book of Shadows.
Serial Killer: A different kind than usual, in James. The more typical (i.e., human) kind is hunted down by David and Kitty in "Il Est Né".
Shaggy Dog Story: "The Temptation of Robin Green" is this—the eponymous character throws away her life and her career, breaks numerous laws, leaves her family and friends behind, even flees to another country, all to be with the selkie...only for it to get its skin back and leave her alone and pregnant. Even if Rick continued to help her after the abandonment, it isn't clear how she'll ever recover her life or whether she's learned anything, other than not to trust fae creatures.
Shapeshifter Baggage: Averted; werewolves obey conservation of mass. Since a wild wolf weighs about 80 pounds or so, this means that adult male werewolves can be more than twice the size of natural wolves, while a hypothetical werebear would probably be comically tiny.
Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Numerous quotes by the Bard are made by Ned, naturally enough, as well as other literary allusions to Marlowe and other playwrights of their day. Thanks to having known Shakespeare, Ned is also able to put to rest the AuthorshipQuestion—at least to Kitty; he won't tell the world and end all the academic debates because that would "ruinall the fun".
Shown Their Work: Aside from her clear research into the supernatural, the occult, and mythology, Carrie Vaughn also has a great deal of knowledge of history, literature, and culture. While this appears in various ways within the main series, and only has deepened as it has gone on, the stories "A Princess of Spain", "Conquistador de la Noche", and "The Book of Daniel" from Kitty's Greatest Hits particularly exemplify this.
Silver Has Mystic Powers: Aside from the usual "silver hurts werewolves" motif, the cult in book twelve imprisons Kitty in an abandoned silver mine not only to keep her from escaping but because Zora believes the silver will help her spell shields protect them from Roman and his servants. Too bad he doesn't just have lycanthropes working for him, but also a demonic Fallen Angel bounty hunter...
Father Columban, former superior and vampiric sire to Fray Juan, is made out to be one of these too during his introduction, both by his appearance (he's described several times as being "something out of a Gothic novel") and comparing his arrival at New Moon and demand to be invited in with Roman's first appearance in Raises Hell, but it's actually a subversion as he's instead a Badass Preacher and member of the Order of St. Lazarus, opposed to creatures like Juan and Dux Bellorum, although he is a bit of a Knight Templar.
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: This has been a major theme of the series all along, with Kitty daring to believe lycanthropes can live peaceful, halfway-normal lives and be productive members of society, while everyone from Cormac and Ben, to Detective Hardin, to Ahmed and Alette, and even Rick tell her with varying degrees of certainty and sympathy that she is far too optimistic. Nowhere is this philosophy better articulated though than in this bit from Goes to War:
I couldn't save everyone; I'd had that demonstrated to me all too clearly. But if you didn't try, you might end up not saving anyone. I had to try.
Ben: Sometimes you can't fix everything. You can argue your best case in front of the most sympathetic judge and jury in the world—and sometimes you still won't win.
Spanner in the Works: The gambits of the various villains/antagonists, especially Roman, are almost always foiled due to one of these. When it isn't Kitty herself, it tends to be a character from one of the B plots who happens to be of great use when the Two Lines, No Waiting intersect during the climax. Examples: Roger Stockton and Jeffrey Miles helping to bring down Elijah Smith; Magical Native American Tony, brought in to help with the curse in book three, provides advice and assistance against the skinwalker; the bounty hunters and Odysseus Grant, who save the day against the Band of Tiamat; Grant again (and Peter) helping to bring down the Band again, while the Paradox PI crew help capture the ifrit; Sergeant Tyler and possessed Cormac stopping Harold Franklin; and the timely assistance of Nick Parker and the Fae in Tyler's rescue. This last is especially notable since if not for Amelia's ghost on the one hand and the random prank by the Fae girls on the other, neither of them would have been available to help.
Stages of Monster Grief: Appears at various points throughout the series, with different characters at different stages. Most have reached the Acceptance stage, with people like Kitty, T.J., Alette, Anastasia, Rick, Luis, and so on being Friendly Neighborhood Vampires (or werebeasts), while those like Carl, Meg, Mercedes, and Roman are clearly Fully Embraced Fiends (the latter two being Trans Human Treachery as well). Examples from both sides also exist among Kitty's callers. The two best examples of characters running the whole gamut of stages would be Emma, who (although most of this happens off-screen between books two and ten, other than "Life is the Teacher") goes from contemplating Suicide By Sunlight to a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire and in many ways a Sheep in Wolf's Clothing, and James, who goes through an accelerated version thanks to his mental instability; it's a sad process to watch. Ben goes through this too, of course, though after his initial depression and contemplation of suicide he gets over it and accepts his new life with admirable swiftness.
Sympathetic Magic: How the vampire priestess binds the ifrit to send it after Kitty, through a strand of her hair.
Take That: In book 7, Kitty's House of Horrors, Kitty takes a phone call from an arrogant, self-absorbed bounty hunter in Kansas City who's almost certainly supposed to be Anita Blake. Enough sympathy is shown toward her, however, that this may be merely an Homage or Shout-Out.
In the very first book, based on her manner of dress, overall appearance, attitude, and the types of books she writes, author Veronica Sevilla reads as a knockoff of Anne Rice (pre-born again Christianity).
Talking Down the Suicidal: Thankfully Kitty has not yet had to do this for one of her callers, on-air or otherwise, but she did have to for Sergeant Tyler thanks to fears of What Will I Become?. And it's one of the more riveting and powerful scenes in the series.
Tarot Motifs: Occasionally Grant's usage of modern playing cards makes reference to this. When speaking to Kitty after Ben has been kidnapped, he briefly shows her the three of spades (swords) meaning betrayal, referencing what she's soon to learn about Balthasar's show, and the ace of hearts (cups), standing for love and her impending marriage. He later displays the ace of spades, symbolizing death, to Nick—warning of the shootout which will cost Balthasar and four others their lives but could also be foreshadowing Nick's own fate in book six.
Ten Little Murder Victims: Something like this plays out in Kitty's House of Horrors. It's all a subversion. The panicky, incompetent, suspiciously underinformed person isn't the mole, but survives anyway. The competent but high-strung person who constantly accuses someone else of being the mole isn't the mole, and also survives. The helpful, amiable person with lots of useful abilities isn't the mole either. No one is. However, almost everyone besides those three and the narrator dies. Everyone in the house was an intended victim.
There Are No Therapists: Played with in "Long Time Waiting". Cormac has Dr. Olson while he's in prison, but the fellow is clinical, condescending, and seems to believe Cormac is a violent nutcase whose problems all stem from losing his parents at a young age. (He may be on to something, since being Forced to Watch as your father is bloodily savaged by a werewolf cannot be good for the psyche, and Cormac certainly has mental issues, but it's more complicated than that and can't be reduced to such obvious answers.) But then after the killings and riots make it clear there is some sort of ghostly or demonic presence, he actually stops being a skeptic, comes to Cormac for help, believes his explanation after the fact when the possession is over, and even puts in a good word for him to the parole board.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: Kitty has always made this her unspoken (and sometimes spoken) rule, killing only in self-defense, when her back was to the wall, to protect those she loves, and when she has no choice. However, as of book 7 she has now killed three people, and almost killed or endangered the life of many others either directly or through her allies. And if she accepts Anastasia's charge, she may have to do so on a more offensive and proactive basis. As far as Roman is concerned, she seems to have no compunctions.
Marid: I told Ned you would [do it]. He said you'd be too worried about protecting your loved ones. He was sure you'd play it safe in the end, rather than expose us all. I told him you're a crusader. I was right.
An even stronger example at the end of book twelve: having frightened and angered Roman via Kumarbis's ritual, forcing him to flee a place he had thought safe and protected, Kitty proceeds to have Zora's Book of Shadows containing everything she knew about him and the Long Game, and all the magic in her possession which could conceivably be used against him, loaded onto the Internet—not only exposing him even more, and letting him know just how much his enemies know about him now, but hopefully giving said enemies the abilities and the will to defeat him.
This is also what happened to Farida and the Band of Tiamat once Grant released their uncontrolled ifrit so he could get revenge on them. End result, Taking You with Me and a Fate Worse Than Death (though a bit more complicated than that).
Turn Coat: Roger Stockton, Leo, and Dack. (Yes, it happens a lot.)
Of a different nature, Ozzie, who refuses to believe Kitty's expose of the Long Game and only seems to care about the show and its sponsors.
Through persuasion, show of strength, and (sadly) sex, Darren manages to turn Becky into one of these for a while. Luckily she gets shown the error of her ways, so the Face-Heel Turn doesn't stick.
Two Lines, No Waiting: Just about every book in the series has a number of subplots and side issues which come up and are eventually dealt with (unless they relate to the ongoing Myth Arc, and even then some elements or aspects of the plot get resolved in one book even as the arc continues). Some of these, such as the faith healer, allow for character-building moments or thematic ones for the series (in that case, the continuing thread of Kitty becoming the Part Time Hero she does in order to help other supernaturals and retain her humanity), although even in that case it acts as a Chekhov's Gun for book ten. More cleverly, many of these subplots which seem to be distractions from the main plot end up being useful in resolving it, whether by providing extra allies and powers, providing answers or distractions, or even acting as a Spanner in the Works. See that entry for more details, but also of note:
Ben's lycanthropy takes over book three from the curse plot, but said curse is what draws the skinwalker, whose brother was the one to infect Ben in the first place.
It's thanks to Kitty's mom being diagnosed with cancer that she comes back to Denver and thus falls right into the vampire war between Rick and Arturo, but her mom comes back into the story when Arturo uses her to get Kitty to meet him.
The whole reason Kitty ends up falling into Balthasar's clutches and almost ends up sacrificed to the Band of Tiamat is because she goes to them for help after Ben gets kidnapped for his werewolf-enhanced gambling.
The Unmasqued World: the initial background has a Masquerade, albeit one run poorly enough that the existence of werewolves and vampires is an open secret kept only because too few people care. There are actually government groups writing unclassified papers on the subject, although most normal people think the matter is a joke. Between the Midnight Hour radio show and said government groups making a fuss when their funding went under review, though, and the concept becomes so commonplace that the first live television werewolf transformation gains little more than an FCC fine for flashing the audience.
Unwitting Pawn: Dr. Flemming. He realized his pawn status in regards to Senator Duke and Leo, but not Roman...a fatal mistake on his part. Arturo was also one, to Mercedes and Roman, and once he realized the truth he committed (Anti)-Heroic Sacrifice to keep power out of their hands and ensure Rick would be there to defeat the Long Game.
The Vamp: Literal example in Colette, the vampire stripper.
Van Helsing Hate Crimes: A senator was willing to commit kidnapping and false imprisonment to get footage of the Savage Monster that Kitty Norville truly is... too bad she only cowered in a corner once she changed.
Also, most of the plot of Kitty's House of Horrors. The whole reality show was a setup to get some supernatural people trapped and videotape their murders to show the world that they could and should be killed. It was basically an inversion of a horror movie where the so-called monsters are being hunted and have to work together to survive, lampshaded several times in the story.
Vampires Are Rich: Played straight and averted. Vampires in this series range from those that own skyscrapers outright to those that work graveyard shift at a convenience store to pay rent on windowless apartments.
Villain Takes an Interest: After she escapes the Band of Tiamat, but before he begins plotting to bring her down for consistently being a Spanner in the Works forming La Résistance against him, Roman sets up the ifrit con in order to get Kitty to agree to his terms and ally with him. It is strongly implied he does this, not only because he sees her as a threat, but because she has proven strong-willed, resilient, intelligent, and resourceful. I.e., that she is dangerous to him, and so he would rather have her working for him than against him.
Viva Las Vegas: Dead Man's Hand takes place there (with a short return in Raises Hell.)
Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere: Naturally this is how humans appear to vampires and lycanthropes. The good ones however, even Kitty in her Extreme Doormat phase, resist this impulse and continue to view them as humans with rights and value, or at least don't wish to descend to that uncontrolled, predatory level and thus lose their dignity or their own humanity. As Luis puts it, "I know that I could rip out their guts, and I choose not to." And Emma, in "Life is the Teacher", even comes to realize that far from being mere sources of blood with which to maintain power and immortality, the living are the ones with the true power—the hosts without which the parasites would not survive—and therefore to be honored, envied, even on some level held sacred, the light they cannot get from the sun.
We Are Struggling Together: Some of this appears in Kitty and Rick's alliance post-vampire war, before she admits he's a good guy who's only trying to help and he realizes he needs to stop treating werewolves like his obedient servants and instead share information and work together like equal partners. This sort of arrangement is actually the norm for vampires and werewolves, where they aren't in a Monster Mash, Fur Against Fang, or outright self-inflicted What Measure Is a Non-Human?/Fantastic Racism mindset.
The ultimate result of this is played out in Rocks the House: because Rick (and Father Columban) won't fully trust or disclose to Kitty and she won't spill the beans to Hardin, the police detective and Cormac end up working at cross-purposes with her, eventually leading to Father Columban's death, Rick leaving town, and her being stuck depending on Angelo as the new Master of Denver. Meanwhile, her lack of being there for her pack due to rallying La Résistance almost causes her to lose Becky and to some extent Trey, helped along by Darren's subversive nature.
Because of this fact, in addition to their feelings for her, Ben and Cormac insist on staying near her—they know whether she plans it or not, whether it even seems possible or not, danger will be drawn to her and she'll need their help.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Textbook case in Dr. Flemming. While a good part of his motivation is For(Fantastic)Science!, to the point that he seems not to care what happens to those he studies or uses, and there's a certain amount of What Measure Is a Non-Human? in how he regards lycanthropes and vampires, his avowed purpose, at least at the start, is to study these conditions—not merely to gain special abilities for humankind, but to cure the diseases and, hopefully, learn how the Healing Factor of lycanthropes and the immortality of vampires can have medical applications to curing other diseases (cancer and AIDS come to mind—see Kitty's mother and T.J.) and generally improving quality of life. He's willing to, as he puts it, "tell people what they want to hear" to earn their funding and assistance in his research, and as a result uses methods which range from merely questionable and distasteful to downright contemptible and monstrous. In the end, though, he realizes he is merely a pawn for others, that what he has done has undermined his credibility and gone astray from his intentions, and thus he kills Leo to save Kitty and Alette. Even though he has Jumped Off the Slippery Slope by the time we see him again in Kitty Steals the Show so as to be working outright with shadow military groups to create Super Soldiers, it's enough to garner some Sympathy for the Devil when Mercedes kills him for his failure.
This is true of the entire fanatical group that kidnaps Kitty in book twelve, since they are all willing to give their lives to achieve their goals, but especially their leader Kumarbis and the magician Zora. Both are convinced that anything is justified in the name of completing their ritual and destroying Dux Bellorum, both believe Kitty must be kept in the dark about her role for her to become a proper avatar, and both are too tunnel-visioned and convinced of their own rightnessand destiny to see the warning signs Kitty points out to them until it is too late. Yet it cannot be denied they are on the side of good and attempting to save the world—and in Kumarbis's case his feelings are justified by the fact he is Roman's progenitor, so with everything Roman has done through the centuries being his fault, he believes he must go to any extreme to make up for his terrible mistake in turning him. And as Kitty says, if his ritual actually works "he wasn't misguided at all".
We Need a Distraction: A very effective villainous version of this happens in book ten: Flemming (at the instigation of Mercedes and Roman) kidnaps Sergeant Tyler. To keep Kitty from finding out and preventing it, he plants a shill among the protesters at the conference who first incites a riot between the supernaturals and the religious nuts, then actually throws a bucket of blood on Esperanza, nearly setting off her Change right in a crowded public space.
Ozzie also mentions this just before Kitty goes on the reality TV show. When she claims that she could "make an idiot of myself, ruin my reputation, lose my audience, my ratings, my show, and never make a living in this business again", he replies that no, the worst is she could die on film in a freak accident "and how likely is that?" He really must regret those words later...
With the number of times Kumarbis and Zora keep insisting nothing can go wrong, that they are well protected, the ritual will not leave them open to danger, and Dux Bellorum will be slain, the reader knows long before they do that things will go pear-shaped.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: A pretty common theme. Senator Duke treats werewolves and vampires as something less than human, and a lot of the less admirable vampires treat humans and werewolves like bugs.
Dr. Flemming treats his supernatural patients this way for the most part, despite protests to the contrary and moments of sympathy and caring. In book two Kitty has to remind him several times that Fritz "Has a Name".
Both she and Rick (though Kitty with less vehemence) also do this to Cormac for his actions near the end of Rocks the House.
When You Coming Home Alpha?: To some extent this mindset is beginning to set into the Denver pack, particularly for Becky and Trey, because Kitty is too busy with her crusade against Dux Bellorum and being a celebrity to be there for them when they really need it. To mirror this, Cheryl makes it clear to Kitty that she has felt neglected and abandoned too when it comes to taking care of their mother should her cancer come back; some of this is inspired by her sister's feeling pressured and directionless in her own life, but there's enough truth to it to sting. By the end of the book Kitty has sworn to take steps to make up for these failures, with so far pleasing results.
Who Shot JFK?: Referenced by Dominic when Kitty is pumping him for supernatural stories, specifically that Lee Harvey Oswald's bullets were silver; she's sure he was only joking to make her Conspiracy Theorist mind go nuts over it, but short of checking presidential appearances against phases of the moon, usage of the White House silver, assassination attempt survivals, and so on, she can't quite be sure...
What Would X Do?: Kitty does a great deal of this during Cormac's time in Prison, appealing to his memory and methods to help her weather the conflicts she faces. Nowhere is this more blatant, or more critical to her survival, than during the siege in House of Horrors—as Kitty says herself, thinking like him saves her life and those of the other supernaturals who make it through.
Wounded Gazelle Gambit: This was Darren's plan with Becky to remove Kitty as alpha, having her call and claim he was hurting her so Kitty would rush to the rescue and into his trap. It is foiled because Kitty gets the whole pack behind her, even Becky once they have a real heart-to-heart.
Xanatos Gambit: Both Mercedes and Roman are good at these. One of the best would be setting up Arturo, the Master Vampire of Denver who, even in book 1, had turned out to be something of a Noble Demon or even an Anti-Villain, to look like he was responsible for the vampire war with Rick when really he was as much a victim and dupe as anything else—if Rick went up against Arturo and lost, Arturo would then have no other rivals to his authority, a very old vampire who owed allegiance to no Family would be removed from the picture, and Arturo, having been placed there by Mercedes and Roman, would either support them in the Long Game or not get in their way; if instead Rick wins, he would owe Mercedes for her help and would have to capitulate to her and Roman to maintain his position. The plan was only ruined because of Kitty's return to deal with her mother's cancer, something they could not have foreseen, and her usage of Detective Hardin as an ally. (And because of Arturo's Heroic Sacrifice and Rick turning out to be stronger than they gave him credit for.) The con set up in book 6 via the ifrit to be banished is even more of an example: if Kitty capitulates to Roman, he will remove the ifrit threatening her but in exchange she will have given him her loyalty; if she stays in Denver and tries to ride it out, her pack will either all be slain or turn on her; and if she tries to face the Band of Tiamat, she will be sacrificed for their dark chaotic cult. Again, the plan is only ruined by surprises from the outside—the Paradox PI crew (specifically, Tina), T.J.'s brother Peter, and Odysseus Grant.
You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Several side characters, including at least three that have seen enough to make a good assessment, tell Kitty to her face that she is more than capable of living up to the presumptions many make about her authority and leadership. As noted below it has not really sunk in.
You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious: All the way through the first book, Kitty's best friend is called TJ. We only find out what TJ stands for after Carl has killed him, basically to stroke his own ego and she has to think how to answer Hardin's questions about him.
Only at the end, when she is about to give her life so the others can escape and she is passing on her magical knowledge, does Zora call Kitty by her true name instead of Regina Luporum. Similarly, as Enkidu dies Sakhmet finally calls him by his true name, and before departing as allies she gives Kitty her own true name.
You Can Keep Her: Amusingly referenced by Grant when he's performing the Disappearing Box trick with a married woman from the audience: "One of these days a husband is going to say no [to bringing his wife back]. Then where will I be?"
You Keep Telling Yourself That: A self-inflicted version applies to Kitty, in which she continually believes she is not cut out to be an alpha, to be given so much responsibility, to be believed an expert in the supernatural, to give therapy to her fellow "monsters", to be a spokesperson once The Masquerade is broken, and certainly not to be some grand leader in the fight to save everyone from the Long Game. "It was all an act, but it seemed to fool people—they kept asking me for advice. One of these days, everyone was going to see right through it."