Strange Horizons: October 16, 2006
Winnowing the Herd is a Kitty Norville short story which is set before even Kitty and the Midnight Hour. This means that the reader knows that Kitty is a werewolf and a late night DJ, but nobody else does because she did not reveal herself on air quite yet.
The story is set at a radio station party and the story is told through Kitty's perspective, though she is not identified until page two. It is the night before a full moon and Kitty is on edge. Everything smells stronger and she is identifying the scents of everyone and everything in the room and also identifying the other humans as prey.
The wolf in Kitty is closer to the surface and because this story is set earlier in her life, she may not be fully comfortable in her skin as a werewolf.
Perry. That was who I'd go after first. If I were going to go after anyone, which I wasn't, because I had better control than that. Perry was the receptionist/secretary/bookkeeper. Small, delicate, big eyed, slouching warily in her baggy sweater. She wrote romance novels at her desk on the sly. She'd totally freeze in the face of an attack. Easy prey.
There is no true plotline in the sense of the plot driving the story as Winnowing the Herd is Kitty at a party and her reactions to people and scents. Winnowing the Herd is a bit of a show piece, giving a glimpse of a favorite character before the events of any of the novels. For fans of any of the Kitty Norville novels, Winnowing the Herd is a fun little story. Those who are unfamiliar with the work of Carrie Vaughn might be better off starting with Kitty and the Midnight Hour.
Carrie Vaughn is the author of three Kitty Norville novels: Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Kitty Goes to Washington, and Kitty Takes a Holiday.