In a way, it’s silly to write a review of a book of stories such as Shifting Shadows. If you’re a fan of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, then you’ll want to read this. If you’re not, this is not the place to enter Mercy’s world. Which, by the way, is amazing… so if you like urban fantasy filled with unique characters, exciting plots, and fascinating relationships, start with Moon Called, and then keep reading! I dare you to stop.
Shifting Shadows is definitely a gift for fans, and it’s a pretty wonderful gift at that. There are 10 stories in Shifting Shadows, all set in Mercy’s world. Six stories have appeared previously in various anthologies, and four stories are new. Although I’d read all of the six older stories already, I still enjoyed re-reading them in the context of this collection.
The previously published stories are:
“Fairy Gifts” – Set in Butte, Montana, this is a short, sweet tale of redemption and old debts focusing on a vampire and a fae, with a distinctly old West feel to it.
“Gray” – A ghost story/love story set in Chicago, “Gray” is quite lovely. This story of vampire Elena and her quest to reconnect with her late husband has both action and emotion.
“Seeing Eye” – The story of werewolf Tom and white witch Moira, set in Seattle.
“Alpha & Omega” – Even though I’ve read this story 3 or 4 times already, I never get tired of it. This novella was the original work that started the Alpha & Omega spin-off series of novels, and tells the story of Charles and Anna’s first meeting. Such wonderful characters, and a truly great addition to the Mercy-verse.
“The Star of David” – Focusing on werewolf David Christiansen, this is a holiday tale of family connection and personal redemption. Action-packed, and touching as well.
“In Red, With Pearls” – Werewolf Warren is the star of this one. Need I say more? Warren rocks, always.
New stories include:
“Silver” – An origin story for Bran and Samuel, which mostly focuses on Samuel’s first encounter with Ariana. I would have liked more Bran, but that wasn’t the point of this story. Still, quite interesting to finally hear the tale of how Bran and Samuel were turned.
“Roses in Winter” – Tells the story of Kara, a young girl introduced in the Mercy books, and how old wolf Asil cares for her when her life is on the line.
“Redemption” – Ben gets a story! I’ve always loved the character of Ben — so outwardly awful at first, until we learn more about his history and the traumas and abuse he’s suffered. Here, he really gets a chance to shine and be the good guy — even a hero! — for once. Plus, this story is really funny. Loved it.
“Hollow” – Mercy finally shows up in one of the stories! “Hollow” isn’t really about Mercy for the most part, but more about a troubling case of a haunting that Mercy helps solve. But hey, all Mercy is good Mercy, and we even get some Adam!
In addition, Shifting Shadows wraps up with two outtakes from published novels — deleted scenes, I suppose — from Silver Borne and Night Broken.
If any or all of the above made any sense to you, then congratulations! You’re a Mercy fan! And in that case, make sure you grab a copy of Shifting Shadows, and enjoy.
And just to repeat myself… if all of this seems like gobbledegook to you, that’s a sure sign that you haven’t yet been introduced to the wonderful world of Mercy Thompson. Moon Called is waiting for you…
Title: Shifting Shadows
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace Hardcover
Publication date: September 2, 2014
Length: 450 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy (short stories)