Series: Mercy Thompson
Format Read: Hardcover & eGalley
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | OmniLit* | Barnes & Noble |
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Blurb from goodreads:
Mercy Thompson’s world just got a whole lot bigger…
A collection of all-new and previously published short stories featuring Mercy Thompson, “one of the best heroines in the urban fantasy genre today” (Fiction Vixen Book Reviews), and the characters she calls friends…
Includes the new stories…
“Roses in Winter”
…and reader favorites
“Alpha and Omega”
“The Star of David”
“In Red, with Pearls”
I have been a fan of Patricia Briggs since the first time I picked up "Moon Called". I will be the first to admit, I bought that one because I liked the cover. I was excited to get my hands on "Shifting Shadows". This book is full of short stories that fill in the background for some characters in Mercy Thompson's world. Even though several of these had been released before, there was only one I had managed to read which was "Alpha and Omega". I loved reading this one a few years ago, and I enjoyed reading it again. I thought Samuel's story was going to be my favorite but turns out my favorite story was "Gray", about a vampire named Elyna. Elyna's story turning out to be my favorite was a surprise to me. I like vampire stories but usually prefer werewolves. Give me warm and furry over cold and undead anytime but this story was also a love story and a ghost story. The ending gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling, I like to have after reading anything.
I have been impatiently waiting since Patty announced this book several years ago. With a promise of a Samuel story and maybe a Ben story and a story about Kara, the teen werewolf, all of which we got, I was bouncing up and down. When I started reading "Shifting Shadows", I skipped over the stories that I had read many times before and focused on the ones I'd read only once or that were new. One of the strengths for me of this collection is that the stories don't all feature Mercy or any of the main characters from her series. There are several that give us all new characters and several that gives us stories involving secondary characters. We get different perspectives on Mercy's world and the beings and people in it.
A few stories, such as "In Red, With Pearls" were more complicated than was necessary in my opinion while several, including "Gray", Hollow", and "Roses in Winter" were bittersweet. "Roses in Winter" is Kara's story but also Asil's and even Bran's to a lesser extent. It was one of several stories that made me tear up. Combining masterful storytelling with compelling stories and characters who touch you, "Shifting Shadows" is an excellent look into Mercy's world and kept me up reading into the wee hours.
One of the great joys of reading folk tales is the way they can transport you to a time and place you otherwise could not have experienced. The tenor of an Irish tale is not the same as a Coyote story. It is a wonder of talent to me for someone to be able to translate the old tales to modern times and not lose that essential quality. To then be able to weave not just one set of cultural history, but many into a literary world is sheer brilliance. Charles De Lint and Patricia Briggs are the two authors who give us such gifts and make them seamless, as if there is no way these distinct worlds could not have been intertwined from the start. It's glorious.
Several of the stories were already familiar to me, but I welcomed the chance to reacquaint myself with them. Like Bea, I love to see Mercy's world through other eyes, and this collection takes you on a tour of the past and present as well as locations beyond Mercy's local haunts. I honestly can't tell you if I think this is an excellent way to be introduced to the series, or if part of it's charm is that it fleshes out the background of the established storylines. I can tell you it's one I'll read again.