Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs

shiftingPatricia Briggs is my favorite “series” writer.  I try to read everything she writes, and that’s unusual for me.  I mostly read a few books from a series and then move on to another one, and I ignore all the extra short stories and novellas that seem more for marketing purposes than to further the story.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how big a Mercy Thompson fan I am. It’s hard for me to explain what makes this series so different from most others. It’s not that I’ve loved every single book in the series, but I love these characters and the world Briggs has created. It’s pretty standard urban fantasy – werewolves, vampires, and fae – but somehow Briggs has inhabited this world with characters I wish I knew in real life.  And I guess that’s the difference.  Mercy and her friends don’t just run around and battle the forces of evil – although they do – they have real friendships, relationships, and conflicts.

Shifting Shadows is a collection of short stories that include the characters in the Mercy Thompson series. This book was a happy offering in between Mercy Thompson books – the next one doesn’t come out until 2016, which is a long wait. So you know, some of these stories have been published before, so you might be paying for something you’ve read already. For me, the collection is well worth it, and I was happy to reread a couple of the stories.

Some are more closely related to the Mercy series, others less so. For example, one story explains how Samuel met Ariana, a fae who is introduced in Silver Borne. Another story provides the back story on Anna and Charles, the main characters in Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series. One story introduces a witch named Moira and is mostly unrelated.  My favorite stories were about two of my favorite “Pack” characters, Ben and Warren.  These are two characters who deserve more time in print, and Briggs gives it to them.  And best of all, we get a new Mercy story to close the book.

While it might sound like these stories are filler, I enjoyed every one.

If you like urban fantasy but find most of it pretty forgettable, you should definitely read Briggs (but start with Book #1 in the series, Moon Called). No one else in the genre comes close, except maybe Ilona Andrews.

And if you’ve already read the series, you’ll enjoy this compilation as you wait for Briggs’ next book. Dead Heat, the next Alpha and Omega Book, comes out in March.

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