Shifting Shadows: Stories From The World of Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs
Published by Ace
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
For fans of: the Mercy Thompson series, Books about Werewolves, Vamps, Fae and all that jazz.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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’ve given this 4.5 stars on account of all the feels it gave me.
Mercy Thompson is right up there on my list of favorite fictional heroes. I love her to itty bitty pieces. Which is why I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never read any of the Mercy Thompson short stories. In my defense, this is mostly because I was only introduced to this (brilliant, brilliant) series last year, but whatever. Not having read any of the stories before meant that this entire collection was new to me. And I loved them all. Alright, I loved most of them and thoroughly enjoyed the others. Roses in Winter and Redemption were probably my favorite from the lot.
Would I have liked a Stefan short story? Hell yes.
But that’s not important right now. What’s important is the story-by-story review that’s about to go down right now. So, you know, buckle up.
Silver – 4.5 stars
Because the stories in this collection have been arranged in chronological order as they took place in the Mercy Thompson universe, Silver takes place many years before present time. A couple of centuries or so, give or take. If you’ve ever wondered how Werewolves came into existence, how Bran and Samuel became Werewolves, and how Samuel and Ariana met, this is the story for you. It answers all those questions and even goes so far as to explain why Bran’s the Marrock. (Be warned, it takes a bit of thinking. This particular story never says it outright)
Silver was painful (see what I did there?) and wonderful at the same time, and I don’t think I can look at Bran, Samuel or Ariana the same way ever again. And I mean that in the best possible way.
Fairy Gifts – 3 stars
In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that, when I first started reading this one, I had absolutely no clue who Thomas was. I’d read Frost Burned sometime last June, and because I’d read 93148929 UF books since, I was having a little trouble placing the protag of this story. So, I stopped where I was and reread the entire Mercy Thompson series, from Moon Called to Night Broken. Yup. That’s a thing that happened.
Anyway, long story short, I was reminded who Thomas was and was able to enjoy the story more once I came back to Shifting Shadows. It wasn’t the greatest story, but it was entertaining and we learned something very important from it, that may or may not come into play in the future Mercy Thompson books – Thomas’ super secret vampire power. Let’s just say that old Hao’s power is something that’d make Darryl more than a little uncomfortable.
Gray – 3 stars
Elyna the vampire is a brand spanking new character. I had no clue who she was, but I liked her. That being said, this was probably my least favorite story in the collection. Which doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, – I did.
Seeing Eye – 4 stars
I haven’t gotten to the Alpha and Omega series yet, so like Elyna, Tom and Moira were new to me. Seeing Eye is the story of a white witch who’s more powerful than she seems, and a desperate Werewolf looking to find his brother. I liked these two enough that I’m actually pretty interested in seeing them once I actually do get down to reading Alpha and Omega.
It’ll happen. Eventually.
Alpha and Omega – 4 stars
If there’s one thing I really appreciate about Patricia Briggs, it’s how much she cares for her characters. I’ve been fascinated with Charles Cornick ever since he first popped up in Moon Called. His character is the kind that speaks to you from the page, and it was wonderful to see that Briggs had his story all woven together from the moment she decided to put him in Mercy’s universe.
Charles was just as interesting as all his little cameos in the Mercy Thompson series promised, and Anna, the title Omega wolf, equally so. If Alpha and Omega (the series, not the short) hadn’t already been on my TBR list, this short story would have been my motivation to pick the series up.
The Star of David – 3.5 stars
We first met David somewhere towards the end of Moon Called, when he ambushes Mercy in her trailer because he’s convinced that she’s the only one he can trust to help save Adam. His appearance was brief and it didn’t really leave me with much of an impression.
The Star of David gave me a little more insight into David’s character. And let me tell you, I liked what I saw.
Roses in Winter – 5 stars
Oh, look. It’s my favorite story from the anthology. What joy!
As scary as Asil is in Frost Burned, I actually kind of loved him from the moment he showed up in the story. And this story about him and Kara (the young female werewolf whose father talked to Mercy and Honey about Adam in Blood Bound, in case anyone needs a little reminder) only increased my love for him. I knew there was a reason why Bran was keeping him around.
As it turns out, Asil is a sweet, caring, and extremely dangerous, grandpa type wolf, and Kara may have been just the kick in the pants that he needed to stop being such a grumpus. I felt so many feels with this one, for Asil and Kara, and even Bran. It was the perfect amount of emotional, dramatic and funny. Easily, easily, my favorite out of the lot.
I hope we see more of Asil in the Mercy Thompson books. I’d like that very much.
In Red, With Pearls – 4 stars
Mercy sees Warren as the sweetest cowboy on the planet. And yeah, she’s right. He’s a kind man, a good man, and he is adorable as hell. But as we all know, Mercy doesn’t have the good sense to be afraid of things that could kill her, so why on earth would she see one of her best friends as something other than the sweetheart of a man he is around her? And because we usually see him through Mercy’s eyes, it’s easy for us to forget that in addition to being everything Mercy believes him to be, Warren is also a very dominant, very dangerous Werewolf. In Red, With Pearls gives us a look at that side of him.
It also gives us a better look at his relationship with Kyle (which I ship so very hard) and the length he’s willing to go through to keep his mate safe.
Before I read this story, Warren Smith was already one of my favorite Mercy Thompson supporting characters. Now, his place has been firmly cemented.
Redemption – 5 stars
I’m a little bit biased with this one because I love Ben. I’m in a constant state of wanting to put him in a pillow fort and feed him hot chocolate. He’d probably hate that. Would probably grumble and curse at me under his breath. Which makes it even better, tbh.
After the horrific events that took place in Iron Kissed and had me curled up in a fetal position on the floor, bawling my eyes out, we were given a little glimpse of the demons Ben struggled with. We’d been wondering why Ben was such a raging misogynist, and in just one heartbreaking speech, Patricia Briggs showed us a few of the puzzle pieces. Before Iron Kissed, I’d had a weary liking for Ben. I couldn’t bring myself to hate him, or even dislike him, which worried me a little because I’m not really one for liking misogynists. Luckily for me, it turned out that my instincts were good. Ben’s hatred for women stems from a childhood of abuse and anguish. He’s been broken, and I cannot hate him for that.
In Redemption, we’re given the entire story. Not just bits and pieces like before, but the proper story, right from his abuse to what caused him to be shipped off into Adam’s care. Ben’s tale is tragic, but like all good characters, he is growing. Redemption sees him smack in the middle of the turning point of his arc, which Mercy may or may not have kick started. He’s changing and he’s slowly starting to accept that about himself.
This one was so well-written and so true to Ben’s character. It had me tearing up and then laughing out loud in the span of three minutes which, let’s face it, is basically Ben’s character in a nutshell.
Hollow – 4.5 stars
Like Redemption, Hollow sees Mercy in a position where she has to start accepting change. But she’s the not-daughter of Coyote, so it should be easy for her, right? Not exactly. She’s spent her entire life searching for a place to belong, and now with Adam, and with the pack finally beginning to accept her, she has it. But then events that took place in Night Broken saw her losing her first piece of stability, the first piece of the home she made for herself, her garage, burned like a piece of bacon that flipped out of the pan and onto the fire from the stove. In short: she’s having a little bit of a hard time trying to process the fact that she might have to quit the mechanic business.
But of course, trouble can’t seem to stay away from her for too long, and Mercy’s roped into helping a woman deal with a ghost who’s haunting the man she loves. Mercy comes out of the ordeal… slightly banged up (which is a miracle when you consider that it’s Mercy we’re talking about here) and full of new knowledge about ghosts and fae.
Hollow is on the same level as all the other Mercy Thompson full-length novels in terms of writing, characters and plot. It’s a little more emotion-driven than usual, and that’s fine by me. It has also made me COMPLETELY desperate for the next book. Which apparently comes out next year.
The Outtakes – 5 stars
NO ONE TOLD ME THERE WAS GOING TO BE OUTTAKES IN THIS.
The first one deals with Samuel and Ariana, sometime while Mercy was being held prisoner by the fairy queen. If you’d read Frost Burned, Night Broken and Hollow, it was pretty obvious that Samuel and Ariana’s tale ended on a happy note. But this little deleted scene gives their reunion so much more light than it originally had.
The second one… I am still getting over the feels the second one gave me. It picks up immediately where Night Broken left off, from Adam’s POV.
“Brave or cowardly, it doesn’t matter. Don’t you know that if it is a choice between having Mercy or giving her up, I will be whatever I have to be?”
CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH ADAM LOVES MERCY????
Actually, no. My heart isn’t ready for that conversation yet. Brb, off to cry some more.
Shifting Shadows is a wonderful collection of short stories and I’ll be damned if I don’t end up re-reading at least one of these sometime in the future.