Shifting Shadows – Patricia Briggs

About the Book

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
“Fairy Gifts”
“Alpha and Omega”
“Seeing Eye”
“The Star of David”
“In Red, with Pearls”

450 pages (hardcover)
Published on September 2, 2014
Published by Ace Hardcover
Author’s webpage
Buy the book 

This book was sent for me to review by the publisher.

I tend to struggle with short stories. I like what I read to be long and involved, and short stories are just…. short. That’s not a bad thing if the stories are done right, but usually I find short story collections rather unbalanced and so I avoid them. However, I am a fan of Briggs, and I was beyond thrilled to get my hands on this anthology. Mercy Thompson is one of the only urban fantasy series that I’ve actually really enjoyed from the first book. I was excited to see what kind of short stories the author could write.

Short stories are a completely different animal than novels. The author has to know how to get in, grab the reader, and get out fast. More importantly, they have to know how to make my time spent reading a short story worthwhile. I’ve never read any of Briggs short stories, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. She’s an incredibly talented author, so I had incredibly high hopes.

The first thing to note is that Shifting Shadows compiles stories from not only Mercy and company, but some secondary, and notable characters that don’t get as much limelight as Mercy in the series. For example, Bran, while being an incredibly powerful character who flits in and out of the novels in fairly regular intervals, is a rather mysterious figure. Readers know a few details here and there, but nothing too impressive. It’s with characters like Bran that Briggs really does justice with her anthology, illuminating their histories, or their present, or just telling interesting stories that maybe flesh them out in rather surprising ways.

Readers who are already familiar with Mercy Thompson will appreciate the anthology more than readers who aren’t. However, if I’m being completely honest, I doubt readers who aren’t familiar with Mercy Thompson will be interested in this collection. It’s important to at least have a brief overview of who these characters are, or know roughly where to find them in the series. While it isn’t necessary, the anthology packs a bigger punch if readers are also familiar with the Alpha & Omega spinoff series that Briggs wrote. It’s not essential by any means, but it does help.

The stories are ordered historically, oldest stories first. The anthology opens up with a very emotional, very raw story detailing much of Bran’s history that has been mentioned, but never really detailed. From there, the anthology works toward the present time. Most of the stories have already been published, but there is plenty of unique content that will please fans of the author. And, if we are all honest with each other, how many of you are like me – the stories might be out there, but I sure haven’t read them yet. Thus, don’t let the published-before stories bother you. Even if you have read them before, the way they are ordered, and the other stories in Shifting Shadows will cause them to seem new and full of details you might not have noticed before.

Briggs is a powerful author. Her writing is always very emotional, and the world constantly expands. That’s part of what makes her so great. Her spin on traditional urban fantasy tropes is absolutely unique to her. Much of the history she covers is interesting and very welcome. In fact, the thing that I loved most about Shifting Shadows was that, instead of being a frivolous collection of stories, it added history and details, and really broadened the already impressive scope of Briggs world, characters, and magic system. Briggs also managed to make sense of so many secondary characters, making her already intense tapestry of politics and relationships that much more intense. There were plenty of “ah ha!” moments that really mentally reworked parts of Briggs series and character development that I hadn’t thought about before. It was all quite delightful.

It’s rare that a short story collection gets me this excited to read other books by the author. Sure, short stories are interesting, and rather fun, but usually I read them and leave them and I’m good with that. Shifting Shadows, however, made me want to re-read all of the books that Briggs has written in this world (which is exactly what I’ve been doing). Now, reading these books, so many of the characters, situations, and details have a different, more profound impact.

Shifting Shadows was absolutely fantastic. Readers will love some stories more than others (of course), but for readers and fans of Patricia Briggs, this anthology is an absolute must. It will enflame you, excite you, and surprise you. Shifting Shadows will absolutely make you want to read all of Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson books all over again. And you’ll feel like you’re reading them for the first time all over again. I promise.


4/5 stars


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