SHIFTING SHADOWS by Pat Briggs: Different Voices

Shifting Shadows

Shifting Shadows CoverStories from the World of Mercy Thompson
by Patricia Briggs
Penguin Random House/Ace
Paperback 464 Pages | 1 Sep 2015 
E-Book & Hardcover 464 Pages | 2 Sep 2014 | Ace Adult

E-Galley provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own, except as noted.

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”

My Take Oblong


I have long enjoyed the Mercy Thompson series, and have also read some of the Alpha and Omega series, so I was anxious to get my hands on this book.  It seems ikeit’s been a long time between Mercy Thompson books.

In her ‘Dear Reader’ letter, Patricia tells us:

Dear reader, you hold in your hand (or your e-book reader) the entirety of every short story ever published (plus four) that I have written in the world of Mercy Thompson. Short stories have allowed me to explore Mercy’s world from different perspectives, to tell stories that couldn’t be told in the books, and to go places the books do not.

And what she says is certainly true: these stories look at secondary characters more deeply, feel like different points of view and they also fill in the blanks around characters and their individual stories.  For example, Warren’s and Kyle’s story as a gay couple encountering several different kinds of prejudice, Kara, the youngest werewolf who has a hard time with controlling her shifts.

But, it also has a very different voice — sometimes a much younger writer’s voice that feels as if Briggs was learning her way through a new landscape.  This was evident to me in the first story in the book which tells us how Samuel, Bran’s oldest son, meets Ariana.  The world-building there not only hedges on classic fantasy, but had “Excalibur” moments, and some fluffy structuring. Although there, with an “Underhill” or traditional-format fae home, I think I caught a glimpse of what an Underhill represents: the capricious nature of the elements providing, creating, destroying and taking away in accordance with either its own whims or that of a more powerful being.

I also realized that paranormal fiction gives writers and opportunity to explore different ideas and beliefs around death, that wouldn’t really be experienced by characters in non-speculative fiction.

There’s a lot to see, to realize, to ponder in this volume of short stories, both about life and the writer.  There are several stories focused on the relationship between a parent, often a father, and a child, and   I had not previously realized it is a repeating theme throughout the Mercy Thompson books, at least.

Like our own, the world Pat Briggs has created for our stories is is harsh, but then, like our own, there is also hope.  There is darkness and evil, but they are balanced by goodness and light.

And, characters there are always making tough decisions.

And, it is because of how well-drawn her characters are, that this world is utterly believable to the point where immersing ourselves in the pages of one of her books for hours, including this collection, is completely possible.

This would be a perfect gift for the Urban Fantasy reader in your life!


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