Patricia Briggs – Shifting Shadows

Short Story compilation from the Mercy Thompson world

Star Rating 2 out of 5

This is something i never thought I would do, write a poor review of Ms Briggs and a book from her Mercy Series.  But sadly I have to, no matter how much I love this series and the way the author writes I cannot lie about how I feel after reading a book.

I am not a big fan of short story collections, they feel like a bit of a cop out to me, as if the author and publisher are saying ‘here there isn’t a new book due soon so have this panacea and its going to cost as much as a regular book’.  I absolutely adore the world of Mercy Thompson so whilst normally I wouldn’t bother with a book such as this, this time I did.  And I’m glad I did but also just as disappointed as I usually am with short story compilations.

So lets look at the positive, the only positive.  Getting to read Samuel’s back story and by default Bran’s too was fantastic!  This story was as usual beautifully crafted and full of the usual character driven plot you come to expect from Ms Briggs. The story flowed and kept you engaged to the last word, and kept you wanting more.  In my honest opinion this story deserved to be fleshed out and made into a full length novel.  But alas it wasn’t but unlike many short stories it didn’t feel as if you had been short changed, so without a doubt for me this story carried the book.

And that leads neatly onto the negative.  That was the only story I felt was worth the cost of the book.  In fact a few of them I didn’t even bother to finish as they didn’t hold my interest at all.  I failed to engage with any of the characters and felt that rather than being finely honed stories from a master of her craft, they were projects done on assignment without any real passion on the part of the author.

Ben’s story annoyed me after I had finished reading it, I felt as if Ben had been short changed as well as me.  This is one of the most complex bit player characters in Mercy’s world and Ms Briggs tried to explain his psyche in a ridiculous story about sexual harassment at work.  Yes the characterisation of him was plausible and it was wonderful to get more detail on his past in England but again this could have been better served in a full length novel.  This story honestly left me feeling cross with Ms Briggs after I had read it.

As to including alpha and omega, that really did get my goat…how many times has that story been published now? that just seemed absolutely beyond the pale in taking advantage of fans.

And finally the only story about Mercy, in a series of stories from Mercy’s world, well I cant actually review it because as I’m sitting here typing it I cant actually remember what it was about. Only that it started at the ruins of her garage.  So that doesn’t really bode well as to how much it kept my attention.  I do know I finished it so maybe it wasn’t all that bad. but it clearly it made no impact on me at all.

So to sum it up this was the usual rip off to fans, that publishers are very good at when a series becomes immensely popular. However I’m still glad I got to read about the history of the Marrok and his son so it wasn’t a complete waste of my money.

Next time Ms Briggs flesh the stories out into full length or do what many other authors do and post these short stories for free on their websites.  Your fans will think a lot more of you if you do.

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~ by Tazallie on September 22, 2014.

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