|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”
“The Star of David”
“In Red, with Pearls”
I love any excuse to revisit Mercy Thompson’s world and with a series that gives us one new book a year, I was so excited to get a bonus Mercy world book this year that includes stories for some of our favorite characters and some new faces in a world we’re pretty familiar with. I’m not reviewing all the stories, but just a few that stood out for one reason or another. But keep in mind, all the stories but one are for characters other than Mercy. Sure, I was a little disappointed with that, I was hoping for a few short stories for Mercy along with her core group of characters. However, a few stories have lead characters that I’ve been itching to get to know better, including Ben, Warren and Kyle and a favorite reread for a couple I adore, Charles and Anna.
Ben probably had my favorite story in the book with Redemption. We’ve already met him in Mercy’s series as the werewolf with an accent who still trying to deal with and move beyond his past with the help of Adam and the pack. But here we see a much different side of Ben. The story primarily takes place at Ben’s work, he’s a techie, a big computer geek and he’s got a surly, bad attitude – I loved it. His grumpy comments, being the guy in the last cubicle who no one wants to deal with, he had me cracking up. But Ben has a bit unknowingly started looking at his office and co-workers as his pack of sorts. So when a receptionist starts to be harassed at work, Ben’s protective streak comes out and as much as he hates it, he helps her in a few different ways. The whole story really had me laughing out loud, simply because of Ben.“I tell you what, Stan,” he [Ben] said slowly because that’s how he talked to people too stupid to live. The things he says, the things he gets frustrated over, his over-the-topness and dirty language at work – it’s all so funny and it really made me want to reread the Mercy books and focus more on his scenes. I certainly can’t wait to see him show up on page more after reading Redemption.
An old favorite, Alpha and Omega is included in this set and even though I’ve read it before, I loved catching up again with how it all began for Anna and Charles. Anna is in a pack that’s beat her down, made her a shell of the person she was before she was changed, when really any pack worth anything would be dying to have her with them as she’s an Omega. She’s a wolf who helps bring calm to the other wolves simply by being around them. Charles is the son of the Marrok, Bran who’s head of all wolves and is a complete Alpha. He and Anna may not make the most sense at a quick glance, but I’ve loved seeing their relationship unfold over the course of their series and can’t wait to get my hands on their next book.
Another previously publishing short story, In Red, With Pearls, focuses on Warren and Kyle. This was a new to me story and I enjoyed getting to know these two and see their relationship at a more up close and personal level. With Warren being a wolf and Kyle human, I liked seeing their dynamic play out and how they made their relationship work. I really liked getting more detail about Kyle and really enjoyed him as a character and seeing how he rolled with the punches that is being with a werewolf and all that brings to the table.
A new story, Roses in Winter, stood out from the crowd as it tells the story of a werewolf in the last years of his life (or so he believes) Asil and his mentoring of a young wolf, Kara. Kara was never taught control and the Marrok’s rules are clear, if you can’t control your wolf, you’re killed. Kara’s time has run out and while Asil tries his best to help her manage and control the change back to human when she’s in her wolf form, she ultimately has to do it herself and in one of the most pressured situations a young girl can find herself in. I really enjoyed their mentor/mentee and really, father/daughter type relationship and seeing how not only Asil impacted Kara’s life but how she brought life to his world. It was a very engaging and well done story.
Finally, Hollow the lone Mercy story, picks up after the last book, Night Broken, with Mercy’s garage in shambles and Mercy trying to decide if it’s worth it to rebuild or just level the whole thing and find something else to do with her time. But the story’s focus is on Mercy being hired to try and help a ghost move along – the ghost is supposedly haunting and making life miserable for the man she’s been tormenting for years. I liked the main focus of the story well enough, but honestly, I was more interested with Mercy’s garage and what she’d do without it and her interactions with Adam. Their relationship is always what ends up keeping my attention in any of the books. It was a good story, but again, I’d have liked another story or two for Mercy and/or Adam to have been included in this collection.
Short story collections tend to be hit or miss for me and while a few stories here didn’t do it for me, enough of them did to make this a solid read. My favorites were the stories that focused on the characters who have already made a name for themselves in the main Mercy Thompson series, with Ben’s story being my favorite. This book would be a nice addition to anyone’s Mercy Thompson series collection.
Release Date: September 2, 2014
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*eARC provided by publisher for review*