what I’ve been reading lately


I’ve had a copy of Patricia Briggs’ ‘Shifting Shadows’ on my shelf forever, just forever, and finally I’m getting around to it.  Although it’s set in the same universe as Mercy Thompson and the Charles/Anna stories, all of the stories are stand-alone and not all of them directly involve Mercy and Anna’s trajectories.

I’m about halfway through at this point – and mostly enjoying it.  But I’ll start off my review with the first tale, ‘Silver’ – and that’s an exception.

‘Silver’ is the backstory belonging to Samuel, son of Bran,  Marrok of the North-American werewolves.  It concerns his first encounter with the fairy Ariana, she of the scars and the power.  Samuel is enslaved by his witch grandmother, as is Bran.  And Ariana is being tortured by her fairy father, into producing a creation of great and dangerous power for him.  Will their meeting save them both?  (Whaddya think?)

Oh, hell, it’s not good.  I’m always willing to try a Briggs story, more than ready to give her the benefit of the doubt, generally predisposed in her favour.  I’m already biased on her side.  Nonetheless, this story was of the not-good sort.  Overwritten, unconvincingly overwrought in the descriptions of physical love – very 70s romance novel, in fact – “I will carry you in my heart until it beats no more”, for Pete’s sake – and with the character of Ariana in particular not fleshed out into 3D existence.  It’s a shame that Briggs or her editor chose this story in particular as the opener.  Someone who wasn’t already a Briggs devotee might DNF the rest of the book given this as a sampler.  Maybe the melodrama, the grab at the status of myth or ancient folk-tale, will suit other readers, but I couldn’t stomach it.

Fortunately, it’s onwards and upwards from this point, and the stories following this one are an immense improvement.  I’ll review them over the next few days.

Image – https://www.flickr.com/photos/alansimpsonme/, https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/


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