Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson
My review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at Hotlistens.com.
Silver - Narrated by Alexander Cendese
Brand new story
This story takes place many, many years before Moon Called. It is the story of how Bran and Samuel become werewolves. During this time, they also meet Samuel's future fae mate, Arianna. This is a heartwrenching story. Arianna's father is not a nice man. The witch that turns Bran and Samuel is not a nice woman. There is death and pain. If it wasn't for the fact that this was a prequel of sorts, it would've been even harder to listen to. I would say that this story doesn't really end happily, but we know that there is a HEA, even if it is hundreds of years in the future.
Fairy Gifts - Narrated by Alexander Cendese
Originally published in Naked City
This story takes place many, many years before Moon Called. It has completely new characters, so they are less developed than the ones we know and love. It takes place in Butte, Montana, Patricia's hometown. Thomas is a Chinese-American vampire, who was used a thug for his father. He comes across a fae girl that was chained in the copper mining tunnels. The two work together to break their respective bonds. Not a bad story, just short and less developed that I'm used to from Briggs. This was my least favorite story in the book, though it still isn't a bad story.
Gray - Narrated by Lorelei King
Originally published in Home Improvement: Undead Edition
This story takes place before Moon Called. It is another story with completely new characters and takes place in Chicago. Elyna is a vampire who has gone back to her old apartment in a city that is held by a much more powerful vampire. She has left her seethe and wants to just be left alone with her ghost of a husband in their old apartment. Many people have tried to renovate this apartment, but the ghost will not allow it. Elyna is able to convenience some off duty policemen to help with construction. Things get interesting. Elyna is a "nice" vampire in a world where vampires are not known for their morality. Although I the story is short, the characters are not extremely developed, and the story is somewhat predictable, I enjoyed this story.
Seeing Eye - Narrated by Lorelei King
Originally published in Strange Brew
This story takes place one year before Moon Called. Tom and Moira are a werewolf and white witch that we meet in Hunting Ground. It is the story of how they meet. Tom's brother is kidnapped by a group of notorious black witches. He is sent to Moria to help find his brother. Moira takes the case, even though she doesn't like to leave her house and she is blind. Something about Tom calls to her and the head black witch is the reason she is blind. I really loved this story. It shows how much her disability does not make her weak. Tom is very loyal, not only to his brother, but also to Moira.
Alpha and Omega - Narrated by Lorelei King
Originally published in On the Prowl
This story takes place during the same time as Moon Called. I've read this story and listened to it narrated by Holter Graham, who is the normal narrator for the Alpha and Omega series. I love this story, mainly because I love Charles and Anna. Anna is has been a werewolf for three years and was turned against her will. She know almost nothing about what she is. She doesn't have any idea how important she is to other werewolves. When she has proof that her pack is killing children, she finally calls the Marrok. Charles is the Marrok's enforcer and is sent to check things out. Great story and the start to the spin of series of the same name.
The Star of David - Narrated by Alexander Cendese
Originally published in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe
This story takes place the Christmas after "most" of the events in Moon Called. We meet David in Moon Called. He is a lone wolf who was turned in the Army with Adam. He small "pack" of human mercenaries, many of which are part of his actual family. In this story, his estranged daughter calls him to help her with one of her "kids". She is a social worker and one of the foster kids is in the hospital under sketchy circumstances. She suspects that the child is not quite human and that her father could help him. There is definitely something supernatural afoot. It was a great heartwarming story that you would expect for a Christmas story.
Roses in Winter - Narrated by Lorelei King
Brand new story
This story takes place between Bone Crossed and Silver Borne. This story has Asil and Kara, a young girl who has been a werewolf for a few years, but under her human parents care. Kara comes to Bran's pack to see if she can learn to control her wolf. Asil has been with Bran's pack for many years and is waiting for Bran to kill him before he goes crazy and starts killing people. It is great to see the interaction between Bran and Asil, Asil and Kara, even the little bit of interaction with Devin who spends very little time in human form. Seeing the Moor in the role of mentor is not something you would expect. It is also great to see how Asil is willing to protect Kara. He even starts looking at how he might have to fight Bran and Charles to keep Kara alive, if things go bad. I think this is my favorite story in this book.
In Red, with Pearls - Narrated by Alexander Cendese
Originally published in Down These Strange Streets
This story takes place between Silver Borne and River Marked. This is Warren and his partner, Kyle's story. Warren is working for Kyle as a PI. A zombie shows up and tries to kill Kyle. Warren calls Elizaveta to help him clear up the evidence. Nadia is family to Elizaveta and her apprentice. She helps Warren to find out who and why someone would want Kyle dead. It is as suspenseful as you can make a short story can be. I really enjoyed it.
Redemption - Narrated by Lorelei King
Brand new story
This story takes place between Frost Burned and Night Broken. It is told mostly from Ben's POV. He is one of my least favorite of Adam's pack, though the snark between him and Mercy is always fun to read. We learn more about his past and how he came to Adam's pack. This story takes place in his office setting. Ben is a computer nerd. The secretary for Ben's group is getting harassed at work by someone in a completely different department. Everytime this guy comes over, Ben goes over and starts complaining and sends her to go do something for him. This story is great because I really came to like Ben. Especially has he tries desperately to not use foul language so that he can get some really expensive Scotch from Adam for a bet. Not only do we learn a lot about Ben, he learns a lot about himself. This is my second favorite story in this book.
Hollow - Narrated by Lorelei King
Brand new story
Takes place after Night Broken and stars Mercy. You can't have a Mercy world anthology without a Mercy story. A woman has asked Mercy to help with a ghost. This woman has been helping a rich, reclusive with his landscaping. When she goes into his house, she sees the ghost that has caused him to become a hermit. Most ghosts are pretty harmless, but this one is much more harmful. Mercy seems to be able to find danger is non-dangerous missions. While the suspense in this story is pretty predictable, it has a nice romance between the new characters.
Outtakes - Narrated by Lorelei King
Brand new snippets
Silver Borne - This is to give Samuel and Arianna their happy ending. Their story does end well in Silver Borne. This story shows that they do get their happy ever after and gives even more of their history.
Night Broken - This story takes place towards the end of story and is told from Adam's POV. Mercy is recovering in the hospital (there are spoilers in this outtake for Night Broken, but her being in the hospital at the end of a book is not a surprise). There is great interaction between Adam and Coyote. You also see how much Adam loves Mercy and what he is willing to do for her.
Overall, I loved this anthology. I'm a huge fan of characters in stories, especially secondary characters. Short stories like this from long running series are a great place for authors to give us insight into those secondary characters. Many of the UF stories, like Mercy Thompson, are written in first person POV. These stories are able to give a glimpse into those other character POV's. This books is a must have for Mercy fans.
It is no secret that Lorelei King is one of my all-time favorite narrators. She does a great job with both men and women's voices. Her tone, pace, and level of emotion for all the different characters is always on the mark.
Alexander Cendese is new to me. At first, I wasn't sure what I thought about him. As I listened to him read the story, he really grew on me. I do wish he was a little better with women's voices, though he seemed to do better with some stories/characters better than others. His tone, pace and emotion were all really good.
I like to thank Brilliance Audio for providing me with a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.