Shifter’s Wolf is a compilation of two novels written by Patricia Briggs. Masques was the first book she wrote. It didn’t sell very well and went out of print in 1995. Wolfsbane, its’ sequel, was written without a publisher and sat on a shelf for a while. After becoming successful (Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega), the author was able to do a polish of Masques and include the sequel in this edition.
I am a big fan of Patricia Briggs and, while I can see the newness of her writing in Masques, I was completely entranced by the story of Aralorn and Wolf. Briggs knows how to write a strong female protagonist and a male lead who compliments her. Aralorn is a spy who is tasked with gathering intelligence on the head mage of the land. She discovers evil at work and has to use all of her talents (including shapeshifting) to save her life and those around her. Wolf, her friend, plays a much more important role than she even imagined. In Wolfsbane, Aralorn and Wolf head back to her childhood home to determine who killed her father and why.
It’s difficult to separate these two stories as they flow so well and the plot moves fluidly between them. Aralorn is almost perfect as a paranormal leading lady. She is strong, independent and loyal. She’s also stubborn and gets herself into dangerous situations. Wolf is….wolf. He is enigmatic, dangerous but fiercely loyal to Aralorn. We slowly learn his secrets along with her.
This is written as a fantasy and the world building is done well. While there is a love story, there are no love triangles to be seen and it’s not the primary focus of the plotline.
Overall, I really enjoyed both stories. I will admit that Masques was probably my favorite of the two simply because it was so earnest. It wasn’t as polished as the author’s later works but she was true to her storytelling and that means a lot to a reader. 4/5 stars and highly recommended.