This is Susan Helen Gottfried's second collection of short fiction 'outtakes' featuring the heavy-metal band ShapeShifter. The pieces were originally published on Susan's blog, West of Mars: The Meet and Greet, in no particular order; the books have allowed her to satisfy reader requests to place the stories in a timeline.
While the outtakes make fairly random appearances on the blog, Susan has assembled them in chronological narrative order here, and has written additional introductory material for each sketch, giving more context about how it fits into the overall story of ShapeShifter. This is not a novel in itself - while the stories are placed in sequence, they don't have a plot thread tying them together - but if you haven't met the band before, it's a great way to do it.
There's overlap in the chronology between the Year 1 and Year 2 collections, and they don't have to be read in sequence. But Susan's outtakes continue to whet my appetite for a full-length novel (or two, or three!) about the band. I'm getting glimpses of the backstory, but I want to know more about how ShapeShifter came together and how other characters came into their circle, and I'd like to see it all in context. Also, Susan has tried not to overlap the time period and events in Trevor's Song with the shorter pieces, and I'm really getting curious about that portion of the story.
As she did in the Year 1 collection, Susan has included an introduction to each outtake which provides a little more of the framework to the ShapeShifter story. The introductions also offer insight into her writing process and the inspirations for some of the pieces, and I found myself particularly intrigued by that this time around.