Shades in Shadow, N.K. Jemisin
This ebook is a collection of three short stories set in the same universe as The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. It revisits some of the characters and the consequences of the original trilogy, giving us a little more of Nahadoth, Hado and Glee Shoth, in turn. I’m fairly sure I missed out on some of the details because I haven’t read the books recently enough; I’m very sure I’ll reread this when I have, to fully appreciate it. As it is, though, they’re well-crafted stories, with the beautiful imagery and clarity I expect of Jemisin’s writing.
There are moments of characterisation that you don’t need to have recently read the trilogy to appreciate: Itempas, confronting change, his body treating it like an infection. Nahadoth, grieving and betrayed, betraying himself with the odd moment of affection for Tempa, with moments of regret. Glee Shoth, claiming her birthright, with strength from both her parents.
I think I liked the Nahadoth story the most, because it deals with that early aftermath of betrayal, and also most directly with Nahadoth’s nature. The various ways of describing him, “that which cannot be controlled”, etc, all work to crystallise the character, to get across in as few words as possible what Nahadoth is, and what he stands for.