*** Shadow’s Weave – Yoon Ha Lee
A woman drags a man, who seems set on murdering her, to a temple in search of help. The man has lost his ‘shadow’ and without it, is subject to violent and erratic behavior. He also doesn’t want to be helped – but at great risk to herself, the woman insists. But the temple may not provide everything hoped for…
I had mixed feelings about this one. As always, with Yoon Ha Lee, it’s beautifully written and full of striking detail. But it also seemed a too-obvious parable for dealing with a partner with mental illness, and I wasn’t really sure I agreed with its conclusions.
**** Laws of Night and Silk – Seth Dickinson
In a barren land, an endless war is waged. Every year, the Cteri defend their water rights from attackers. To fight, they depend on the magical power of the abnarchs: children who develop their abilities only after being raised in strict isolation, kept alone in dark caves for years before being ‘decanted’ and trained for battle. This story focuses on two trainers, bitter rivals, who are given each others’ natural children. The story is emotional, evocative, and beautifully written, but didn’t quite reach five stars for me because I wasn’t wholly convinced by the scenario. (The methods used and the degree to which the abnarchs can communicate seem inconsistent; and it’s a key part of the piece…)