Michelle Sagara's background look at Kaylin Neya shows the "grays" that are typical of her characters; things are not always black and white, and to create a heroine that isn't always admired or loved is risky. This exposure to Neya as a young girl, at her first interaction with the Law of Elantra, solidifies the foundation built throughout the previous novels.
Gruesome in parts, especially as it deals with the murder and magical use of mutilated children, but done in such a way as to seem clinical, and not gratuitous.
This is the only short story outtake for the Cast series, and it was a wonderful addition to the novels. It could be a stand-alone, but the nuances, and the growth of the characters are made more poignant by the knowledge the reader has gained from the latest novel, in particular.
So happy to have added this to my Michelle Sagara West collection. I wish it was in print though!