In a genre of fantastical powers and magical circumstances, flaws are what ground characters to relatable entities. It’s all well and good to have sexy demon slayers, or immortal vampires or heroes with super strength and chiseled jaws, but in the end if a reader can’t relate to that character, the book can sometimes fall flat.After all, it’s hard to be concerned for the heroine’s well being when she’s able to escape every situation with nary a scratch.
(This is also called being a bit of a Mary Sue – the character is just *too* perfect and unable to ever make a mistake.)
But this also goes for all the characters, the love interests, the secondaries. It’s really dependent up on the author to try to make sure everyone is as rounded out as possible.
For those of you who’ve read A Brush of Darkness, you’re probably fairly aware of Brystion – a shape shifting incubus who has more than his fair share of sex appeal. Of course, he’s also a bit arrogant and he’s hiding a few secrets of his own. I’m not going to throw any spoilers out there, but a lot of it has to do with his demonic appearance and self-acceptance. (And he’s got a fair amount of growing to do before he’s really ready to hook up with Abby on any sort of permanent basis.)
For A Sliver of Shadow, I introduced a new love interest in the form of Talivar. Talivar’s an elven prince and also Abby’s bodyguard. Although good looking, he’s certainly not made of the same sexual rawness that Brystion is. (Which makes sense. An incubus *is* sex. Hard to compete on that particular level.)
However, Talivar has his own demons to battle. He’s got some physical issues – missing an eye, an injured leg, etc. But more important than mere injury is how those injuries helped shape him into the character is when he meets Abby. In Faerie society, royalty requires physical perfection in order to become a ruler – something he is no longer qualified for.
I did this for several reasons – partly based on actual mythology, but also because it makes him more interesting. What does a character do when he’s been raised his entire life to be king – only to have that yanked out from under him simply because of his scars? (And there’s a bit more to it than that, but again, I don’t want to spoil too much.)
In a lot of ways, he’s a much better match for Abby. She’s also suffered from a terrible accident that left her stripped of a ballet career. Talivar can understand and sympathize with Abby in a way that Brystion can’t – but that doesn’t mean he’s perfect for her either. (I’ll leave it there, because I don’t want to give anything else away.)
But I’m always interested in finding out what readers do or don’t find appealing about characters. What aspects do you love? Which ones really irritate you?
A Sliver of Shadow
Book 2 Abby Sinclair Series
By Allison Pang
A Sliver of Shadow Blurb:
Just when her new life as a TouchStone – a mortal bound to help OtherFolk cross between Faery and human worlds – seems to be settling down, Abby Sinclair is left in charge when the Protectorate, Moira, leaves for the Faery Court. And when the Protectorate’s away…let’s just say things spiral out of control when a spell on Abby backfires and the Faery Queen declares the Doors between their worlds officially closed.
The results are disastrous for both sides: OtherFolk trapped in the mortal world are beginning to fade, while Faerie is on the brink of war with the daemons of Hell. Along with her brooding eleven prince Talivar and sexy incubus Brystion, Abby ventures to the CrossRoads in an attempt to override the Queen’s magic. But nothing in this beautiful, dangerous realm will compare to the discoveries she’s making about her past, her destiny, and what she will sacrifice for those she loves.
A Sliver of Shadow Excerpt:
“Who’s my little man?” The unicorn crooned at Benjamin and then winced when a hank of beard became the baby’s newest form of entertainment.
“Keep that up and you’ll be a baldy chin,” I retorted. “And I don’t recall asking your opinion. Not that that’s ever stopped you before. Talivar around?”
“Nope, burned the coffee again. Ran out to get more.” A snort escaped him. “He’s even worse at it then you are.”
“Probably something about being a prince and not having to actually cook for himself. At least he’s trying. More than I can say for you.” I stooped to search for my Crocs, pushing through dust bunnies and clumps of what suspiciously looked like unicorn droppings. “Christ, Phin, use the toilet or go outside or something.” I snatched my hand away.
“That’s not me. I think you’ve got mice.” His tone became wheedling.
“I’ll bet. Just clean it up.”
“With what? Gonna turn my tail into a broom?” The furred tuft in question flicked as if to make the point.
“I’m sure you’ll come up with something. Besides, aren’t unicorn horns proof against poison? Purifying water, that sort of thing? Surely something that can bring a dead man back to life can disinfect like Lysol?”
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