Sandy is the protagonist in the Sandy series (I'm honestly not try to insult your intelligence). Her name is under reconsideration. Sandy is a Sierran slave in Caspar. She's sixteen (sorry, I know the cliche is a little disappointing). She looks younger than she really is. As any slave, she's rather lean, and short, (it is said most of the younger slaves are short due to malnutrition). She has a rat's nest of red hair. She's not much on caring about her appearance, or wearing fancies dresses. Or letting other people do all the work.
She becomes a spy in the slave village. But most of the slaves spies
are caught and hanged within days of their appointment. She's just starting out. So she has some successes, a lot of failures, but she manages to stay alive. As the series progresses, she does become an
excellent spy. She gains a feared name among the enemy and a legend
among her people.
Sandy's one of those character's who existed before her series began. She was a very strong, independent person. And she had very few faults. Let's just say, she came to me when I was around fourteen, so I was very new to writing and creating characters. I didn't know that flaws were good, and actually helpful to the writing process (conflict = story, if the characters have flaws there's more opportunity for conflict to arise).
I began her current story when I was eighteen. She had changed a lot then. Sandy had faults galore. Still does. But as the book progresses, she changes so much. Her view of people changes.
I realize that many people may actually dislike Sandy even after she changes in the first book. Because she goes from having a restrained ferocity to being very humble, almost too humble. She will doubt herself often and get easily discouraged. She seems very determined to other people, but on the inside she needs encouragement. She goes from being insecure on the surface, to being insecure only on the inside. She really has no self-esteem to speak of, and she doesn't ever seem to find any.
But I promise, that strong, independent person she originally was is still in her. She grows over the whole of the series. Dealing with the balancing act of humility and pride, when to give in and when to stand and fight, bitterness and forgiveness, hatred and love, loss, death, hope. This book is different from the Oddball's series, in that it can be very dark at times without many funny parts to lighten it. The whole mood can be more grave.
Sandy is also intelligent and quick-thinking. She tends to be hard on herself too. When she doesn't figure things out before she needs to she always berates herself, even though most people wouldn't have figured out the answer at all.
Before the slave raid that took her captive, Sandy was the daughter of a lord and lady. She had a twin sister, Sierra, named after their homeland. She has no idea what's become of her family. She's not sure she cares. Back home, she was the one who wanted to help the servants work, to be friends with the village children, and she didn't want to act with proper etiquette. She didn't see why people of authority and royalty should be treated different from other people (that idea was one of the ideologies at the heart of ancient Sierran tradition but has in recent decades been lost).
When they were younger, her sister, Sierra, was her best friend. But then Sierra became more aware of what being a lady of the manor was, and the difference between social rank. Sandy understood it too, but Sierra embraced it and Sandy did not. They would argue about it. Sierra would chide her when Sandy insisted on acting below her social status. Considering all this, Sierra was a favorite with her parents, and Sandy was the hopeless one. Though her parents took little interest in the well being of either child, it was Sierra they would present to guests with pride and Sandy was always the other one. The scarlet thread, a Sierran saying that sprang from an old, true story.
I'm not sure what else I can say about her. I love Sandy. She's a conflicted character with plenty of knots just like Seth (his post is coming soon!). The perfect kind of protagonist. Especially for a series. She's learning who she is, what is right and wrong, and where she chooses to stand. A nice muddled mess. Often I feel inadequate as a writer. Like the story is much better than my skill, and I don't do it justice. But I'll get there.
Did I mention that Sandy is part of Seth's training? He trains to be a tracker (I've yet to find something better to call it). So his instructor lets loose some slaves in the woods that are enclosed in the castle walls. Sandy is always one of them. She must be careful not to make it too easy for Seth or impossibly difficult, or else she gets beat for it. What I like best about it, is that they both know each other well. They're arch-enemies even before the war begins.
("People don't have arch-enemies. Not in real life." It's okay this time, Watson. It's a fantasy book.)
What do you think? Does Sandy seem unlikable? Do you have any suggestions for a better name?