Ryan and Essie’s plot involves a twist where the two children turn out to have parallel siblings living on the planet Caricanus. Ryan’s parallel sibling is a twin sister named Rianna and Essie’s is a brother who’s two years older than she is, named Ethan. The initial way the story was written had Ethan also being Essie’s twin, but by the time the story was finished it had changed to being a brother only. Maybe two sets of twins running around on this planet just felt like overkill or maybe it was some other reason. Anyway, Ethan looks very similar to his sister and fills the exact same role in the story as Ryan’s twin sister does.
Caricanus is like a mirror world to ours where these kids go to learn about some of the relationships in their lives. So two characters to look at are ones who are closely involved with the twins plot—Viltan and Kalvarina. They are the only two characters who really seem to know Ethan and Rianna before the secret of their identities as related to Ryan and Essie is revealed.
Viltan is someone we don’t know a lot about. He seems to be in his late teens, but could easily be older and just look young because he is not fully human. He is part Kinari, a race that appears in Facets of Fantasy’s story “Jurant,” so he has weird purple eyes. This purple color reflects a lot of his inner ambivalence since it is a blend of two opposing colors, red and blue. Because half-Kinari are rare, Viltan never fit in anywhere and ended up on Caricanus. While he’s not loyal or admirable, to the extent we get to know him through Ryan’s POV, Viltan is close friends with Ethan. He knows that Ethan is human (a secret at the time) though he does not know the significance of this, and he always protects Ethan’s identity.
Kalvarina is the princess of the last castle that the kids visit in the story. Because there is a battle happening and Essie ends up destroying the castle through a mistake, we don’t see much of this castle compared to the lengthy time spent in some of the others. It is in a cold climate and the people there have a harsh warrior culture. Rianna lives alone a little to the north of the castle, in an observatory where she watches the stars. This mirrors her brother Ryan, who is in an observatory when Essie first meets him. Rianna mostly tames Vlagtaffs, a mysterious bird race, and keeps to herself, but Kalvarina seems to know where she lives and comes to ask for her help. She’s the only person shown aware of Rianna’s existence before the end of the book, though it’s possible Kalvarina’s parents might have known.
And there will be more updates.
Those who have read a number of the monthly posts that delve deeper into the characters in each of my books already know that the first of these posts started way back in February. But what’s true about these characters is that there are so many of them, with interlocking little relationships over the (now 10!) books, that discussing just a few of them is like scratching the surface of one of those gift cards where you peel off the silver to see the redemption code. But—well, if you’ve ever owned a gift card and I have to say they are one of my favorite things—after all that scratching you find something you really want to see!
Anyway, the two characters highlighted for Victoria: A Tale of Spain today are the protagonist, this brave young girl who’s sort of a classic heroine in a picturesque setting like 1600s Spain. And of course the villain, King Felipe, who is set against her, and who grew from the idea of a similar character in “Millhaven Castle.” Like Lord Timson, he summons a girl to his castle to protect his throne and plans to set her up. And like Lord Timson he has his work cut out for him.
Victoria is the next-to-youngest of 6 daughters of a Spanish duke. It’s a family very, very much full of girls under the semi-watchful eye of their parents. One sister has run off to get married and the oldest sister kind of has a supervisory position at times. So it’s a bit reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice in terms of the family dynamic and this dynamic is extremely important to Victoria. It's her family that’s in danger and she’s the one who ends up finding a solution. She’s an innocent, spunky girl who proves pretty resourceful when this situation opens up in front of her.
King Felipe is the villain with a 100% chance of failure. And what’s fun about him is that he’s like a real person who's quite insecure. He’s not particularly handsome or interesting although he was born in high circles of life and he’s actually very aware of it. His hysteria over some long-buried factoid about the throne comes from his lack of confidence as a person and whether he deserves what he has. He’s also bad at scheming—fortunately for Victoria and her sisters. But he’s a really funny character and makes the plot zip along once he shows up halfway through.
And there will be more updates.
This is the third installment in the In a Nutshell series of blog posts, which takes some of the central five characters from each book and explores them in a bit more detail. Since the two Palladia books are in a series, I’ll explore them in one post. But there were originally 10 characters discussed regarding these books. So I’ll do five and bundle a couple of them under a shared function in the story.
Sidney shows something that’s important to remember about City of the Invaders—most of the real story takes place behind the scenes and in corners adjacent to the main plot. Sidney's actions in the story embody this truth as he does not appear until the final chapters, but it turns out he has orchestrated the outcome the whole time. He has almost no lines, but what he does say is really terse and to the point. Because he's now in charge, there's little need to say more, and there's a formality and elegance to the way he speaks as he drops in to say hello to these kids he's about to move out of their world into his. 😊
Consuela is vital to the companion story, which is named after her. We are shown few women or girls among the Invaders and they are described as near crime and often not respectable. Consuela appears at least somewhat attractive and has enough useful skills to get hired by a wealthy retired lady and blend in with her boss's friends. Her backstory isn't really known in the book other than that where she came from entire houses could have the same monetary value as the dresses given her by Miss Plummer! But her past actually includes a hidden link to Sidney.
Bruce and Mocha are two teenage starlets who bring the social world of the EC into each book. Although neither of them speak much, what they do say is the center of the scenes in which they appear. Mocha enjoys perfecting and cultivating her creative talent, while Bruce is more action-oriented and holds his own when shooting erupts during a stage performance. He has put a lot of investment into his life in the theater, even if he thinks it's somewhat boring, and others can rely on him to come through.
Miss Plummer appears at first to be mostly a plot device who brings with her a group of friends. These friends believe she does not see them because she does not stop them. As they bubble on the surface, all are too quick to assume they know things about the others—whether Amy really wants them to visit Mocha, whether Rena is really interested in books, and whether Rachel sees more than she pretends. But they don't know much about their elderly benefactor, as is shown by her strange move to make a confidant out of a street girl. Like all the EC, her relationships with the Invaders can be subtle.
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
I write stories about human emotions--about the journey of life. Every step of it can be meaningfully great or simply terrible and you can only reach the end after experiencing many kinds of things that make you grow. Emotional travels are the travels of life and the road of living is not one planned out in notebooks or organized in Scrivener. It is felt in love, hope, and fear and developed through an understanding of why humans go through these. And, on top of that, my stories are adventure stories. History, fantasy, and daily modern situations are all adventures as long as you don't know for sure what's going to happen when you wake up each day. Because that would be like repeating the same day over and over again and who wants to do that?
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