Hey everyone! I just reread The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson (the first book in a Mistborn spinoff series), and since I already reviewed it, I thought I’d do something different this time around and focus on one of my favorite characters in the story.
Marasi isn’t the main character, and she definitely doesn’t fit the mold of your usual Strong Female Character, but I love her a lot, and I want to talk about the reasons characters like her need to exist more often.
A quick side note: TAOL is an adult book, but Marasi’s character is young enough that she makes sense in the context of a YA story as well. For this reason—and because I mostly read YA—this discussion focuses on the tropes I’ve seen in YA stories and how Marasi breaks them.
I’ve tried to avoid any major plot spoilers, so everyone can read this post!
She gets flustered
I love that Marasi gets flustered. It is refreshing to read about a character that tries to take everything in stride but is just a little two awkward to pull it off.
She trips over her words and makes a fool of herself—and it was soooo relatable. As a redhead who turns red at just about everything, I loved reading about a character who blushes.
Importantly, there is more to Marasi than being flustered. If she just got thrown off any time that the guys made a crass joke or that someone shot a gun, I’d be really frustrated with her character.
However, when Marasi gets flustered, she’s aware of it, and she’s wishing that she wasn’t flustered, and she’s finding a way to move past it. In other words, she’s a complex human whose body doesn’t always cooperate but who still has the capacity for logical and creative thought.
She’s geeky, but not in a cliche way
Marasi has the ability to rattle off data about crimes and criminals, and she is studying to become a lawyer, making her somewhat of a nerd in the context of the story.
I loved the geeky side of Marasi. She’s obviously brilliant—not just memorizing facts, but analyzing them in relation to other data—and her deductions about crime helped flesh out the story.
I also appreciated that though she has a powerful memory and a quick mind, she is given a lot of other character traits, so that she is never just the cliche geek character.
She grows, but doesn’t become a stereotypical badass
Like any character, Marasi develops throughout the first book in a lot of meaningful ways. She grows more self-confident and learns how to handle the new world she’s been thrown into.
Most female characters like Marasi would finish book one as a badass. They would probably have learned some fight skills, they would become more confrontational, and they definitely wouldn’t get flustered as easily anymore.
Very little of that happens to Marasi. She grows in other ways, following a different path than most female characters I read.
Yes, she can shoot a gun, and she puts herself into dangerous situations, but she’s still the flustered geek as well. It was nice to have an intensely relatable character develop in ways that still felt realistic for someone like myself.
All in all, Marasi was a different type of female character from what I usually see in action-packed books like The Alloy of Law. She was put in a life-or-death world and she rose to the occasion, but without losing her defining characteristics. She isn’t the stony, take-no-shit protagonist that is so common these days, but she is strong in her own ways. Most of all, she feels human.
I feel like authors shy away from writing characters like Marasi because if they are done poorly, it can feel extremely sexist. However, I love that Brandon Sanderson took the risk and created a well-rounded character.
Just because she gets flustered and has her girly moments doesn’t mean that Marasi is an un-feminist character. In fact, I found that the relatability of Marasi made her an incredibly important character for me; for once, I got to read about someone like myself.