• Joe Pace

Favorite Fictional Characters, #99: Gwenna Sharpe


Plus she curses like a sailor.

The Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne by Brian Scott Staveley succeed at an inordinately difficult task: creating an entirely new fantastical world populated with three-dimensional characters, and then weaving a fat trilogy that somehow still isn't long enough. It's a triumph for a new writer in the genre, and I recommend it highly to fans of sword and sorcery literature looking for something fresh and different. There are lots of characters I enjoyed (and some I didn't) in the three books, but my favorite was Gwenna Sharpe.

When we first meet Gwenna, she's a cadet in the Kettral corps, an elite imperial fighting force that is essentially teams of ninjas riding huge ravens. You can read that last sentence again if you need to. Her expertise is with demolitions and explosives, and that makes sense given Gwenna's incendiary personality. She's a touchy spitfire who would punch her way out of a boring conversation. She's not defined by her relationships with any man, or even by her sexuality at all. The Kettral are a thoroughly integrated operation, with advancement based on capability without regard to gender or any other considerations. I told you this was fantasy, right?

Her long character arc reveals the iron beneath the potty mouth and violence, and Gwenna's true calling as a leader emerges. I won't say more here because you'll enjoy discovering it all for yourself when you read the books. Suffice it to say that Gwenna is one of the more fully-realized female characters I've read in a long time.

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