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Character Concepts: Mara de la Puente

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

Understanding Characters from Dissent

Mara is supposed to be a hard individual to love in the beginning. Though she is our main character and we follow the entire series through her point of view, she's kind of a whiney baby. But that's what helps to make her character transformation so big and important.

Dissent begins with Mara living in Telvia, a dystopian country ruled by a totalitarian government. In this world, she is the daughter of Raul de la Puente, the ruthless dictator, and has been raised within District 1 among the nobles and elite. But despite her status and riches, her life has been a hard one.

As we quickly learn, Mara is a bastard child, the product of one passionate night. And this truth makes her a target for her step-mother. Although Belinda has allowed Raul to raise Mara in the Presidential Palace as their daughter, this cruel mother-figure has been allowed to use corporal punishment as her primary method of disciplining Mara throughout her life. As a result, Mara carries a whole lot of trauma, leaving her with classic insecurities that children in this environment often face: feelings of being unwanted, unlovable, broken, and abandoned.

These insecurities cause Mara to always seek the approval of her father and brother, and makes self-preservation one of her primary motives throughout book 1 of The Dissenter Saga.

As one Beta Reader said, "Mara has some serious demons she's fighting with." And this is absolutely true! But don't give up on her. You may not like her in the beginning. Hell, you might not even like her in the middle, but she grows on you.

"Ok, it took awhile, but she redeemed herself. I like her now." -Kassandra B., Beta Reader

We all have demons, and those demons can make us act in undesirable ways. But understanding why we act and react the way we do helps us to better understand our path to growth and self-development.

Mara may be a character in a dystopian romance novel, but she is based off of the real stories of thousands of people who are raised in trauma and abusive households. Her growth and development follow genuine, psychological paths that individuals recovering from trauma go through every day.

Mara's story is murky and gray, and her moral and ethical code are questionable. But as she descends deeper into the rebel cause of the Dissenters, she begins to learn new motivations to live life. And this new path takes her through her character arc, transforming her from the inside out.

Did you love reading about Mara? Do you want to know more about her story?

Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about Telvia, Mara, and the rest of the Dissenters. And don't forget to add Dissent to your "Want to Read" bookshelf on Goodreads.

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