The most familiar protag in The Children of Amargosa is JT Austin, the runaway rich boy stranded on Amargosa. Introduced in Gimme Shelter, he is transformed from a spoiled brat to a young man finding himself to a freedom fighter. When the Gelt send their army of conscripts to terrorize and eliminate the colonists, JT has one reason to fight and one reason only: Lizzy Parker. TJ’s first lover, his guide to living on Amargosa, and soon his fiancee, she becomes his reason to pick up a weapon, first in fighting to get to her, then to defend her from the Gelt who overrun her family’s farm. It’s his loyalty to her that eventually impresses Suicide enough to take him under her wing.
Contrast that with Davra Andraste. We meet her literally as she falls out of the sky to Amargosa. She is orphaned by page 2 and has to reach into herself to survive a trip by foot into Lansdorp and pull together her newfound friends. When Eric Yuwono’s training fails him, Davra steps up and leads him, Suvi, Duffy, and Nardino through a pitch black rail tunnel. It is also her that decides to walk to the mountains rather than wait for help that might not come. Suicide tells her that her mind is a valuable weapon.
Within the span of about six days, two teenagers become adults very fast. Book 2 will show how well they handle it.