Amber Kim - Name and Appearance

Image by Jacek Abramowicz from Pixabay

Let The Sun In

Amber’s full name is Sun Amber Kim. Her mother has chosen to use the Western naming convention where the given names precede the surname rather than the other way around. Amber prefers to use her middle name, mainly because she’s teased by racists at school for having an unusual first name.

Lucy Knight’s name features elements of both brightness and dark but I very purposefully wanted Amber’s name to reflect just the light, literally and figuratively.

“Sun”, in Korean, means “goodness”, a trait typically association with light. Of course, in English the Sun literally provides light and, given my love of layers of meaning, it was a perfect choice.

“Amber” is a vivid colour, based on the hue of the resin from which it gets its name. Tree resin preserves anything trapped within. In this way they’re wee vessels containing information, just like girl-geniuses!

And “Kim”, the Romanised version of 김, means, among other things, gold. It’s a very common Korean surname which again suited my purpose. Amber is very ordinary in many ways and extra-ordinary in others—and we’ll see just how extra-ordinary as the series progresses.

Pretty Much

In many ways, Amber is everything Lucy is not. Amber is thin. Amber has long, effortless hair. Amber is conventionally pretty. However, Amber is also not white in a world where, much like our own, whiteness carries privilege.

Writing female leads I felt it also important that they be presented through their own eyes, and not any outside gaze, especially a (heterosexual) male gaze. Thus I don’t make much of Amber’s prettiness because it felt inauthentic for her character. She’s so ruled by her head for the first few books that she doesn’t consider her own attractiveness, or even sexual orientation.


Initially I was going to have Amber wear her Hearth High school blazer, white blouse, and skirt everywhere. It was intended a nod to her obsessive formality—she was so prim that she was always literally in uniform. It was also meant to reference Manga and similar media where Asian girls in school uniform are prevalent. Yes, they’re often sexualised but wearing the uniform would have been Amber’s choice rather than for the benefit of another’s gaze.

Bonus Round

All that said, I don’t regularly mention what the characters are wearing so if it doesn’t clash with what’s on the page so Amber is very well wearing that uniform everywhere.