YMMV / The Chrysalids

  • Complete Monster: Joseph Strorm is not a kind man. Even before he leads the hunt to capture his own son, daughter and niece with full and clear intent to murder them he's explicitly a bigoted, unfeeling and supremely narrow-minded tyrant. He takes his world's anti-mutant religious dogma to the point of beating his young son for innocently suggesting something that might be construed as unorthodox. His hatred of mutants is such that even a government agent whose job it is to track down and torture mutants considers him a bigot.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Active, intelligent, cynical group leader Michael tends to stand out as one.
  • Iron Woobie: David is the sensitive, gentle son of a horrible father and an overly stoic mother. He has a secret that would probably ensure instant death if he ever told it to his father, his mother thinks he is a nuisance, he gets savagely beaten up while trying to protect the very few people that he loves... and then he has to deal with the consequences of his secret actually being exposed later into the novel. He still keeps fighting.
  • Moral Event Horizon: It's established early on that Joseph Strorm is a hard, unforgiving religious bigot, but he crosses this line when he brutally whips David to force him to betray Sophie's family. The inspector, arguably, crosses this with the implication that he takes part in the Cold-Blooded Torture of Sally and Katherine to get information on the other telepaths.
  • Never Live It Down: Joseph Strorm once slew a neighbor's tailless cat as a Deviation, without waiting for the outcome of an appeal to the authorites. Then comes confirmation that there is in fact a recognized species of tailless cat with a well-documented history. The inspector is fond of citing this embarrassing blot on Mr. Strorm's Knight Templar reputation.
  • The Woobie: David's Aunt Harriet, who has already given birth to two deformed children and is in danger of being divorced by her husband, if she gives birth to a third. Then there's Rachel, one of the telepaths, who during the climactic pursuit keeps the others in on what's happening back on the home front. Little innocent Petra gets exasperated as Rachel's 'behind-thinks' become increasingly stressed: "She does cry an awful lot, that girl, doesn't she?"
    • Also Katherine and Sally, who undergo torture to the point of death in order to keep the others safe. It makes it all the more heartbreaking that they eventually crack.