Keenan is the second-in-command of the Resistance.
Keenan is someone who has a sugar-and-ice personality. He's often described as cold in expression and demeanor. He eventually warms up to Laia and falls in love with her. He is loyal and dedicated to the Resistance. Keenan is secretive, stoic, and at times, self-centered.
Keenan has the even, fine features typical of the Scholars. He is strong, lean, muscular, and about five feet ten inches tall. His most striking feature is his flame-red hair. It spills over his forehead and is so dark at the roots it's almost black. He has deep chestnut brown eyes. Smiling takes years off his face according to Laia. Keenan has freckles on his nose. He moves with a fluid grace.
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Keenan was abandoned as a child, and was rescued by Laia's father Jahan at six-years-old. He has been part of the Resistance ever since.
Keenan, along with Sana and other members of the Resistance, encounter Laia in the catacombs below Serra. He wants Sana to “get rid of her.” But Sana wants to bring her in and help her. When Sana’s hood falls off, revealing her Resistance tattoo, Keenan agrees that Laia can come to their camp, but only so they can drug her to make her forget what happened.
In the Resistance’s hideout, Keenan orders Sana to give Laia neem leaf, which will erase Laia’s recent memory. Sana refuses. Keenan brings Mazen to see Laia. When Mazen refuses to help her, Laia reveals who her parents were. Mazen takes his fellow leaders, including Sana and Keenan, into his chambers to discuss what they should do. When they return to Laia. Mazen explains that in exchange for rescuing Darin, Laia must spy on the Commandant and that Keenan will be her handler. Laia reluctantly agrees. That evening, Keenan and Sana escort Laia to a Resistance operative who works as a slave trader. Before leaving her, Keenan offers her some words of comfort about the loss of her grandparents and gives her the Resistance’s salute, “Death before tyranny.”
Keenan disguises himself as a bag-seller in order to meet with Laia when she comes into town on the Commandant’s errands. He signals to her to go to a side alley leading out of the main square. They make their way to a hideout. He notices Laia’s bruises and is concerned. Laia reluctantly gives Mazen a letter from the Commandant for the couriers’ office. The information inside is useless. Despite the failed first attempt, Laia is given another chance to get information. As they leave the hideout, Keenan gives Laia some basic advice about spying. A few days later, Keenan meets with Laia again. He informs her that Darin is now in a death cell in Serra’s prison, known as Bekkar Prison, and is going to be executed after the new emperor is named. He advises her to meet Mazen the day after tomorrow. Laia insists on meeting with him that night at the Moon Festival. Keenan promises to be there.
After the meeting with Mazen during the Moon Festival, Keenan invites Laia to have a dance with him. As they dance, he explains that he was against her being given the spy mission because he did not want her to go to Blackcliff because he believed she would be caught and killed. He tells Laia that he thinks it is unfair of Mazen to treat her the way he has because of the great things her parents did for the Resistance. The next day, he waits all day in Executioner's Square hoping to see Laia. When he does, he informs her about another meeting, which will be held in eight days. He says he does not know Darin's exact location because Mazen has been hiding the spy reports. He thinks Mazen is planning something else, but questions that possibility because the Resistance lacks the fighters to both stage a big event and rescue Darin. He notices Laia's scar on her chest from the Commandant, and tells her to take pride in it because it means she survived.
Eight days later, Keenan leads Laia to an abandoned shoe shop. He confesses that he has been thinking about her and about them being together. He is about to kiss her when Mazen arrives. When Mazen reveals his betrayal, Keenan acts as if he is on Mazen's side and hits Laia on the temple when she attacks Mazen. When Laia regains consciousness, she is furious. Keenan explains that he was saving her life. He has brought her to a shed and explains everything. He was unaware of Mazen's betrayal. He tells Laia that right after the Resistance's killing of the Emperor, Sana was abandoned by her own faction when she confronted Mazen about Darin. Before leaving Laia to rescue Sana, he gives her a small packet of acid to break her cuffs and tells her to go to the docks and find a galley ship called the Batcat. It will take her Silas, where Keenan will meet her, and they will figure out a plan to rescue Darin.
Keenan was able to catch up with the Batcat the day after it departed from Serra. He was incredibly furious when he discovered Laia had given her spot on the ship to Izzi and was actually with Elias. He was restless since then, concerned only with finding information that would lead him to Laia. Keenan and Izzi were able to track Elias and Laia to the Jutts in the mountains. He insists on going to Kauf Prison with Laia to rescue Darin. He wants to leave Elias behind and find a safe place to leave Izzi so that he can get Laia to Kauf by himself. However, Laia will not leave Elias behind and Izzi refuses to be left behind as well. That night, Keenan disappears into the woods while the others are asleep. Laia follows him and he implores her again to leave Elias behind, but Laia will not change her mind. Keenan reluctantly accepts her decision. Keenan, Elias, Izzi, and Laia journey to Nur to find Afya Ara-Nur.
Keenan manipulates Laia into falling in love with him by preying on her loneliness. He seems to be doing something to Laia's emotions and mental state. He makes her doubt herself in order to make her feel weak and alone. He convinces her that all the bad things that have happened are her fault and that she should let him make the decisions going forward. The more she listens to Keenan, the more Laia feels weaker and diminished mentally. Keenan seems to be able to change her thoughts, especially when she thinks of Elias or wonders what is happening to her mental health and sense of identity. After sleeping with Keenan on their way to Kauf Prison, Laia feels confused. She thinks it's not quite regret, but it's not happiness either. Being with him was "heady, intoxicating, and filled with an unexpected depth of emotion." She wonders if this is what love is supposed to feel like.
- Keenan (Cianán) is a male Irish name meaning "ancient, in the past."
- Laia says Keenan smells of lemon and woodsmoke.