The Kite Runner is a novel with few female characters, and Soraya is perhaps the most sympathetic and complex of them. She is portrayed as intelligent, strong-willed, and courageous. Before meeting Amir, she ran away and lived with a man for a month, an act that caused a great scandal and devastated her parents, particularly her mother, who had a stroke. Soraya felt terribly guilty but was able to face and overcome the consequences of this early mistake.
Among the female characters in The Thorn Birds, the one who most resembles Soraya is Justine O'Neill. Justine is also intelligent and kind-hearted and refuses to let her unfortunate start in life as the daughter of Meggie and Luke hold her back. Soraya's polar opposite in this novel is Mary Carson, a woman who has enjoyed every possible advantage in life but becomes bitter and vindictive, obsessed with causing harm to those around her.
In A Thousand Splendid Suns, the closest character to Soraya is Laila. Laila also rises above her early mistakes, refusing to let them define or inhibit her. She becomes a positive force in the lives of others, finally marrying Tariq and teaching at an orphanage. The opposite of Soraya and Laila is Nana, whose bitterness overwhelms her, leading to her suicide.