Eleven of My Favorite Fantasy Books with Strong Female Heroines

4:03 AM

Happy International Women's Day! It's also National Women's History Month in the United States. To celebrate, I thought I'd share some of my favorite fantasy books which have strong female heroines. (There are plenty of books, like the Harry Potter series, which feature strong female characters but for this post I''m going to focus on books with a female protagonist.) My list is in no particular order.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. In this retelling of Cinderella, Ella is cursed with the gift of "obedience", but she doesn't let it stop her as she embarks on a quest to break the curse and save herself.

Sabriel by Garth Nix. When her father goes missing, Sabriel crosses into the Old Kingdom where Free Magic runs rampant and the dead refuse to remain dead. She must take up her father's mantel and confront an old evil.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. Set in Victorian London, the first book of The Infernal Devices series (precursor to the City of Bones series) follows Tessa Gray as she discovers she has the ability to change her form and is caught up in the strange world of the Shadowhunters. Most of Clare's books have strong female protagonists, but I happen to like The Infernal Devices series the best.

Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn. When resentment towards mystics rises in the land of Gillengaria, the king sends the fire-wielding mystic Senneth out to assess the threat to the realm. On her journey, she must fight those who would erase magic forever. Sharon Shinn is one of my favorite authors because all of her books have strong female protagonists.

Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce. When Aly is kidnapped and sold as a slave to an exiled royal family, she relies on the spying skills her father taught her to survive political intrigue, murderous plots, and warring gods. Pretty much all of Pierce's books have strong female protagonists, but Aly is by far my favorite.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. When a member of the royal family is murdered, the court musician Seraphina is drawn into a dangerous investigation which could lead to war between humans and dragons. You can read my full review here.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. To save her sister from an almost certain death, Katniss Everdeen takes her sister's place in a televised battle to the death.

Divergent by Veronica Roth. In a society divided into five factions, Tris Prior joins the fiercest of them all and fights to keep her position. She soon discovers she is different than all the others, which very well might get her killed.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. Facing execution for murder, Yelena is given two options: die or become the Commander's food taster and risk assassination with every meal. She chooses to become the food taster while she plans her escape, but rebel plots and unexpected magical powers she can't control stand in the way of Yelena's freedom.

The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle. When Kate and her sister Emily move to Hallow Hill, where young women have gone missing for thousands of years, she is determined to protect herself and her sister as she goes up against the goblin king.

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. After unwittingly attracting the attention of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a spell which transforms her into an old woman. To break the spell, she badgers a wizard into helping her, strikes a bargain with a fire demon, and faces the Witch of the Waste head on. You can read my full review here.

There you have it. A list of female protagonists who are all strong in different ways but who all save themselves and the world.

Have you read any of the books on my list? What are some other fantasy books with strong female protagonists I should add?

Most of the characters in these books are white heterosexual female protagonists. I'd like to read fantasy books with more diverse strong female protagonists. Do you have any suggestions?

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