Strong Female Protagonists

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blindaurora
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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby blindaurora » Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:41 pm UTC

If you like SF/Steampunk, you should totally check out Girl Genius. This is a graphic series, which you can buy or read online for free at http://www.girlgeniusonline.com. Try it, I swear its absolutely delightful!

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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby Green Wig » Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:00 pm UTC

One of my favorite SF books is the *Star series by Michael Flynn. The main character is Mariesa van Huyten, a billionaire industrialist with a dream. Firestar is the first in the series, then Lodestar, Roguestar, and Shooting Star.

(Many of my favorite books have female protagonists. I'll have to look for some of the other nominees.)

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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby Charlie! » Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:10 am UTC

Can we assume that I just listed all the Terry Pratchett books where Granny Weatherwax and/or Tiffany Aching kicks ass? Cool. :)
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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby Ebeth » Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:58 pm UTC

My friend Amelia wanted me to recommend some books on here, so here they are.

Freedom and Necessity by Steven Brust and Emma Bull

The War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith

Also, Granny Weatherwax is my hero :D
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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby trickster721 » Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:53 am UTC

Francesca Lia Block is a magic realist who strews adjectives and rose petals all over the floor and rolls around in them, while wearing a torn lace wedding dress and goth boots, but if you can stomach it she's actually quite solid and unique. She gets very vauge or abstract sometimes, but you never quite lose track of what's going on, and it never collapses into a cloud of literary-pretentious flourishes like so many "emotional" writers do.

Apparently she's actually most popular with younger teen girls, which, good for them.

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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby Brianm » Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:07 pm UTC

Some of my favourites:

Jame, from PC Hodgell's Godstalk series. (A great series that far too few people seem to have heard of IMHO)

Jehane - the protagonist of The Lions of Al-Rassan, by Guy Gavriel Kay. A great book - possibly my favourite of Kay's.

A lot of Patricia McKillip's books have strong female protagonists. Also Robin McKinley - you've mentioned the Blue Sword, but Deerskin and Sunshine are worth reading too.

Possibly Jane, from The Iron Dragon's Daughter (Michael Swanwick) qualifies. For certain definitions of strong anyway, though the book (and the protagonist) is probably not to everyone's liking.

For sci-fi, there's also the Steerswoman books, by Rosemary Kirstein, or Joan D Vinge's Snow Queen trilogy.

ChrispyChris
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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby ChrispyChris » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:55 pm UTC

Hmm... first post in a 2yr old thread... is that bad netiquette? I blame everyone who posted in this thread, because I got here via google, and the recs will keep me going for a few weeks. Here are a couple of mine, that I haven't seen in the thread.

L.E. Modesitt, the Spellsong books. Five books, all of them featuring a strong female lead. Fantasy, and all magic is done with music, something rare in most books.
Jo Clayton, the Diadem series, along with anything else of hers you can get your hands on. Science fiction with plenty of fantasy aspects. One warning: The books were written in a time where having a female lead meant she was going to spend a lot of time being raped or abused in other ways, and the books have that, along with more friendly encounters. She also has a number of fantasy books, but I haven't managed to get any of them.
From Tamora Pierce's works, I would recommend the Circle books over the main Tortall series, although I like the Beka Cooper books most out of all her works.

Sorry for extreme thread necromancy?

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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby Zohar » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:15 am UTC

Greg Rucka wrote a comics series called "Queen & Country", about the MI6 (British foreign intelligence organization, same place James Bond works at). The main protagonist is Tara Chace, a "minder", which means she goes out to different places in the world on covert missions, usually to assassinate people. And she's pretty awesome. After some time, Rucka also wrote two novels about the series, which can be read out of context of the series itself (but it helps to know the history). The novels also allow much more inner monologues and character development.
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shalbamo
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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby shalbamo » Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:13 am UTC

The Thursday Next series, by Jasper Fforde. An absolutely ingenious and likable character. The books are well written, funny. supenseful, and gripping. The only Caveat is that you may not like it if you don't know much about literature, but they're written well enough so that you usually understand. :D

wishiwasabear
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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby wishiwasabear » Sun Jan 10, 2010 8:36 pm UTC

I would second most of these, but I'd like to add Tanith Lee, particularly the Claidi journals(Wolf Tower, Wolf Queen, Wolf?) and the Unicorn series(Red Unicorn, Gold Unicorn, ? Unicorn). It's been a long a while since I read them, but the main characters are female, and, from what I recall, pretty strong. She writes for both adults and young adults, and while I would peg her as primarily fantasy, some of her stuff crosses over into sci-fi as well.

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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby ChrispyChris » Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:49 pm UTC

wishiwasabear wrote:I would second most of these, but I'd like to add Tanith Lee, particularly the Claidi journals(Wolf Tower, Wolf Queen, Wolf?) and the Unicorn series(Red Unicorn, Gold Unicorn, ? Unicorn). It's been a long a while since I read them, but the main characters are female, and, from what I recall, pretty strong. She writes for both adults and young adults, and while I would peg her as primarily fantasy, some of her stuff crosses over into sci-fi as well.


She's got quite a list of published books. I'm not sure I want to read the Unicorn books... I blame wiki

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That comes from the article on Black Unicorn. >.>

Going to check out her Wolf books, though.

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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby Platinu Kismet » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:31 pm UTC

Since you added the 'and fantasy' to your criteria I wanted to add a few books I really enjoyed that have strong female main characters. All but the last are urban fantasy but very good.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley is the top of the heap for me. It was amazing.
Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, Book 1) by Patricia Briggs. One of my favorite series that sports a female lead.
Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega, Book 1) by Patricia Briggs. Set in the same world as Moon Called, has different leading characters.
The Becoming (The Anna Strong Chronicles, Book 1) by Jeanne C. Stein. I like this series. A female bounty hunter who gets turned into a vamp. The first 2 are better, imo, than the rest.
Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn is good. Female werewolf who is a nighttime DJ for her own show. Very entertaining.
Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer, Book 1) by Karen Chance. I'm just starting these; I have the 4th one in my pocket. They're not bad but more suited to female readers I think.
The Hob's Bargain by Patricia Briggs. This is fantasy and it's basically the story of Beauty and the Beast the way it should have been told.

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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby Jaylove » Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:53 am UTC

The Millennium trilogy by Steig Larsson has a great female protagonist, Lisbeth Salander. She's definitely one of the more interesting female characters I've encounted in literature for some time.

While it's not anything approaching fantasy, the 3 books are still great reading. The first one is called "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" if anyone is interested in giving it a go - the names of the other 2 books seem to have leaked from my brain.

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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby Marbas » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:34 am UTC

The "Rachel Morgan / Hollows" series by Kim Harrison, starting with "Dead Witch Walking". The "Southern Vampire" series, by Charlaine Harris ("Living Dead in Dallas", etc). Pretty much anything by Laurell K Hamilton. Although the whole 'modern day witchy vampire' thing has been somewhat done to death in recent years, but these three stand head and shoulders above the crowd.


I know it is generally bad practice to make anti-recommendations, but I'm going to have to argue here. Given my love for Urban Fantasy of all types (pretty much the only genre I read regularly, I'm trying to branch out, honest) I found Kim Harrison's work infuriatingly angsty and not a good example of even fluffy Urban Fantasy. I also found the prose to be far too visible. It kept getting in the way of me enjoying the book. Also, here characterization strikes me as quite inconsistent.

As for Laurell K Hamilton? Laurell K Hamilton writes porn. Full stop. That's all it is.

I will agree on the Charlaine Harris rec though.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley is the top of the heap for me. It was amazing.


I loved this book. I re-recommend it too.

The War for the Oaks by Emma Bull


This too. It was my intro to Urban Fantasy.

Also The Orphans Of Chaos trilogy was quite solid. The narrator is tough, but veers dangerously close to the "Nubile young school girl stereotype sometimes".

Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn is good. Female werewolf who is a nighttime DJ for her own show. Very entertaining.


I keep meaning to pick this up, but I never do.

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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby Kewangji » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:43 pm UTC

Jaylove wrote:The Millennium trilogy by Steig Larsson has a great female protagonist, Lisbeth Salander. She's definitely one of the more interesting female characters I've encounted in literature for some time.

While it's not anything approaching fantasy, the 3 books are still great reading. The first one is called "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" if anyone is interested in giving it a go - the names of the other 2 books seem to have leaked from my brain.

The Girl Who Played with Fire, and the Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, for the record.
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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby PAstrychef » Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:45 pm UTC

Much of Charles De Lint's stuff has great female protagonists, especially The Little Country. Sherri Tepper's books-The Gates To Women's Country and Shadow's End and Grass are great as well.
In General Fiction, old but still great are Rumer Godden's Books-In This House of Brede, China Court, and An Episode of Sparrows all offer strong women.
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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby The EGE » Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:04 pm UTC

One of the best thriller novels I've ever read, period, was The Ripple Effect by Paul Garrisson. In a major subplot, the female protagonist (who is 15) sails a 26-foot sailboat halfway across the Pacific Ocean, alone, to rescue her dad, who she has heard one word from since he (supposedly) died year ago. And it takes a month for the armed boatload of mercenaries to track her down, and when her dad comes to rescue her she sets the boat on fire to get away. And then at the end, she starts of sailing around the world alone. Badass.

The Amanda Lee Garrett series by James Cobb. "Arleigh Burke in a skirt".

Amy Nakamura and Vigdis Agustdottir, two of the ensemble cast of Red Storm Rising.

The Little Lady Agency series by Hester Browne
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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby Gopher of Pern » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:32 pm UTC

My favourite fantasy author ever is Sara Douglass. Particularly the Axis Trilogy ( may be called the Wayfarer's Redemption in the U.S.) and the Crucible trilogy. Many strong and complex characters, both male and female. Her stand-alones, Threshold and Beyond The Hanging Wall are great also.

Other than that, Anne McCaffrey gets another vote from me.
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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby natraj » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:04 am UTC

Wait, seriously, Anne McCaffrey? I can barely stomach the Pern books -- well, for a lot of reasons not least of which is they're just terribly written, but among them the completely utterly obnoxious way she portrays most of the women.
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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Jan 27, 2010 4:02 am UTC

Don't forget the Tent Peg incident, completely illustrating that she has no idea how (male) homosexuality works.
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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby JayDee » Wed Jan 27, 2010 4:41 am UTC

Gopher of Pern wrote:My favourite fantasy author ever is Sara Douglass. Particularly the Axis Trilogy ( may be called the Wayfarer's Redemption in the U.S.) and the Crucible trilogy. Many strong and complex characters, both male and female. Her stand-alones, Threshold and Beyond The Hanging Wall are great also.
The Wayfarer Redemption trilogy (Sinner, Pilgrim, Crusader) was a sequel to the Axis Trilogy (Battleaxe, Enchanter, Starman). While full of strong / interesting characters, most of the female characters are strong in the put through hell and survive sense. The protagonists of both trilogies are male, too (there are POV sections from other charcters, but Axis and Drago are the heroes, hence the titles.)

But yeah, great author - my favourite too.
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Re: Strong Female Protagonists

Postby Zohar » Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:39 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Don't forget the Tent Peg incident, completely illustrating that she has no idea how (male) homosexuality works.

Wow, that's really ridiculous.
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