Strong women in fantasy books suggestions?

I'm a big fan of the Dragon Age (video game) series and wanted to read a fantasy book similar to that.Comics and manga (even anime since I speak some Japanese) work too. The first book I picked up was The Game of Thrones and then quickly put it back down. Don't get me wrong, it's a compelling, interesting book,but the gender roles are KILLING ME. So I was wondering if you had suggestions for books that are strong fantasy (dragons, elves, magic, etc.) where the female characters aren't stuck in the man's shadows?

WARNING: I do not do well with overly romantic books and female leads. I'm a feminist, which is why I hate most female leads. I want a woman who is believably kickass and who is part of the action and not just in the sidelines.

Any suggestions would be great! And third person with multiple points of view would be nice, but I can work with whatever. :)

7 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    There are actually a number of great high fantasy books with strong female protagonists. Before I list them, you should check out the works of Sherri S. Tepper and Octavia Butler, respectively. Tepper is a definite feminist, and she explores a lot of female-as-leaders themes, especially in The Gate to Women's Country. For Butler, check the book Kindred. Outstanding. Now for the high fantasy, with summaries from

    Alanna, the First Adventure: Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce - Alanna and her twin brother are sent to school, he to be a knight and she a convent lady. Neither of them happy, they switch roles. Soon Alanna, disguised as a boy, is earning the admiration of all for her work ethic and thirst for knowledge. However, a recurring vision of a black stone city that emanates evil plagues her. A four part series, the adventures of Alanna are a great read for younger teens, and a good introduction to high fantasy.

    Dealing with Dragons: the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede - The author plunders various fairy tales in creating the story of Cimorene, princess of Linderwall. Always slighted because of her tomboy behavior, Cimorene willingly chooses to be the prisoner of a dragon rather than suffering as a second-class princess in the castle. Soon, her intelligence and compassion prove make her an invaluable ally to the mostly kind but misunderstood dragons.

    The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley - Aerin is a disappointment to the kingdom: a princess whose "witchwoman" mother bewitched the king and died without leaving a male heir. Aerin upholds her poor reputation with wild behavior. Unexpectedly, though, the long-dormant powers of her mother call Aerin into duty to her homeland that she can't refuse. Rollicking action and a sympathetic protagonist move the story along.

    Into the Land of Unicorns: the Unicorn Chronicles by Bruce Coville - I know what you are thinking. Unicorns? Well these unicorns don't exactly eat clouds and fart rainbows. Cara falls into the land of Luster with a magic amulet, which she must deliver to the unicorn queen. Accompanied by various inhabitants of the land, she makes the journey, overcoming one deadly obstacle after another, including attacks by a dragon and her deadbeat father. Coville creates very compelling characters and smooth dialogue which drive the story.

    The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley - The Arthurian legend is re-told from the point of view of the women behind the throne. Gwenwhyfar (Guinevere) and Morgaine use Arthur as a puppet to promote their respective world views - Christianity vs. Faery, God vs. Goddess, progress vs. the old ways. Ms. Bradley's gift for moving dialogue and descriptive action moves the story along in a way the reader will not forget. Another reminder that men may hold the power, but women often control the men.

    Poison by Chris Wooding - Poison is a black-haired girl with violet eyes who lives in the Black Marshes, a remote human settlement on the edge of the Phaerie Realm. When the girl's baby sister is kidnapped, Poison sets out with her mentor, the elderly Fleet, to rescue her. Foul weather, nasty fairy tale creatures, and horrific situations stand between Poison and a final confrontation with the Lord of Phaerie. A relentlessly dark story that will appeal to those who love Gothic fantasy or horror.

    Sabriel by Garth Nix - In a mystical land, Sabriel takes up her father's duties as a necromancer who returns troubled souls back to the land of the dead. This duty requires her to travel to the realm of Death where she faces all manner of evil beings wishing to escape to the land of the living to wreak destruction. As a bonus, she finds unexpected romance along the way. The way Nix melds a recognizable modern world with one of magic sets this series apart from everything else.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    hehe - oh come on. Cercei turns into quite a character! So does Dany, but it takes time for her to develop.

    In American Gods there is a pretty strong female that you meet about 100 pages in. Don't remember her name but I really liked her. Also by Neil Gaiman is Neverwhere, which is just brilliance.

    To Kill a Mockingbird is young but Scout is great :)

    Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger is really neat. It hasn't got any dragons, unfortunately but some other fantastical stuff going on. I really like it.

    The Hunger Games series is good but there is some romance.

    Sword of Truth series

    Beka Cooper by Tamara Pierce

    Graceling (sorry, can't remember author)

    The Naming - Alison Croggon (great series)

    The Golden Compass - Phillip Pullman

    Eragon - Christopher Paolini

    Source(s): My bookshelf :)
  • 5 years ago

    Almost anything by Marion Zimmer Bradley(Mysts of Avalon, Darkover), Laura K Hamilton(Anita Blake, Merry Gentry), Anne Mc Caffrey, Debora Ross, Mercedes Lackey or Connie Willis (Doomsday book)

  • 9 years ago

    I'm not trying to be sexist, but fantasy books are the WORST when it comes to females. Ugh..they drive me insane. They're either wimpy, helpless girls or unrealistically tough and obnoxiously strong-willed girls. It's hard to find a happy medium.

    I think I'm a little bit of the opposite...I like girls to be strong, but I hate it when authors make them as strong as possible just to cater to "girl power". They come off as unlikable.

    The only immediate fantasy book I can think of with a strong female protagonist is Ella Enchated...but, that's more of a fairy tale type of story. There's also some cool girls in Ranger's Apprentice, but they aren't exactly major characters.

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  • 9 years ago

    the Tortall books by Tamora Pierce tend to be good. there is some romance, but the girls are in no way helpless or weak. they are all third person, except for one of the trilogies. i'd start with the Alanna books, or the prequel, the Beka Cooper books

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    The Tamir Triad is awesome, pretty much everything by that author has strong women in it. You may also like the Sevenwaters trilogy, it's not necessarily an egalitarian society but the women are strong and likeable.

  • Aurora
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    Read FRIDAY by Robert Heinlein. It's not fantasy, more sci-fi, but she is a very strong female protagonist (her name is Friday).

    For more fantasy, read Tanya Huff's ENCHANTMENT EMPORIUM with a strong female protagonist.

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