Oh, boy. I have a lot of favorite heroines. Actually, chances are if I rate a fantasy at four or five stars, it’s because the story had a kickass heroine that easily became one of my favorites at the time. Since I make it out of my way to read a lot of the female voices in SFF, I kind of have an overglut of favorite females, a bunch of which come from the same author. So to avoid picking multiple characters from the same author, I’ll choose one from each author.
Top Ten Favorite Heroines From Books
Aerin Firehair (The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley) – Props to my old-skool authors who’ve entertained me and filled my imagination with “Girls Who Do Things.” Aerin started my fascination with redheaded heroines (something I still retain, considering thirty percent of my list consists of redheads), but also my love for women who went off on adventures and being all badass about it. And come on, there are still few female dragon-slayers to note, so Aerin being famed for slaying these grand fiery creatures of legend makes me love her even more.
Alanna the Lioness (Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce) – Like McKinley, Pierce pretty much writes awesome females. As a kid, I read Alanna the First Adventure around the same time I’d read The Hero and the Crown and those two books alone pretty much made up my role models for years on end. Alanna, like Aerin, is a woman who sought to become a warrior. Unlike Aerin, Alanna had to crossdress for years in order to get acknowledged as a knight (because women weren’t allowed to be knights at the time). Alanna is also a redhead, has the temper of a volcano, and the magical acumen of a prodigy. She also manages to snag a few male leads as romantic interests, and was pretty much in a love triangle for a good few books, but I didn’t care.
Sabriel (Abhorsen series by Garth Nix) – I still ping-pong back and forth between Sabriel and Lirael, but since I really got into the books because of Sabriel, I’m ultimately going with her. Sabriel is a necromancer, one in a long line of necromancers responsible for keeping the spirits of the dead away from the living. Her story starts the moment she realizes that her celebrated father goes missing, and in order to find him, Sabriel leaves her ordinary life at a finishing school to brave the magical Old Kingdom to the north. Like the first two females on this list, Sabriel is also a warrior and wields a sword as part of her Abhorsen duties.
Fire (Fire by Kristin Cashore) – I promise that this is the last redhead on my list! Between Katsa and Fire in Cashore’s Graceling universe, I’ve always loved Fire more, mostly because I loved the idea of her character. Half-monster, half-human, Fire is practically unique, possessing the qualities of her monster father and the human gentleness of her mother. She is formidable and uses her mind and physical traits to get out of situations. Plus, she has a super-scary skill of mind-control, yet somehow her fear of fully becoming a monster stays her hand.
Vin (Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson) – The Mistborn was obviously going to make it on my list, because duh, she’s a frelling Mistborn. Vin has always been a favorite character of mine ever since the first book of Sanderson’s trilogy, and will probably remain one of my favorites for quite a while. While the above female heroines grew up with a degree of prestige, Vin was not so lucky. Born by a prostitute in the lowest of slums, Vin was no stranger to abuse and criminal activities, and it is Kelsier’s discovery that changes Vin’s life. Turns out the girl can burn all sorts of metals, which is a rare thing in the Mistborn world. From there, Vin undergoes some hardcore training, which makes her one of the most powerful warriors in the trilogy.
Yelena (Study series by Maria V. Snyder) – I love Yelena. She comes off as a tragic character, sentenced to death for killing a nobleman in self-defense (the sleazeball totally deserved it). As an alternative to execution, Yelena is given the option of becoming the Commander’s food taster, a risky position considering there is the great possibility that the Commander’s food is filled with poisons. Yelena takes the risk anyway, and throughout Poison Study, Yelena makes it out of her way to hone her skills and train her body in order to survive. Also, it turns out she has magic (and who doesn’t love a girl with magic?!).
Eliza Braun (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris) – Eliza is definitely a girl who takes matters into her own hands, and she’s not afraid to get down and dirty so long as she comes out on top of things. Her surname befits her, because she is the “muscle” in the duo that consists of herself and Agent Books. I mostly love her because she keeps dynamite in her bulletproof corset.
Mercy Thompson (Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs) – A mechanic and a coyote who runs with the wolves and is unafraid of the supernaturals living around the Tri-States! Of the women on my list, she’s probably the closest to the “modern” woman. Well, probably because she’s a character in an urban fantasy, and the females there tend to try to emulate the real world more so than a girl in a non-technological universe.
Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas) – Celaena is a renowned assassin. If that didn’t make me love her already, the fact that she manages to stand her own against guys vying for King’s Champion would probably make my love for her skyrocket to extremes. That said, assassination is hardly her only specialty. She likes to read, too, which is totally a huge plus. Oh, and magic. Yes.
Karou (Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor) – Blue-haired Karou is probably the most recent of my favorite females, and mostly because of her human aspect, not so much because of her previous demon life. To be honest, I probably adore Karou because she has made a great friend in Zuzana, and Zuzana is practically my favorite sidekick character ever.