Hello hello and welcome to another week of Top Ten Tuesday. The ladies at The Broke and the Bookish are still on their July break so today’s theme is another left to the individual blogger. This Tuesday I am going with Top Ten(ish) Female Literary Leads. These will be books that I have read with strong and influential female characters.
I’ve made it no secret that I adore this series by Samantha Shannon. Our leading lady, Paige Mahoney, displays many of the characteristics I find appealing in a female character. She is cast off by society, told she is less than human, and sent to become a prisoner in what is effectively a slave camp. What happens? She begins leading a rebellion to topple all that is wrong in society and pull those that are different, the voyants, up into the light. Paige is strong, determined, and aware of her fear and uses it to her advantage. One of the best things about Paige is that she is also flawed, she does her best, makes mistakes, and learns from them. She doesn’t give in. For me, she is one of the best female leads in recent literature.
Schwab has received a lot of attention recently and for good reason, she is an amazing author. In her Shades of Magic books we encounter one of my all time favorite female characters, Delilah Bard. Lila is so many things. She is strong, highly intelligent, calculating, self reliant, and unafraid to tackle whatever is thrown her way. Sure, she is also cocky and more than a little rude but that is just more reason to love her. Lila sets the bar high for positive female characters in fantasy.
In Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell series we are given a truly extraordinary character. The books are set in Victorian times when women were still considered little more than a pretty accessory. Ms. Speedwell breaks the mould by being educated and having a successful career. She makes her own money, does her own work, and speaks up for herself at every opportunity. Contrary to the times she is no dainty flower prone to fainting and being delicate, but instead a wild rose. Strong, beautiful, and not easily tamed.
In Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles we have two female characters that deserve recognition. First we have Cimorene, a princess from a land where women were expected to learn needle point and giggle prettily behind dainty fans. Cimorene is having none of that nonsense and instead goes to work for the king of the dragons, go on adventures, and save two kingdoms from evil wizards. She is pretty bad ass.
Also in these books is the witch Morwen. Morwen casts aside all preconceived notions of what it is to be a proper witch, makes her own decisions, and is side by side with Cimorene saving the Enchanted Forest. Both of these characters are prime examples of female strength in literature.
I have probably talked about Bitterblue until I am blue in the face. No matter where I am, where I’ve moved, or what I am doing, picking up a copy of Bitterblue feels like home. Bitterblue is the queen of a kingdom in a state of terrible turmoil. Her people have been lied to, manipulated, used, abused, and murdered all during her father’s reign. This queen, little more than a child, has to find the strength to lead them out of that darkness. Her determination in the face of terrible odds always gives me heart. She doesn’t give up, doesn’t give in, and she is always trying to do her very best and beyond for the people she governs. Bitterblue is amazing.
There are my top five on a Top Ten Tuesday. I did not want to add characters simply for the task of finding ten of them. I wanted to give you characters that I truly thought displayed strength, courage, intelligence, and perseverance. Something I love about the fantasy genre is that, for the most part, it is unafraid to give us shining examples of strong female characters and that is, to put it simply, beautiful.