Top Ten Tuesday – Female Literary Leads


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.

The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon

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.

The Bone Season Review
The Song Rising Review



Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab

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.

A Darker Shade of Magic Review
A Conjuring of Light Review


Veronica Speedwell Series by Deanna Raybourn

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.

A Curious Beginning Review
A Perilous Undertaking Review


The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

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.



Bitterblue (Graceling Realm #3) by Kristin Cashore

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.

Bitterblue Review


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.

15 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday – Female Literary Leads

  1. I actually didn’t like Lila very much in the beginning but slowly warmed up to her as I kept reading and was totally in love by the end!
    I also am obsessed with Bitterblue even though I have yet to read it! Gotta blame the wonderful book that was Graceling.
    Great post! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lila was a bit difficult to love at the beginning, wasn’t she? I loved her character growth because of that. Seeing her change and blossom into such an amazing character was great.

      I hope you get to read Bitterblue soon. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. While I do adore that book it does have a couple of triggers that bother some people.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The one that is brought up most often is that the story mentions past violence against children. It isn’t explicit and is more of a mention of a past action by another person but it is too much for some people. My sister vehemently hates this book because of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah, got it. Graceling was a very tough read on itself so I was expecting the sequels to carry similar themes that might be a bit disturbing.
        I don’t think it will affect me as I am used to reading historicals where all kinds of messed up stuff takes place. It’s not pleasant to read, of course, but it’s expected by this point.
        Thanks for letting me know, though! I understand it might be very upsetting for some people and it’s great to include that warning in reviews.


  2. I portrayed a young barbarian female warrior in my Fantasy story. If I had just portrayed a series of battles and her winning them, that would have been so cliche and horrible. I tried very hard to create the story based on what she says and does, giving her abilities, but also insecurities, and set her loose


  3. I accidentally hit the send button too soon. What I wanted to say at the end of my post, is, if such a character is driven to win more glory in battle, because she feels it will free her from the constraints she had to live with back home, does she sound like an interesting character?


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