Alanna was my first girl-power idol. Even though she kicks a lot of butt with her sword and her magic, her biggest strengths lie in her conviction to do what’s right, her determination to succeed, and her refusal to let anyone dictate what she can and can’t do. Pick up Alanna: The First Adventure for the girl power and stick around for great world building, plenty of adventure, plus swords and sorcery by the bucketload!
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Betsy Cornwell adds that ‘when Alanna and Prince Jon went their separate ways in The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, I was (and probably many other readers were) shocked and slightly heartbroken. Still, it made sense for Alanna to keep traveling and kicking butt as a single knight errant, and Jon, even I had to admit, needed a woman who would be happy to be queen. Enter Thayet, a character every bit as strong and intelligent as Alanna, but with a head for diplomacy and a steadfast, supportive nature that headstrong, stubborn Alanna just didn’t possess. Good “strong female characters” aren’t perfect, and Thayet and Alanna’s varied strengths show just some of the many ways to be a strong woman.’
Astrid’s an unwilling heroine who never believed her mother’s stories about the man-eating unicorns that supposedly prowled around in ancient times. But when the unicorns re-appear, she steps up to the plate and dons her armour without too much complaining. Astrid’s a normal teenager, but she’s also fair, sympathetic, and despite what she might think, a great leader. She’s also got some of the best, funniest dialogue to ever grace the pages of a book, and that coupled with Diana Peterfreund’s superb invented mythology will keep you hooked.
Dru from the Strange Angels series
Shooting your dad takes some serious guts, even when he has been turned into a flesh-eating zombie. Dru’s girl power is mostly due to her resilience, street smarts, and her no-nonsense attitude, but she’s also flawed, which makes her that much more human. Even though she could probably banish a herd of chupacabras blindfolded, she doesn’t have an easy time dealing with the guys in her life—and at least one boy out of the beautiful, seductive Christophe and the charmingly awkward Graves will make a fangirl out of you. (I’m a Graves girl myself!)
Chloe and Maya from the Otherworld YA series
Chloe doesn’t start off with a whole lot of obvious girl power—she’s shy, stutters when she’s nervous, and she’s afraid to stand up for herself. By the end of the Darkest Powers series, she’s grown into both her abilities and her smarts, and no longer lets anyone push her—or her powers—around.
Maya is Chloe’s complete opposite in terms of personality—she’s not at all afraid to speak her mind (which leads to some hilarious conversations with her parents) and she’s an outwardly tough nature-loving girl. She’s also loyal, level-headed, and not about to lose her cool over any guy, let alone bad boy Rafael.
Ellie from Angelfire
One day, Ellie was a normal teenager. The next, she was slaying demons and saving the world. With Ellie, Courtney Alison Moulton strikes the perfect balance between helpless and invincible, immature and unrealistically collected. Instead of running off or suddenly turning into wonder woman, Ellie steps up to the plate by gradually embracing her powers, and the book is more about her journey of self-discovery than her budding romance with her guardian, Will. (Though I’d like some more of that, too, please!)
Evie from Paranormalcy
Evie doesn’t seem like your typical strong-girl character at first—sure, she zaps people with a taser most days of the week, but that taser is bedazzled, pink, and referred to as ‘tasey’. Kiersten White turns the notion that you can’t be both girly and a strong woman on its heads with Evie, who grows into a girl who’s brave, loyal, and butt-kicking without losing her love of all things sparkly.
Who are your favorite girl power heroines from fantasy novels? Tell me who and why in the comments below!
GPB giveaway for a copy of Alanna: The First Adventure and a 'Self-Rescuing Princess' tshirt.