Happy international women's day

Happy international women's day.

Today I'm doing a roundup of some of my favourite strong female characters in fantasy books.

Please be aware of spoilers in the summaries below – If you haven’t read the book and don’t want to be spoiled, please skip ahead!

These opinions are my own and you are welcome to disagree! However please be mindful of your comments – we do not tolerate bullying, harassing, or rude or malicious commentary and any comments of the sort will be deleted. Please keep this a kind and constructive space. 

Manon Blackbeak

-        Throne of glass series by Sarah J. Maas

I absolutely LOVE Manon. She is a total badass, plain and simple. She is a fierce, ruthless, powerful, man-eating witch. Need I say more?

I loved her as the cruel, wicked, cunning witch she started out as: -

“Witches didn’t need blood to survive, but humans didn’t need wine, either”.

- and I loved her as the respected leader, who found her heart.

Her journey was so beautiful - her emotional growth, her hope and bravery and acceptance of love, and her ability to change her beliefs and worldview all made her a wonderful character.

I especially loved her bond with the thirteen and Abraxos (oh how much I love the thirteen and Abraxos – I’ll talk about them more another day). I shed many tears throughout her journey but I loved every second of it.

Art credits @nataliebernadart 

shop throne of glasS

 "Wrong kind of witch" mug. 

"Live, Manon, Live" Sweatshirt

Zoya Nazyalensky

-        Grishaverse series by Leigh Bardugo.

I am currently re-reading the Grishaverse books and HAD to talk about Zoya. Zoya starts off as a very flawed and unlikable character. She is unkind, ruthless, and cold. But she is a complex character who also hides good qualities.

Zoya trained at the little palace for 10 years before Alina’s arrival, honing her power and gaining ranking and favour. When Alina arrived, from Zoya’s perspective – she was handed everything that Zoya had worked so hard for and Zoya envied Alina for this.

However, when war began – Zoya had the opportunity to claw back her position as favoured and rise higher than ever before. Alina questions Zoya's stance - telling her: “I’m sure the Darkling would gladly welcome you back at his side”.

Despite everything- Zoya still fights for Alina. “I still don’t like you Starkov. I never will. You’re common and clumsy, and I don’t know why you were born with such power. But you’re the sun summoner, and if you can keep Ravka free, then I’ll fight for you.”

Despite her flaws and caustic personality, Zoya is loyal, brave, intelligent, hardworking and caring. She cares deeply for the wellbeing of Ravka and Grisha. She fought hard for her power and status - which is perhaps why she is so harsh. She knows nothing comes easily and she had to fight hard to earn respect, status and power in her own right.

 Art credits: @eceakalinart

Jude Duarte

-        The folk of the air trilogy by Holly Black

Jude Duarte is one of my all-time favourite female protagonists. She is a woman who knows what she wants, and is willing to do what it takes to get it. I can get behind that!

Jude is ambitious and bloodthirsty, ruthless and passionate, determined and strong. It was refreshing to read about a FMC that was not always doing the “good thing”, whose motivations were not wholly pure, and who was willing to get her hands dirty along the way.

For me, Jude dismantled the idea that a FMC shouldn’t strive for power alone – that there should be some greater motivation that the resultant power and status is only a side effect of.

And although I may not condone her actions and her methods in real life, for a story set in a magical fairy-world, where her humanity constantly put her at risk of being controlled, used, or murdered – why shouldn’t she plot her way to power? Why shouldn’t she kill the males who would seek to do the same to her? It wasn’t even a fair fight, but she turned the tables on them. AS SHE SHOULD.

“If I cannot be better than them, I will be so much worse.”

Jude’s ‘flaws’ only made her more interesting, more human, and more nuanced of a character – and that makes her a brilliant FMC in my eyes. 

Art credits: @frostbite.studios  


Jude Duarte bookmark

Jude Duarte sweatshirt

Who are your favourite female characters in fantasy? Let us know in the comments!

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