Hi guys, I hope you are all well. As you can already tell from the title, today I am going to be sharing my favourite female protagonists from fantasy books, because when am I not talking about fantasy? Anyway, there are so many amazing leading women in books, I thought it was about time to share some of my favourites. For each character, I have shared the series they are a part of, a goodreads synopsis of the first book and my review of the series if I’ve written one. Let’s get started.
Lyra from His Dark Materials / Philip Pullman / full review
When Lyra’s friend Roger disappears, she and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, determine to find him. The ensuing quest leads them to the bleak splendour of the North, where armoured bears rule the ice and witch-queens fly through the frozen skies – and where a team of scientists is conducting experiments too horrible to be spoken about. Lyra overcomes these strange terrors, only to find something yet more perilous waiting for her – something with consequences which may even reach beyond the Northern Lights…
Misaki from The Sword of Kaigen / M. L Wang / full review
A mother struggling to repress her violent past, a son struggling to grasp his violent future and a father blind to the danger that threatens them all.
When the winds of war reach their peninsula, will the Matsuda family have the strength to defend their empire? Or will they tear each other apart before the true enemies even reach their shores?
Maerad from the Pellinor series / Alison Croggon / review
Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child after her family is destroyed in war. She is unaware that she possesses a powerful gift, one that marks her as a member of the School of Pellinor. It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true heritage and extraordinary destiny unfold. Now she and her new teacher must survive a journey through a time and place where the forces they battle stem from the deepest recesses of otherworldly terror.
Elin from The Beast Player / Nahoko Uehashi / full review
Elin’s family have an important responsibility: caring for the fearsome serpents that form the core of their kingdom’s army. So when some of the beasts mysteriously die, Elin’s mother is sentenced to death as punishment. With her last breath she manages to send her daughter to safety. Alone, far from home, Elin soon discovers that she can talk to both the terrifying water serpents and the majestic flying beasts that guard her queen. This skill gives her great powers, but it also involves her in deadly plots that could cost her life. Can she save herself and prevent her beloved beasts from being used as tools of war? Or must she face the terrible battles to come?
Sabriel from the Old Kingdoms trilogy / Garth Nix / review
Sabriel is the daughter of the Mage Abhorsen. Ever since she was a tiny child, she has lived outside the Wall of the Old Kingdom–far away from the uncontrolled power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who won’t stay dead. But now, her father is missing and Sabriel is called upon to cross into the world to find him, Leaving the safety of the school she has known as home, Sabriel embarks upon a quest fraught with supernatural dangers, with companions she is unsure of–for nothing is as it seems within the boundary of the Old Kingdom. There, she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life, and comes face to face with her hidden destiny.
Ka-poel from the Powder Mage trilogy / Brian McClellan / full review
Field Marshal Tamas’ coup against his king sends corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brings bread to the starving. But it also provokes war in the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics and greedy scrambling for money and power by Tamas’ supposed allies: the Church, workers’ unions, and mercenary forces. Stretched to his limit, Tamas relies heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be Tamas’ estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty will be tested to its limit. Now, amid the chaos, a whispered rumour is spreading. A rumour about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods returning to walk the Earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing…. But perhaps they should.
Sonea from the Black Magician trilogy / Trudi Canavan / full review
This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work-—until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders…and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield. What the Magicians’ Guild has long dreaded has finally come to pass. There is someone outside their ranks who possesses a raw power beyond imagining, an untrained mage who must be found and schooled before she destroys herself and her city with a force she cannot yet control.
Wei Song from Under Heaven / Guy Gavriel Kay / full review
In Under Heaven, Kay tells a story of honor and power, this time in a setting that evokes the dazzling Tang Dynasty of eighth-century China. In recognition of his service to the Emperor of Kitai, Shen Tai has been sent a mysterious and dangerous gift: 250 Sardian horses. Wisely the gift comes with the stipulation that the horses must be claimed in person. Otherwise, he would probably be dead already.
Sorcha from Daughter of the Forest / Juliet Marillier / review
Juliet Marillier’s intensely romantic first novel Daughter of the Forest takes the reader to an Ireland on the edge where history and fairy tale meet. Sorcha, seventh child of a seventh son, finds herself caught up in the manipulations of a wicked and sorcerous stepmother, the whims of faerie and the purely human evil of a fanatical British lord. Acts of kindness have the most terrible of consequences and people’s strongest virtues are used against them.
Vasya from the Winternight trilogy / Katherine Arden
Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil. Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village. As its defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed.
More of my favourites include Noon from the Winnowing Flame trilogy by Jen Williams, Althea from the Realm of the Elderlings series by Robin Hobb, Cywen from the Banished Land series by John Gwynne, Maniye from the Echoes of the Fall trilogy by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Lidan from the Coraidic saga by Alicia Wanstall Burke, Sarine from the Ascension Cycle by David Mealing and Lirael from the Old Kingdom trilogy by Garth Nix.
That’s it for today. I am definitely drawn to fantastic female protagonists, so I’d love to know of you have any recommendations for me. I highly recommend checking out all of the books I mentioned today, if you haven’t already. If you have read any, what did you think of them? I’d love to know what you thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.