7 Fantasy Books with Strong Female Characters

One comment I often hear about fantasy is that it is male dominated. In truth, it sort of is. So many of the stories are set in a medieval-eque setting where it is natural that the main character is a male who goes on a quest and blah de blah. But it doesn’t take much looking to find books that have strong female characters. And I’m not talking about a Jane that is pretty much a Joe except for a name. Because that does happen. A woman might be a the lead character, but has all the characteristics of a man. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes as a woman I want to read about a woman that is like me. You know, she likes fashion and books and even a little gossip. All in all, she is feminine. As I said, there is nothing wrong with those male dominated books or even the ones that have a more masculine female lead. Sometimes you just need something different. So I’ve pulled together 7 fantasy books with strong female characters for you to peruse.
7 fantasy books with strong female characters | Cold Magic by Kate Elliott | The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson | Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson | The Falconer by Elizabeth May | The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley | The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin | Soulless by Gail Carriger | Puppies & Pretties

7 fantasy books with strong female characters

Cold Magic by Kate Elliott: This one has not one, but two strong female characters, albeit very different. Cat and Bee are cousins and best friends but they couldn’t be more different. Cat is outgoing, outspoken and a little headstrong. Bee is strong in her own right, but a little more introverted and an amazing artist. Both are pulled in directions that they don’t want to be in, but they remain strong for each other. This has a steampunk feel with magic and science battling it out in society.
Note: this is a trilogy

Soulless by Gail Carriger: If you enjoy steampunk and dry English humor, you will enjoy this book. Alexia doesn’t quite fit into English society (being part Italian, too tall, and well, soulless). But she lives her own spinster lifestyle until she is pulled into the supernatural community of England including vampires and werewolves. Not only is Alexia her own person, but she also has wonderful relationships with people. This book often made me laugh out loud and it is just plain enjoyable.
Note: This is a series of 5 with a spinoff series as well

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson: I gushed about this book in my top books of 2016. Baru’s island is conquered by the Empire of Masks and completely swallowed by it. She is bright and jumps headlong into the political intrigue that is the Masks. She becomes an accountant and works to follow the money wherever she is sent in the empire. But Baru is playing a long game. There isn’t just political intrigue either; there are alliances, friendships and even a potential romance.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin: Yeine is living her life in some backwater area when she is summoned to the capital city to become a potential heir to the throne. Not growing up in politics, she must learn to quickly navigate the waters or be pulled under. But she makes unlikely allies. This has amazing world building and characters you actually care about with  tackling difficult topics like slavery, ethnicity, and power structure.
Note: this is a trilogy

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson: Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors. Mistborn has a couple main characters, with Vin being one of them. A street urchin that has powerful magic (PS: this series has an amazing magic system) she is part of the revolution to overthrow the Lord Ruler that has ruled for a thousand of years. She is a little broken, but she is strong.
Note: this is a trilogy with a secondary series set 300 years later

The Falconer by Elizabeth May: Another steampunk-esque book set in Scotland, this one is a bit dark. Aileana looks the part of the aristocratic daughter of a Marquess. But her world is turned upside down when she sees her mother be killed by a fae. The fairies in this world are not the nice kind to say the least. Aileana is actually last in the line of female hunters that keep the fae at bay and you know, not massacre the entire human race. But the fae know this too and they want her dead. Aileana not only a bad ass, an aristocrat, but also an inventor. But she doesn’t get all Mary Sue, because there is something that is broken in her. I’m actually starting my re-read of this book because I got the final book from Netgalley and want to immerse myself in the story again.
Note: this is a trilogy with the last book coming out in June 2017

Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley: Throughout high school, I loved reading Marion Zimmer Bradley. Mists of Avalon is an Arthurian tale but told from Arthur’s half-sister, Morgaine, perspective. You get to see the difference between women’s roles in Christian households and the pagan beliefs that had been in Britain for some time.
Note: this is part of a series but can be read alone as each book stands alone (with ties of course)

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23 thoughts on “7 Fantasy Books with Strong Female Characters

  1. Ashley @ Wandering Weekenders

    So you’re the second person to recommend Mistborn this month, so I definitely want to add it to my list. The Falconer sounds really interesting as well, and I’m a huge fan of reading books that are set in Scotland! I also added The Mists Of Avalon to my list as well!

  2. A Mindful Migration

    I started Soulless over Christmas and was enjoying it but got sick and had to return it unfinished. Boo! I need to recheck it out! I love how you put this together. I’ve heard great things about N.K Jemsin, in particular, and want to read her trilogy.

  3. Adriana

    These all sound great!! I haven’t read many fantasy books but I’ll have to check them out!

  4. Jackie Cao

    Everyone should know that the author of “Mists of Avalon” was accused of heinous crimes by her own daughter. You can read about it here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/27/sff-community-marion-zimmer-bradley-daughter-accuses-abuse

    http://deirdre.net/marion-zimmer-bradley-its-worse-than-i-knew/

    I promise am not attacking the author of this article, I just think everyone should know about this before investing their money in a book written by such a person. I love the rest of the recommendations and I’ll definitely be checking out those books! 🙂

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