Saturday, November 15, 2008

Novels about women who kick butt

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, Book 1) by Tamora Pierce
Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, Book 1) by Patricia Briggs
Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, Book 1) By Ilona Andrews

Comic books that I read
Elfquest, Castle Waiting, Bone, Tin Tin, Asterix and Obelix, Fables, Sand Man, Kabuki, Invincible, Nausicaa, Conan, Courtney Crumrin, Scary Godmother, Concrete, Finder, Charm School

57 comments:

MarkW said...

Good strong list, only addition I could make would be Elizabeth Moon's "The Deed of Paksenarrion", which is the best 'rise of a paladin'(female) tale I've ever come across.

BobApril said...

How about Friday, by Robert Heinlein? Also Shards of Honor and Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold, and the entire Honor Harrington series by David Weber.

Elenaria Cuthalion ni Aesin said...

My humble opinion on the matter is that it is a good list (though, Paksenarrion, to me, only held during the first book).

For a comic about a strong woman making no excuses (oh heck, for a bloody good read!) try "Artesia" by Mark Smylie. It only becomes better and better, and the world is amazingly complex, but one doesn't HAVE to know the world - I just accidentally read everything about it that's been printed, just out of curiosity, sort of...

I'll repeat that - "Artesia". It is pure awesome. The roleplaying game (made by the author himself) is good, too.

jim said...

Holy crap, yeah ,shards of honor and Barrayar. Cordeila Naismith doesn't kick ass, she kicked EVERYTHING.

Most of heinleins female characters could would fall into this category, especially Friday and Hazel Stone.

Also, Karrin Murphy from the Dresden files, although shes a secondary character.

Going back a few years, F.M. Busby had a few extremely strong female leads, Rissa Kergulin was one book i believe.

Also, Elizabeth moon tends to have some great female characters.

The Honor Harrington saga.

Dont read: Cally's War by john Ringo, or Anything by laurel Hamilton. THe first was just bad, Hamilton degrades from a great story, book by book, to vampire werewolf erotica. Unless youue into that.

Now you got me thinking.

Tamora said...

Thanks for the pop, Jenny! ::blushes::

I second the Paksenarrion pop, as well as all of Bujold's women, whether they're fighting or not.

I also recommend, from the YA shelves, Kristin Cashore's GRACELING (just out), Holly Black's books for older teens (TITHE, IRONSIDE, and particularly VALIANT), and Alison Goodman's forthcoming DRAGONEYE REBORN.

AngieSykes said...

Invincible and Fables are Excellent.
(I preferred The Immortals series myself)
I really enjoy Patricia A.Mckillip if you are ever looking for something fun. (not that you probably haven't got a huge reading list anyways....) But her novels are mostly one-shots except for "The Riddle-Master of Hed"
But that's a great Trilogy... So no complaints.

Clark said...

I've been reading the "Retrievers" series by Laura Anne Gilman. Wren is a fun character whose abilities steadily grow impressive through the series.

Matt said...

Hah! Finally another person who reads the amazing comic that is Bone! ^.^

Amanda said...

Nice list. I have never read the Song of the Lioness series, I have read The Immortals by her ...a lot... I have re read it so many times now I have lost count, I love it :) lol. I think on my next trip to the book store i'll have to pick up the Lioness series :)

laura said...

I finished the Alanna series...the Immortals series by Tamora Pierce is more juvenile but still very good and that is a good list of comics tehe

dame_mariquette said...

I would have to say the Deed of Paksenarrion, well, dun read it unless you like really long tales. I got bored and it is one of 3 books i could not make myself finish at gunpoint in my life.
Read every one of those books you mentioned and I have to add this one. If made into a movie, it would sell out Star Wars; In Fury Born by David Weber. Also, I second on John Ringo's series about Honor, starting with Basilisk Station. Military/Vigilante sci-fi girl power to the max.

Jennie Breeden said...

Elenaria Cuthalion ni Aesin, heh, I fell in love with Artasia when I was in highschool. I geeked out over Mark at a spx show and stuck my foot in my mouth "you're stuff is amazing for reference" aka "I steel from you". Now his company is publishing the second Devil's Panties graphic novel.

Silverlion Studios said...

I agree with the copious recommendations for Elizabeth Moon

I really adored her Paksenarrion trilogy. Her books in general are good solid reads.

It's funny as most of my "heroes" are actually heroines. From fictional Warriors, superheroines, and the like to real world authoresses, artists, and poetesses!)

I hope that makes sense. Lots of esses! We need more. :D

JAyneeeee said...

Have you ever read Trudi Canavan? Check out her Black Magician trilogy. Another kick ass female protagonist is Joanne Baldwin in Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series. =D

Justin said...

I've read most of these and must say you have really good taste in authors. That's why I'm recommending Kitty Norville Series. Hope you try it. =^~_~^=


http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/CLVaughn/

trufaerie878 said...

If you don't mind things a little on the naughty side a great kick butt female character is in the "Kushiel Series" by Jacqueline Carey.

tigerwolfmagick07 said...

Sorry if this is a double post. The other didn't seem to go through.

If you like Sandman, you should try the spin-off Lucifer. It also has a kick-butt female (she's a secondary character, but still damn awesome).

Also, a veeerrryy strong second for the Kushiel series. It's one of my absolute favorites (especially the first three)!

Elenaria Cuthalion ni Aesin said...

Squeee *fangirl* Jennie Breeden spoke to me! (I should've known you knew about Artesia, of course, that being such an awesome comic!) *swoon*

Ahem.

Where was I? Oh, yes. I do like the Wee Men series by Terry Pratchett, with the young lady with with A Hat Full of Sky among other things, that is a girl with spine! For sci-fi, "Fitzpatrick's War" might not seem the place to look for strong women, but it quite is - only they pretend with smiles and nods that they're not. In "Crossfire" by Matthew Farrer (Warhammer 40K novel - no no, don't write it off just like that!) a decidedly agreeable woman is the main character, and there are two more books about her. I am not a fan of Farrer's writing style, but it was worth reading anyway.
And lastly, "War for the Oaks" (Emma Bull) has a believable, strong main character that stays interesting throughout the book (this IS Bull's debut novel though).
Then again. It is about her being caught up in the war between the Seelie and Unseelie faerie courts, so, maybe I'm biased here... ;)

Tom B. said...

Dame Mariquette, the Honor Harrington books are by David Weber also. John Ringo has the Posleen books, with the O'Neil clan, including Cally. Very strong woman who kicks butt, but only one of many characters and only a main character in 2 or 3 of the books.

Elizabeth Moon has more than one series with strong women. Her Familias Regnant series, starting with Hunting Party, is dominated by strong women. And her Vatta's War series, 5 books just finished, is also full of strong women. And her writing has improved since the Paks books.

And I can second Bujold, including both of her fantasy series, the Laura Ann Gilman, Carrie Vaugh, and Rachel Caine books and/or series.

You can also try Patricia Bray's The First Betrayal, Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Underworld series, Kim Harrison's Hollows series, or Mike Shepherd's Kris Longknife series. (A tall female Miles Vorkosigan is the best description.)

If you like YA, Diane Duane's So you want to be a Wizard has a strong female lead, who is in her early teens. It is the start of a series of very good books. Her Star Trek Rihannsu books are also great, with strong females throughout. And I almost forgot Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire books, the basis of the HBO series True Blood.

Kimi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kimi said...

1. Your comic is awesome and endearing Jennie.

2. You have Tamora Pierce posting on your blog.

I just finished reading Melting Stones, her newest release. Been reading Tamora Pierce since I was like...9 which puts it at 13 years of following her works now. Geez. Amazing stories to read about amazing females when growing up.

Shannon said...

ElfQuest!! Yaaay! One of the only comics I've ever read that has kept my interest over 15 years.

As for books, Esther Friesner edited the Chicks in Chainmail, Did You Say Chicks, and Chicks n'Chained Males series of books which are cute and all have strong female leads. :D

Elizabeth said...

I would also put forward Sabriel, by Garth Nix, and for a short manga series, Magic Knight Rayearth.

Madcutlass said...

I first started reading Geebas then found Devil's Panties.Kinda scary how much I've done similar or exact things, at least I'm not insane all by myself.

I also can't believe you read my aunts comic, that's so cool! and Thank you for reading it!

Keep up the awesome job. <3
--Linda Medley's Niece :)

gearpirate said...

Someone may have already mentioend these but some novels I read a girl and still read frequently: "The Blue Sword", by Robin McKinley, and its sequel, "The Hero and The Crown". I also remember a book called "The Moorchild" from childhood that I found inspiring.

You may also enjoy these graphic novels: Y the Last Man, Transmetropolitan (written by one of my favorite authors, Warren Ellis) and Preacher (Though it is highly offensive to.. pretty much everyone.)

You have spectacular taste in reading material and I love your comics, they inspire me to draw my own. I never have enough money to go to conventions but one day....

gearpirate said...

Sorry, i also forgot Garth Nix's "Sabriel". Beautiful book about a female (good) Necromancer who matter-of-factly deals with demons and struggles into the depths of Death itself.

Cages_or_Wings said...

You should read Sunshine by Robin McKinley (Or Hero and the Crown. Or the Blue Sword).

Sara said...

I love the Mercy Thompson Series and the Alpha Omega series by Patricia Briggs.

I hear that Tamora Piece is a good author but never read any of hers.

Vishanth said...

Bah! So many of the authors I enjoy have already been mentioned...Plus extra points for having Tamora Pierce comment as well.

Who's left..well, in more recent decades, there is Eric Flint and his 163x series - plenty of strong females in there...Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth has plenty, though the series ends kind of wierdly...Mercedes Lackey, I guess, Tanya Huff definitely...Spider Robinson Callahan series certainly had some strong female characters, despite being generally from a male viewpoint...Jennifer Roberson's Tiger and Del books - Del is Tiger's equal and sometimes better swordmaster.
I'm just going down a list of authors alphabetically, I'm prolly missing several.
Hmm. Anne McCaffrey, Janny Wurts and Raymond E Feist (Empire books featuring Mara of the Acoma, though other ones separately are ok too), Martha Wells, Jean Auel's Ayla books, Marion Zimmer Bradley of course....
ok, this is getting long. A few more off the top of my head, which may be a little more obscure - Glenda Larke, Debra Doyle - ooh, Wen Spencer's A Brother's Price had a whole world with a completely matriarchal culture, interesting read in itself, though brief. Oh and a final one is a series I read as a kid, Patricia Wrede's Dealing with Dragons quartet (though I think she has written a few more books recently with someone in a epistolic manner, those should be checked out, too

Stephanie said...

Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede, Cimorene is an amazing princess! I read that series before the Alana books. I think you would really love it!

dame_mariquette said...

Oh, almost forgot, Mooncalled by Patricia Briggs! and Mystic Rider by Sharon Shinn. Faith Hunter's Bloodring and Michelle Sagara's Cast in Secret. All beginnings of series. I can't believe I forgot them. Thanks Tom B for the stuff!

Also, I totally ditto these ppl for these books. I read these through out elementary school to pieces! They allowed me to survive a school of hatred.

" "The Blue Sword", by Robin McKinley, and its sequel, "The Hero and The Crown". I also remember a book called "The Moorchild" from childhood that I found inspiring. " and on Garth Nix's "Sabriel"

punistation said...

"Charm School"

If only Book #2 would come out sometime this decade. I AM ADDICTED TO BUNNY'S ADVENTURES WITH SEXY RESULTS!

Amanda said...

Look what I just got in my email
http://www.randomhouse.com/teens/strangelands/2008contest_signup.html

A contest to meet Tamora Pierce! :)
...wonder if i'm too old for this contest...

Kimichi Tsuzuku said...

Ooo... a chance to pimp out of my enormous Sci-fantasy paperback collection.

I'll second Marion Zimmer Bradley, particularly 'Ghostlight' or the Avalon series. She also edited the 'Sword & Sorceress' anthologies which are all about strong female protagonists.

David Eddings series are epic reads reminiscent of LOTR (without some of the prose) a very good stand alone is 'Redemption of Althalus' otherwise start with 'The Diamond Throne'

Esther Friesner's 'Chick' series are very tongue in cheek reads, though the last one 'Turn the Other Chick' is definitely the weakest.

I can't believe that no one has mentioned either Tanya Huff or Diana Wynn Jones. My favorite trilogy at the moment is the 'Keeper' series by Tanya Huff, its definitely the most humorous with strong female characters and talking cats. She also wrote an excellent vampire series starting with 'Blood Price' that was adapted into a Canadian TV series. This is particularly for those who like 'True Blood'.

Diana Wynn Jones is one of the few YA authors I continue to follow, even after 15 years. I suggest you start where I did with 'Howl's Moving Castle' which was (not very faithfully) adapted into a movie in 2005. I would also recommend 'Deep Secret' (magic breaks loose at British book con) and 'Dark Lord of Derkholm'.

Mercedes Lackey is incredibly prolific with over a dozen different series, so I would suggest starting with 'Fairy Godmother' or 'Oathbound' (sword & sorceress). Another good read would be 'Elvenbane' which she co-authored with the late great Andre Norton.

I wouldn't know where to begin with Anne McCaffery, as most of her series are long and/or interconnected. The only set I would not recommend is the 'Acorna' one mostly because it gets too improbable and feels overplayed.

Robin McKinley is wonderful, there's a four-way tie between 'Beauty', 'Rose Daughter' (retellings of Beauty & the Beast from different angles), 'Spindle's End' (Sleeping Beauty) and 'The Blue Sword'. I haven't had a chance to read her newest books but they're on that Amazon list.

Garth Nix's Sabriel trilogy is an excellent twist on magic & necromancy in fantasy along with two strong female protagonists. I love Lirael and wish he'd go back and write more about that world. Also of note is his 'Keys to the Kingdom' series which oddly enough, reminds me of an old Nickolodeon cartoon, 'Spartakus and the Sun under the Sea' with a strong dash of Harry Potter.

And I can't forget Patricia Wrede. Its a shame that many of her books are rare or out of print. I loved the 'Enchanted Forest Chronicles' with Princess Cimerone & Morwen (and wizards that melt in soapy water) enough to buy it three times (got paperbacks, gave them away when I got hardcover, replaced hardcover when lost). Her latest series is co-written with Caroline Stevemer. Set in a post-Napoleon Europe where magic works, the authors unfold a Jane-Austen-meets-Dumas story via letters exchanged between two cousins.

Now, Laura K. Hamilton... I wouldn't recommend to anyone who did not think that Underworld was the greatest movie ever (in the non-ironic sense).

The problem with Elizabeth Moon's space series is that they become sooo space opera with intertwining stories that jump from character to character in an enormous cast that I would need a flow chart to track who the heck I was supposed to care about by the third book. I would probably have liked them better if they had been told in parallel arcs or some of the melodrama and political upheavals had been downplayed.

I would not recommend either Terry Goodkind's 'Sword of Truth' saga or 'Kushiel's' because the S&M parts were nauseating to contemplate and really creeped me out as I was trying to read them.

Vishanth said...

Hey, now - I did mention Tanya Huff. Plus some others, but you specifically denied anyone saying Huff, so that's the thing that comes to mind first.

Rip Ford said...

My problem with Honor Harrington is that while the first 2-3 books are really good, the series eventually devolves into "how can we physically and emotionally abuse Honor this time". That coupled with keeping track of every character Weber ever introduces in the series, even when nothing particularly interesting is happening to them, really put me off.

Amanda said...

In response to Kimichi Tsuzuku:

Tanya Huff's Blood books as well as the show are nothing like True Blood. True blood is pretty trashy and kinda stupid, while Blood Ties is about a detective that solves crimes with the help of a vampire. Seriously, to think they are alike in anyway is insane. True Blood is full of horrible white trash hicks and the Blood Books/Blood Ties is about a bad ass woman. They really have nothing in common except for vampires.

Also, I love Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake series (even though the newer books are way different than the first in the series) and once again I disagree with the comparison. Underworld is way waaay different than the Anita Blake books. Anita is an ass kicking necromancer and vampire hunter, not some dark brooding vampire, the entire world and storyline are nearly opposite. The series is about solving crimes that involves the supernatural (until it eventually turned into pure erotica), so it is not like Underworld in any way.

Edward said...

A bit obscure but I like the Kencyrath books by P C Hodgel. The main female character Jame is the one that hooked me an reading books with strong female protaganists.

Morgane said...

Seeing Weber mentioned PLEASE read his fantasy stuff 'oath to the sword god ' 'sword gods own' etc. funfunfun though its got nothing to do with strong female leads:).
Have to agree on the comment to Honnor Harington though first few were good after that all the honnor and suffering gets old pretty quickly.
and WHY do they inevitably have to mess up a perfectly fine story with (often tragiy) love interest?? *pet peeve of mine*

Tara said...

Someone else who reads Courtney Crumrin! Woo!

Ekrim said...

Sassinak. 'Nuff said.

Mimmu said...

Have you ever thought of reading any of Anne Bishop's work?

cai11ean said...

Elizabeth Moon's Paks set has already been mentioned, but her entire Herris Serrano timeline is great and filled with strong women kicking butt.

In a more fluffy sense of women doing anything that men can, Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series is chock full. Also her Magician's series (the retelling of fairy tales in victorianish england w/elemental mages). And she's got a couple stand-alone novels like that as well. I keep thinking of the one with Diana Treebold?

I second Heinlein's Friday. His juveniles are full of strong women owrking equally with men. Then there's most of the women characters in Time Enough For Love. There's Hazel in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. And Gwen in The Cat Who Walked Through Walls.

There's a set with a strong female lead about mindspeaking cats and their fellow adventuring humans. The Ghatti's Tale or something like that. I think Gayle Greeno authored those.

Tom B. said...

cai11ean,
Are you thinking of Misty's Diana Tregarde series? There were only 3 books in it, but it is in the same world as her SERRAted Edge books.

cai11ean said...

TomB: Um. No.. I was thinking Sacred Ground with Jennifer Talldeer. Heh. Should have googled first. :D

Roberta said...

I also love Tamora Pierce. And several other of the authors listed by previous posters.

Another good read that's hard to find:
Any book by author Gael Baudino. Her books are definitely 18+ (often dealing with rape and/or war horrors), but all of her main characters are extremely strong leads. Yes, she's definitely feminist, but the books are so incredibly well written you can understand why.

Cory said...

Someone said it, but it was in the middle of a large post, so it lacks emphasis. Try the Clan of the Cave Bear series from Jean Auel. It was also a fairly decent movie starring Darryl Hannah and James Remar from Dexter and Jericho.

WolfWoof said...

I can't say I've read many of the books mentioned in this (exhausting) list so I won't try to judge most of them (though I do plan to look some up :D). I have however read both the Kushiel's Series and almost everything done by Laurell K. Hamilton (I haven't read her first series about sleeping beauty or gotten the newer books yet, maybe for christmas).

On the Kushiel's series, now up to six books set in two pairings of three books each; I will admit it is a bit on the harder edge of fun, but that I think many of you should give it a try. Reading these books help me come to terms with my own penchant for pain, something we all have to some degree. I also think it serves as a great reminder that not all strength means muscles and brawn, or, as the book says, 'That which yields is not always weak'.

As for the works of Laurell Hamilton, her books have changed quite a bit over the course of the story but I think many good points can be found in them. She sometimes even says them outright. Things like the idea of the world making you deal with your issues, and accepting that things you may see as wrong or bad may not be (that part has nothing to do with the sex, get your mind out of the gutter ;P).

However you feel, I think there are very few times when someone should refuse to read a book or series because they have heard someone not like it. We all are very different and we will each have different emmotional and personal ties to everything we read. Try them! If you don't like them, I don't mind. Your liking or not liking something I like does not take anything from me, I just want to share what I see as valuable stories with people I think can appreciate them.


Sorry for the wall of text! I tried to hold back and couldn't.

Where's my medicine...?

-WolfWoof

gearpirate said...

I forgot Sherryl Jordan's "Winter of Fire", a very obscure but fascinating book about slavery, inner strength, Acceptance, courage, and a female pope-figure!

Suzanna said...

OH I am so glad you mentioned Alanna. I just reread the whole series again!

Tamora is such an amazing writer, I went to this thing in my community and she was there and I was super psyched. So yeah I also loved your arc with her in it. /endfangirl

And the sandman is awesome of course...

I really need to read fables, though. It sound fantastic.

sashimidragon said...

Ooh, I love lists like these!

The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead is good too. Lots of butt kicking by one Rose Hathaway. Less by Lissa Dragomir, but she's forgiven because she's crazy.

Tithe, Valiant and Ironside by Holly Black were already mentioned, but they rock, so I had to bring them up again.

Seriously though, Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen by Garth Nix are the best. The dude knows how to write awesome girl characters who do not act like boys with boobs, but still kick some serious ass.

Jennifer said...

another writer to look into is laurall k hamilton , the Anita Blake vampire hunter series is awsome there is I want to say 14 books with more on the way , and she also does a fairy princess that is also a P.I. the merry gentry series and there is about 8 books also with more to come

Black Cherry said...

Tamora Piece is awesome.

ElfQuest is awesome.

Patricia Wrede rocks my socks.

Personally I'd recommend the Black Jewels series by Anne Bishop. It's a little hard for some people to get into at first, but buy the end of the first book you're hooked.

If you're at all into historical fiction, I recommend anything by Phillipa Gregory... and not just The Other Boleyn Girl, though it is a wonderful book.

E Gwynne said...

Another great book/series about a strong, butt-kicking woman is Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison.

Jason Starin said...

Paladin by C.J. Cherryh's

bbr said...

Daemia's children.

Eleanor said...

The bookstore I work for does not stock the Song of the Lioness or the Immortals quartets by Tamora Pierce which I think is OUTRAGOUS, and they suck so much I can't do anything about it.

Other suggestions of good female lead authors are:

Diana Wynn Jones- lovely stories, with clever, brave heroines.

Sheri S Tepper- Really challenges gender roles.

James H. Schmitz- Telzey Amberdon rocks!

The Halfblood chronicles by Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey is great.

And one of my favorite series of all time Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts' Empire trilogy.