Strong and independent females are becoming more mainstream in today’s media and entertainment. Here are five novels that features awe-inspiring female protagonists in the sci-fi/fantasy genre who demonstrates that gender is just a word, and when a woman sets her mind to do something, she usually succeeds.
The Broken Earth Trilogy
by N.K. Jemisin
The first book of the series, The Fifth Season, opens upon a scene where Essun comes home to find that her husband has murdered their infant son and vanished with their daughter. As the novel and series progresses, we discover that Essun possesses powers that could stabilize catastrophic effects caused by climate change. This complex novel is rich with powerful female characters, laced with the intricate use of the earth as a reimagined literal and metaphorical form, and introduces a provocative perspective on social issues that are both timely and convincing. Jemisin’s intriguing use of multiple point of views, especially the daunting use of second person point of view, “you”, this trilogy is a masterpiece and bound to become a classic for avid fantasy readers and realistic feminists alike.
by Naomi Alderman
Selected by President Obama as one of his favorite books in 2017 and endorsed by Margaret Atwood, the legendary multiverse author best known for her novel “The Handmaid’s Tale”, Alderman presents an alternative reality where teenage girls develop a new physical power that could electrify people and capable of awakening that same power in other women. The novel explores the question of “what happens when women become the default and dominant gender of society?”. This is both a provocative and timely piece of work that has been applauded as “one of those essential feminist work that terrifies and illuminates, enrages and encourages”. With brilliant writing and intriguing premise, The Power has been awarded the Women’s Prize for Fiction, which is one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the UK.
A Shade of Magic Trilogy
by V.E. (Victoria) Schwab
This trilogy is written in multiple point of views, whose protagonist, Kell, is a powerful Antari who uses blood magic to travel between the four Londons: red, white, grey and black. We are being introduced to Lila Bard as a main character Kell meets in Grey London on his travels. First branded as a thief, then contestant in a magic competition in Red London, and finally becoming captain of a ship of pirates, Lila Bard is a badass and empowering character that sets every feminist heart on fire. Most interestingly, Lila Bard is said to be one of the few gender-fluid characters in the genre of fantasy, which adds more color to an already spectacularly beautiful story.
Throne of Glass Series
by Sarah J. Maas
Six books in the series (excluding the novellas), this Cinderella-inspired young adult high fantasy is one worth binge reading for any age. The story follows the journey of Celaena Sardothien, who is known as a trained assassin but takes multiple roles throughout the series, including the King’s Champion and Fae Queen. The author introduces many other strong independent female characters throughout the novels, including a witch, a shapeshifter, and a Lady, who all makes difficult decisions and learns to fight for the freedom to choose their own destinies.
by Natalie Babbitt
Although a children’s book, this piece of stunning literature is apt and entertaining for all ages. 10-year-old Winnie Foster discovers the Tuck family, who became immortals by drinking from a spring in the back of her house. This bittersweet story explores the issues of life and death, right and wrong, morality and ethics. It allows us to ponder the effects of cohabiting with nature, and that every person has the power to make their own decisions in life. A short but profound read that leaves an everlasting impression.
These novels are tributes that remind us as women that what doesn’t kill us can only make us stronger.
Contributing Author, Betsy Kwong
Betsy is the managing director of Boon Tea, a California lifestyle brand dedicated to inspiring life through the celebration and appreciation of the arts and culture. She is also the Lead Instructor for Boon Yoga, a yoga method that advocates for the concept of slow living and self-expression with an emphasis on the teachings of Hatha Yoga. Her goal is to help others find the means to lead a purposeful and conscious life. In her free time, Betsy likes to go on hikes with her goldendoodle Bailey, read, and do pottery.