Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Scrolls - Literary Heroines Who Don't Suck, Fantasy Edition

You may remember the hate list I made a few weeks back, listing 12 chars in literature that I can't stand. Another type of char that is usually despicable is the heroine. Heroines are usually annoying little whiners or tough I-can-do-anything-a-boy-can-do jerks, but sometimes there are a few who don't suck. In fact, a few are pretty cool. Originally, I was just going to compose a list of heroines that don't suck, but then I discovered that there were actually quite a few awesome heroines, so I had to divide them up into genres, and I'll be posting each edition for the next few weeks on Wednsdays. But, at the end of it all, I may just start really narrowing it down in an epic showdown, and we'll see which heroines are at the very top of the not-sucking pyramid.

This week's edition: Fantasy. I'll be honest, this was hard. I read a lot of fantasy, and there turned out to be quiite a few awesome heroines, but I managed to narrow it down to 10. This list is by no means absolute, and it's hardly like #1 is significantly more awesome than #6. In fact, this list would probably be different if I'd been in a different mood.

#10. Sabriel from Sabriel by Garth Nix. Sabriel has always been one of my favorite books, and Sabriel herself is part of why. She starts out strong and knowing what she's doing, but she's still a bit new at it all so you get to learn along with her. And the book itself? Awesome.

#9. Stephanie Edgley from the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy. Hey, if Stephanie wasn't smart, she'd never ended up as Skulduggery Pleasant's trainee, let's just put it that way. And the book itself (Skulduggery Pleasant)? Awesome.

#8. Anidori-Kiladra Talianna "Isi" Isilee from the Bayern series by Shannon Hale. Isi is charming. She's in a pitiful situation, but makes the best of it while saving the world. She also gets points for talking to geese. And the book itself (Goose Girl)? Awesome.

#7. Captain Holly Short from Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. Captain Holly Short, a fairy policewoman, so to speak. She's tough, but isn't adamant about it and doesn't go around proclaiming her awe-inspiring ability to knock ten men out with a single blow. And the book itself (Artemis Fowl)? Awesome.

#6. Fire from Fire by Kristin Cashore. Fire is a truly unique char. She's not superwoman, in fact, she's technically a monster, "cursed" with indescribable beauty that gives her control (if she takes it) of just about any man (and maybe a few women too). She learns to defend herself, but is never the best warrior ever, and that doesn't stop her from using her own talents to save the world, so-to-speak. And the book itself? Awesome.

#5. Sophie Hatter from Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Like Isi, Sophie is introduced to a pitiful situation early on, and, like Isi, she makes the best of it and turns out to be completely awesome. She's the best young-woman-cursed-as-grumpy-old-woman you'll ever find. And the book itself? Awesome.

#4. Benevolence "Ben" from Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. Ben leads a very impressive life. She starts out as a fat little thing, a bit piggy and selfish, but when unfortunate circumstances lead her to a life of despair, she starts to teach herself magic and eventually ends up traveling all over a snowy mountain (which certainly gets rid of a few pounds). Ben's character growth is amazing, and she's an enjoyable character all the way through. And the book itself? Awesome.

#3. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Well, obviously she'll be on this list. HP is one of the biggest and best fantasy series ever, and Hermione is definitely one of the (many) reasons why. She's got flaws, she's got character growth, she's got smarts, she's got a feminine side, and she's got a pretty good right hook. And the book itself (Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone)? Awesome.

#2. Flora Segunda from Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce. I don't know why this book is so obscure, because Flora is made of awesome. Bit lazy and likes to eat a bit too much, and she may not be the prettiest thing in the book, but boy does she have a nack for adventure. And the book? Well, awesome.

#1. Courtney Crumrin from the Courtney Crumrin series by Ted Naifeh. Is it weird that the #1 on this list is from a comic book? No, it is not, because Courtney Crumrin is amazing. She's got the whole tainted old soul thing down while still a young teen, and not in a sappy urban romance way. And the book itself (Courtney Crumrin And The Night Things)? Awesome, though in my opinion, the fourth book (Courtney Crumrin's Monstrous Holiday) is actually the best.

And there you have it. Some honorable mentions: Creel (Dragon Slippers, Jessica Day George), Princess Cimorene (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Patricia C. Wrede), Rage Winnoway (Night Gate, Isobelle Carmody), Sydelle Mirabil (Brightly Woven, Alexandra Bracken), Cecelia Rushton (Sorcery & Cecelia, Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer), Katherine "Kate" Talgarth (Sorcery & Cecelia, Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer), Opal Cowan (Opal Cowan series, Maria V. Snyder), Suzy Turquoise Blue (Keys To The Kingdom series by Garth Nix), Mira (Mira, Mirror, Mette Ivie Harrison), Alys (Dragon's Bait by Vivian Vande Velde), Veralidaine "Daine" Sarrasri (The Immortals Quartet by Tamora Pierce), and Jessica Sternhagen (Erratum by Walter Sorrells).

This weekend: a review by Arty! Next Wednesday: Urban Fantasy edition of Literary Heroines Who Don't Suck!


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