Wednesday, November 2, 2011

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

Yeah, we're still at it. Hope you're not tired of the Literary Heroines Who Don't Suck Saga, because we're barely halfway done. Last week we had the Fantasy Arena, which gave us our three Fantasy finalists: Hermione Granger, Courtney Crumrin, and Lady Fire. This week it's Urban Fantasy's turn.

I explained the process as best I could in the Fantasy Arena last time, so if you don't know, go back there and scan it, because I'm not going over it all again. If you want to review the competing chars, revisit the Urban Fantasy edition of LHWDS (the 'Heroine' link).

And the first battling pair of the Urban Fantasy round is... Kerry Nowicki (Companions Of The Night, Vivian Vande Velde) vs. Clarissa "Clary" Fray (Mortal Instruments series, Cassandra Clare)!

Category One. Personality.

Kerry's your definition of average. She's a bit snarky, but no more so than the average teenager. She scares easily, but who doesn't in real life? But she's also incredibly loyal to her family and incredibly brave. She's real.

Clary is your definition of "average." She thinks she's not pretty but is, she floats off into a world of her own in her head, and she's a bit oblivious. A cliché, but she does it well.

Winner: Kerry. At some point during the debate, Clary started whining and Kerry told her told her to get over herself.

Category Two. Fight!

Kerry has no technical training, but she has good instincts. She's had her hands around a gun and knows her way around a desperate brawl.

Clary is very slowly picking things up. She's naturally clumsy, which counts against her.

Winner: Kerry. Clary put up a good fight, but one-on-one isn't a good angle for her.

Category Three. "Kiss Me, You Fool!"

Kerry and Ethan. The. way. to do vampire romance. It's subtle, but obvious. Real, but not overdramatic. Amazing.

I'm a big Jace/Clary fan, and I admit to being a Jace fangirl, but their love story is so complicated and irksome, it's hard to squee over any more. Too many stupid twists and turns. Sure, they may be deeply in love, but it's an awful lot of work.

Winner: Kerry. Kerry and Ethan are so perfect, and all their complications actually make sense.

Category Four. Friends.

Kerry has no good friends. Or at least, none that are mentioned. She's pretty much just got Ethan.

Clary's only real friend is Simon, who, curiously, is the only person who stays human for a significant amount of time. But no matter what species he is, he's pretty cool. He's not, however, very powerful.
Winner: Clary. Simon looked around and waited for a while, but no one showed up for battle. Sorry, Kerry.

Category Five. Urban Fantasy Elements.

Kerry herself is just a human, but she has a powerful vampire friend who owes her a favor or two.

Clary is a dormant Shadowhunter, which means she's stronger than a human, but nowhere near as strong as a trained Shadowhunter or even a vampire, werewolf, etc. She does have abnormal powers though, even for a Shadowhunter.

Winner: Clary. She gotz special skillz.

End Score! Kerry: 3 Clary: 2 Yay, Kerry! You move on to the next round! Don't worry, Clary, Mortal Instruments will always have a special place on my bookshelf.

And our second battling pair is... Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson (Mercedes Thompson series, Patricia Briggs) vs. Claire Danvers (Morganville Vampires, Rachel Caine). First of all, this isn't really fair because Claire is sixteen and Mercy is who knows how old, but definitely an adult and far more experiened. But we'll see how it goes.

Category One. Personality.

Claire is a tough teenager. She goes to college two years early all by herself and endures cruel hazing, so she must be tough. And then she meets the vampires. Plus she's actually smart, and she knows how to use her knowledge. But she's not supergirl either, so she's well rounded. She doesn't need some sadistic childhood to make her interesting.

Mercy, of course, is also tough. She grew up with werewolves, after all. But she's got your basic adult urban fantasy heroine personality: tough, clever, and wears impractical clothing on her book covers. But she's a bit more interesting in the fact that she actually is tough and clever.

Winner: Claire. Mercy's personality may be more assertive, but Clary wins the argument because she makes more sense, and really is just more interesting.

Category Two. Fight!

Physical challenges are not Claire's strong point, but she does good when she needs to. She's not opposed to throwing a punch, but if she ever tried to beat someone up, she'd probably fail.

Mercy, on the other hand, grew up with werewolves. Of course she can defend herself.

Winner: Mercy. Claire didn't stand a chance.

Category Three. "Kiss Me, You Fool!"

Claire and Shane are cute. Not original or spectacular, but cute. Shane's obviously crazy about her, but she's not all he thinks about, and the same goes for Claire.

Mercy follows the tradition of adult urban fantasy heroines by having several love interests, all of different species. But she never actually gets close to any of them, which branches off from the norm, but leaves her with nothing.
Winner: Claire, mostly by default.

Category Four: Friends.

Claire's got the ghost friend, the goth friend, and the boyfriend. And you might even count the two most powerful vamps in town, but that'd probably be stretching it.

Like most adult urban fantasy heroines, Mercy doesn't have a best friend or even any really good friends, but you can count Stefan, a vampire, and Warren, possibly the only gay werewolf.

Winner: Draw. Mercy's friends might be more powerful, but Claire's are more reliable.

Category Five: Urban Fantasy Elements.

Claire actually has none. In fact, she'd be better suited to a science fiction novel, the little genius.

On the other hand, Mercy turns into a coyote.
Winner: Mercy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a TIE. Tie Breaker Category: Drama Queen.

Sure, Claire freaks out plenty of times, but she gets over it. She's a scientist after all. She just looks for the facts, finds them, deals with them, and moves on. No needless drama here.

Mercy's hardly a drama queen, but sometimes she gets immersed in her issues and you get bored. Sure, maybe she's got some interesting backstory, but no one really wants to hear about it in the middle of a murder mystery. Get some closure already.

Winner: Claire. The sixteen-year-old has less drama than the coyote woman? Weird.

End Score! Claire: 3 Mercy: 2 Draws: 1 Congratulations, Claire! Hurrah for the underdog! Don't worry Mercy, you're still one of the best adult urban fantasy heroines.

And our last pair is...Sookie Stackhouse (Southern Vampires, Charlaine Harris) vs. Kaylee Cavanaugh (Soul Screamers, Rachel Vincent)!

Category One: Personality.

Sookie's adorable. She's sweet, but since she can read minds, she's not naive. She can be mean when she has to, and half the time she's just struggling to appear normal.

Kaylee's personality is refreshingly normal, which makes her seem very real. She keeps a clear head in a crisis, but when she lets herself freak out when the situation calls for it.

Winner: Sookie. She's just funner to hang with. Even Kaylee agrees.

Category Two: Fight!

Sookie's no martial artist, but she can take care of herself. In her world, she kind of has to.

Kaylee mostly relies on luck and the element of surprise. But hey, whatever works.

Winner: Draw. Neither do too well against each other.

Category Three: "Kiss Me, You Fool!"

Like every other adult urban fantasy heroine, Sookie has a variety of love interests, but they're all so much better than everyone else's. They're not random shmexy males popping up all over the place and exhibiting strange attraction, they actually have purpose.

Kaylee, however, has one boyfriend, Nash, who made the hate list. Hm.

Winner: Sookie. Every one of her gentlemen friends could beat Nash one-on-one.

Category Four: Friends.

Sookie's got a few of them, Tara, Sam, and others that pop in and out as the series goes on. They all have their moments.

Kaylee's got the human best friend and a reaper friend, Todd, who is pretty darn awesome.

Winner: Sookie. Tara and Sam are very intimidating, and Todd knows when to back down.

Category Five: Urban Fantasy Elements.

Sookie is telepathic with fairy blood. Not something you hear every day. She's also surrounded by vampires, weres, fairies, and just about everything else.

Kaylee is a bean sidhe, or banshee. Also something you don't find every day. The only other creatures she meets are reapers and demons, though.

Winner: Draw. Sookie gets points for being paranormal herself and still having the classic vampires and werewolves, but Kaylee does awesome too for being something very rarely used and doing it well.

End Score! Sookie: 3 Kaylee: 0 Draws: 2 Congrats, Sookie! You proceed to the next round! Ouch, Kaylee, but you still did pretty good.

So our Urban Fantasy finalists are Kerry Nowicki, Claire Danvers, and Sookie Stackhouse! Tune in next Wednesday for the Classic & Historical Heroine Arena!


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