Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They’d love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
All blurbs provided in this Top Ten are taken from Goodreads.com I have also marked all YA and MG fiction mentioned in this list, anything not marked with [YA] or [MG] should be considered aimed at “adults”.
This weeks Top Ten topic is:
Top Ten Books For People Who Like The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce
I could cheat and use all the different series Tamora Pierce has written to make up this list – I’m pretty sure there’s something like ten if I include short stories as well – but I won’t. That would be too easy. So this list is going to cover a selection of genres because when I think of Tamora Pierce books I think of kick-ass female heroes, so that’s basically what this list is going to be – ten books who have kick-ass female heroes who are as awesome in their own way as Alanna. The books listed are in no particular order.
Fleabag and the Ring Fire by Beth Webb [MG]
The Queen is dead. No one knows who will succeed her. Someone must find the Queen’s ring within a year and a day, or the kingdom will fall.
The future looks bleak for Gemma the kitchen maid. Apart from the Queen, no one had ever shown her kindness and now the Palace Cook threatens to throw her out of the palace, back into the gutter she came from. Gemma’s only friend is the mangy, streetwise cat Fleabag.
Then the Royal Fire Wielder gives Gemma a strange gift, and the courage to join the quest for the Ring. Armed with the memory of the Queen’s love and urged on by Fleabag, Gemma sets out – her only guidance the memory of a voice:
‘Go north by north-west . . .’
This book has several of my favourite characters in it, not least Fleabag. However, it does have some brilliant female leads. Gemma is the main character of the book, and she is awesome. Seriously. She is a really strong female character, not because she wields a sword of anything like that but because she fights for what she believes. The book also has Lady Rowanne de Montiland, a female knight who plays a really interesting role within the book and the trilogy.
The Magicians’ Guild (The Black Magician Trilogy #1) by Trudi Canavan [crossover YA]
“We should expect this young woman to be more powerful than our average novice, possibly even more powerful than the average magician.”
This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work—until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders . . . and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield.
What the Magicians’ Guild has long dreaded has finally come to pass. There is someone outside their ranks who possesses a raw power beyond imagining, an untrained mage who must be found and schooled before she destroys herself and her city with a force she cannot yet control.
Sonea is a really interesting character. I think she’s a brilliant mix of cunning and naive. She is one of those people who want to do the right thing, yet she’s friends with a thief and takes part in a small rebellion. There is so much going on in these books; there are games within games within games. Sonea is a compelling character, I tore through the trilogy because I desperately wanted to know what happened to her. When I originally read it, it was marked as an adult book but I’ve noticed that it has crept onto the YA shelves with a different cover hence my label of ‘crossover YA’.
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins [YA]
In a dark vision of the near future, twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live TV show called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.
When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
This book moves into the Dystopian genre, rather than the Fantasy of the previous two. Again, Katniss is a strong protagonist and she really pulls the narrative along with her. I think she’s a compelling character, and although at times she can be difficult to understand and relate to she is still utterly believable. And like Alanna, Gemma, and Sonea Katniss is ultimately a survivor. She’s ruthless when she needs to be but there’s also a softer side to her.
Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows #1) by Kim Harrison
Forty years ago a genetically engineered virus killed half of the world’s human population and exposed creatures of dreams and nightmares that had, until then, lived in secret alongside humanity.
Rachel Morgan is a runner with the Inderland Runner Services, apprehending criminals through out modern-day Cincinnati. She is also a witch.
Used to confronting criminal vampires, dark witches and homicidal werewolves, Rachel’s latest assignments – apprehending cable-stealing magic students and tax-evading leprechauns – have prompted her to break her thirty-year contract with the I.S. and start her own runner agency.
But no one quits the I.S.
Marked for death, Rachel is a dead witch walking unless she can appease her former employers and pay off her contract by exposing the city’s most prominent citizen as a drug lord. But making an enemy of the ambiguous Trent Kalamack proves even more deadly than leaving the I.S.
This book takes us into the Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy genre. The Hollows series has some really kick-ass members in its cast – both male and female. There’s something about Rachel Morgan, the protagonist, that really resonates with me. I know that some people have trouble with her and her choices – because boy can she make some “interesting” ones, that make me want to yell at her – but in many ways I think this makes her an interesting and believable character. I also want to give a shout-out to Ivy, who is a totally brilliant vampire and good friend to Rachel. And I know that this has nothing to do with the topic, but you should read these books if only for Jenks – he has some amazing lines that will literally make you LOL.
Size 12 is not Fat (Heather Wells #1) by Meg Cabot
HEATHER WELLS ROCKS!
Or, at least, she did. That was before she left the pop-idol life behind after she gained a dress size or two — and lost a boyfriend, a recording contract, and her life savings (when Mom took the money and ran off to Argentina). Now that the glamour and glory days of endless mall appearances are in the past, Heather’s perfectly happy with her new size 12 shape (the average for the American woman!) and her new job as an assistant dorm director at one of New York’s top colleges. That is, until the dead body of a female student from Heather’s residence hall is discovered at the bottom of an elevator shaft.
The cops and the college president are ready to chalk the death off as an accident, the result of reckless youthful mischief. But Heather knows teenage girls . . . and girls do not elevator surf. Yet no one wants to listen — not the police, her colleagues, or the P.I. who owns the brownstone where she lives — even when more students start turning up dead in equally ordinary and subtly sinister ways. So Heather makes the decision to take on yet another new career: as spunky girl detective!
But her new job comes with few benefits, no cheering crowds, and lots of liabilities, some of them potentially fatal. And nothing ticks off a killer more than a portly ex-pop star who’s sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong . . .
Meg Cabot is a brilliant author whatever her intended audience. This book, and series, are no exception. Heather is a brilliant protagonist. She’s funny, and in a book that’s part detective fiction/murder mystery that was something I really loved.
Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Novel #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton
Anita Blake may be small and young, but vampires call her the Executioner. Anita is a necromancer and vampire hunter in a time when vampires are protected by law—as long as they don’t get too nasty. Now someone’s killing innocent vampires and Anita agrees—with a bit of vampiric arm-twisting—to help figure out who and why.
Trust is a luxury Anita can’t afford when her allies aren’t human. The city’s most powerful vampire, Nikolaos, is 1,000 years old and looks like a 10-year-old girl. The second most powerful vampire, Jean-Claude, is interested in more than just Anita’s professional talents, but the feisty necromancer isn’t playing along—yet. This popular series has a wild energy and humor, and some very appealing characters—both dead and alive.
In a post talking about kick-ass female heroes, how could I not mention Anita Blake?! Anita may at times be a confused, repressed, angry character but she is ALWAYS kick-ass. She is incredibly practical and ruthless, especially as the series progresses, but what I love is the fact that Hamilton has her doubt – herself and others. Okay, this can be little frustrating at times BUT without it Anita would come across as a psychopath/sociopath. The sex scenes may be a little much in later books in the series, but I find Anita such an interesting and likeable character that I can ignore them.
Anita is a kick-ass vampire hunter and animator – she is, after all, referred to as The Executioner in the vampire world.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
For over 150 years, Pride And Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. Jane Austen herself called this brilliant work her “own darling child.”
Pride And Prejudice, the story of Mrs. Bennett’s attempts to marry off her five daughters is one of the best-loved and most enduring classics in English literature. Excitement fizzes through the Bennett household at Longbourn in Hertfordshire when young, eligible Mr. Charles Bingley rents the fine house nearby. He may have sisters, but he also has male friends, and one of these the haughty, and even wealthier, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy irks the vivacious Elizabeth Bennett, the second of the Bennet girls. She annoys him. Which is how we know they must one day marry. The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and Darcy is a splendid rendition of civilized sparring. As the characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, Jane Austen’s radiantly caustic wit and keen observation sparkle.
Elizabeth isn’t kick-ass in the same way that everyone else is on this list. She doesn’t have magic, or wield a weapon for a start. She does, however, use her wits and her words to put people in their place – and to cut them up and down. In my mind Elizabeth Bennett deserves a place on this list just because of that, even if the novel was “modern” or “futuristic”. The fact that it is over 150 years old, well it deserves a special place on this list.
The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa [YA]
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny–one she could never have imagined…Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth–that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.
Meghan is a kick-ass female hero to me because she makes hard choices, AND she sticks with them. A lot of the time female protagonists are faced with tough choices but they go back on them – they have a marriage contract, but they fall in love with someone else and run away with them for example. Also, I really admire Meghan’s determination – even when things aren’t easy, or quick, she still keeps going.
Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) by Richelle Mead [YA]
Sydney protects vampire secrets – and human lives.
Sydney belongs to a secret group who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the world of humans and vampires.
But when Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, she fears she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. What unfolds is far worse. The sister of Moroi queen Lissa Dragomir is in mortal danger, and goes into hiding. Now Sydney must act as her protector.
The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one…
Sydney is a kick-ass female hero. She’s been trained to be. I actually read this book before I read any of the Vampire Academy books, so I have a soft spot for it and its protagonist. I think Sydney is a really interesting character. She wants so much to belong to the world she has been born into, she wants to protect her sisters no matter what the cost, she’s loyal. She is also a tiny bit prejudiced, but considering her hinted background I don’t think it’s too bad.
Bitten (Women of the Otherworld #1) by Kelley Armstrong
Elena Michaels seems like the typically strong and sexy modern woman, She lives with her architect boyfriend, writes for a popular newspaper, and works out at the gym. She’s also a werewolf.
Elena has done all she can to assimilate to the human world, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever, and his legacy, continue to haunt her. Thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to a secret clan of werewolves, Elena must recon with who, and what, she is in this passionate, page-turning novel.
Elena is one of my favourite characters ever. She makes being a werewolf cool. She’s a tad dysfunctional (just a *tad*), but she has a believable reason for being that way. I always melt when I read her interactions with Clay, even when she’s being “difficult”. I can see why people don’t like her, but I think she’s awesome. I love her independence, and I’ve loved watching her grow and change through the series – the Elena in the first book is very different to the Elena in later books.
If you like these series then you may also be interested in these series as they also have some kick-ass female characters in them: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead [YA], Mercedes Thompson & Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs, The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan [YA], The Curse Workers by Holly Black [YA], and Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill.
As always please leave a comment and I will visit your blog, have a look at your list and leave a comment.
Before I go, I would just like to add that at the moment I’m running a July Book Clearance Giveaway on the blog. For more details click the image below.