I don’t read as much science fiction and fantasy as I as used to, but it was my favorite genre during my teenage years. I loved diving and escaping into an alternate world or a completely different planet altogether. Scifi and fantasy books were one of the few stories I found that showed me girls (and women) could rule the world. Or the very least kick some butt.
Here are some of my favorite scifi fantasy novels with badass women:
1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is on the top of my list is this classic novel. I discovered this treasure on my own at the library and got sucked into what is now known as the speculative fiction/dystopian genre. Set in futuristic United States, most women are no longer able to bear children. So the upperclass keep “handmaids” to impregnate and call the baby as their own. Offred is one such maid who knows there’s more to life than praying she becomes pregnant to survive the cruel world she lives in.
2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman has a permanent place on my bookshelves. While the narrator is a man/young boy, a young girl drives the story and changes the narrator’s life. It’s a beautiful tale of mystery, dark magic, the Hempstock women who keep evil at bay. Read my full review here.
3. The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lords is billed as a scifi love story, but it’s about how two different people find a common bond, even if they are from two different planets. Just becasue Delura’s job forces her to work with Dllenahkh to help find people to rebuild his race doesn’t me she has to like him. Delura is a no-nonsense, take charge woman. Read my full review here.
4. The Passage and 5. The Twelve by Justin Cronin. It’s no secret that I love The Passage even though it scared the sh*t out of me. In a post-apocalyptic future, the United States is overrun by vampire-like people, created from an experiment gone wrong. In both The Passage and its sequel The Twelve, there are plenty of badass female characters, which is rare in scifi fantasy novels.
6. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin. This multi-layered fantasy novel is intense and beautifully written. The heroine Yeine leaves her barbarian home to travel to the powerful ruling city of the hundred thousand kingdoms. Her long-dead mother has ties to the throne, and soon Yeine is pronounced as heiress to the coveted title. Of course, not everyone is happy about this or about Yeine’s diluted royal blood. See my full review here.
7. The Girl with No Shadow by Joanne Harris. This long awaited sequel to Chocolat is full of dark magic as Yanne Charbonneau attempts to make a new life with Anouk and baby Rosette. The wind blows in a charming but mysterious friend who will change their lives, but not for the better.
8. Dune and 9. Dune Messiah by Frank Hebert. While Paul, the Messiah, gets all the attention in the Dune series, he is surrounded by powerful women: his mother, his sister, his wife, his lover, and the Bene Gesserit. They all play major roles in his rise to power. The series is full of political intrigue and action. Dune is one of my favorite science fiction novel of all time. My copy is well loved.
What books would you add to this list?