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August 2008

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heyheyrenay in notabookclub

Booking Through Thursday: February 27th

We should all be able to get behind this question.

Who are your favorite female lead characters? And why? [link]

Multiple comments encouraged from anyone who feels it necessary to lay down some serious tl;dr, you know, if you want (where is justira when you need her). Not that we really have any reason to be wordy. >.>


favorite female leads of 2007/08

Best way to answer this question is in order from 2007 to present! I cannot remember anything before that. Much.

Liesel Meminger The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
Brave in a way no child should have to be; bucking the rules in a place where doing so can get you killed, and being aware of this fact but doing so anyway.

Living, even after the end of the world.

Dianora Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay
I realize my reasons for this are 100% spoilerific (although maybe owlmoose will understand?) Concubine or not, I find Dianora fascinating and strong and flawed.

Lyra Belacqua The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
Only the first title in the series, since after Will shows up in The Subtle Knife it's like Lyra fades back. Disappointing, but in The Golden Compass she is bossy, pushy, demanding and wonderfully clever. More girls should go on adventures like this!

Myrtle Mumby, Starcross, Philip Reeve (w/ illus. by David Wyatt)
Starcross had Art and Myrtle this time around, and she was fantastic. Probably one of my favorite female characters ever, who wants so badly to be a proper lady but the quickest to give it up when there's a better way to do something or something she wants. Fi on proper customs. XD

Meg Powers, Long Live the Queen, Ellen Emerson White
Having not read the first two or the last in this series (but they're reprinting some of them! SWEET!) I can't speak for Meg in the rest of the series, but what I do know is that in this book she is 100% brave, ballsy and her smart ass mouth just goes and goes and goes even when in life or death situations. Anyone who is going to be this hardcore about survival is A+ for me.

Nami, One Piece, Eiichiro Oda
Unfortunate truth! I could probably sit around telling people that Nami is awesome, a female character that is important to the story, important to her (predominantly male!) crew, and she could also probably kick some serious ass these days — with one hand. Scary smart on top of everything else, Nami is one of my favorite female characters, well, ever.

How sad that people will miss out on her because One Piece is a manga and also because there are 78462383672 volumes. >.> CRY.

Re: favorite female leads of 2007/08

maybe owlmoose will understand


When I get around to answering this question later tonight I hope, there will be at least one Guy Gavriel Kay character on the list...

Edited at 2008-02-29 03:49 am (UTC)
Art Piratica, Tanith Lee
Okay, I did find the sudden return of all of Art's piratical knowledge to be kind of unrealistic, and I would have liked more of her having to learn her skills, but I loved her personality so much. She was smart-mouthed and didn't let anybody push her around. She was bossy and temperamental but fiercely loyal. Also, she kind of reminded me of a female Jack Sparrow - though a little less insane. And of course, she was absolutely brilliant.

Heaven Samurai Girl, Carrie Asai
She was spoilt at first, because in her place who wouldn't be? But she was also absolutely determined to live, and willing to work herself to the bone to be strong enough. I read these when I was about fourteen, and I know the writing wasn't spectacular, but I remember thinking Heaven was awesome.

Anna My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult
Um, most of the reasons I liked Anna are spoilers, so... let's leave it at, she was precocious but still retained some childish qualities that made her very believable.

Val Valiant, Holly Black
Not only was she strong (as are all my favorite female leads), she was also so believable - rough around the edges and acting all tough, but she had vulnerability, if you dug deep enough. She was independant and resourceful and just insecure enough as to be relatable. She had a backbone of steel. And she was far from shallow, though I can't elaborate for fear of spoilers.

Imogen the Blue Girl, Charles deLint
Once again, Imogen didn't take crap from anybody, and she was resourceful. But the biggest reason I like her is that she was so completely unafraid to be herself and speak her mind. She is of the rare species of human that doesn't just say she doesn't care what people think - she genuinely, honest-to-goodness doesn't give a damn.

Well, that was... long. And you know I'll be back in a while with about five more characters I forgot to mention.
I haven't read The Blue Girl, but Charles de Lint writes women wonderfully. I can't think of a male author who does a better job of getting into women's heads.
I agree with you completely. His female characters are nearly always extremely well-done.
So this turns out to be harder question than I would like it to be, in part because so many of the books I love have ensemble casts, so choosing a "lead" character can be rather difficult. But I will give it a try.

Turtle Wexler The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
My childhood hero. Smart, brave, takes no crap from anyone and understands way more about what's going around her than anyone gives her credit for. But she's real, too, along with all the extraordinariness, and plus, she **spoiler**!! And then in the epilogue you get to see her grow up into kickass and capable woman, which I thought was really awesome then, and I still do. There are some other great women characters in that book, too, particularly J.J. Ford and Sydelle Pulaski.

Jehane The Lions of Al-Rassan, Guy Gavriel Kay
A woman in a man's world in many ways, she forges her own path, choses her own alliances, and never lets the men around her define her. That last bit? Pretty much a requirement for me, in terms of a woman character being awesome.

Arya Stark and Daenerys Targaryen A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin
The women in this series are a mixed bag, but these two are my favorites, not only in these books but among all of literature. Young women, girls really, forced into situations far bigger than they should have to bear, but they both stay strong, take care of themselves and others, and keep looking to the future. The series isn't over, so I suppose the jury is still out, but so far, so good.

Claire Fraser Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
I'm not sure I'm crazy about what happened to Claire in the later books (I'd need to think about that one, a lot), but I definitely admired her in the first three. Another one who's probably in over her head, but she keeps going, makes hard choices, and never shies from the consequences of them.

I suppose it's telling that I've listed three fantasy novels and one YA title...

Edited at 2008-02-29 06:15 am (UTC)