10 Awesome Books to Read with Fierce Female Characters
If you've seen "Wonder Woman" and want to keep the dream alive, these 10 fantasies have heroines worthy of hand-to-hand combat—or fighting side by side—with the amazing Diana Prince!
Hunger Games series
Katniss Everdeen took the world by storm partly as a backlash against Bella Swan, the passive, accident-prone heroine of Twilight. Katniss is the ultimate survivor in Suzanne Collins’s dystopia about teens forced into a televised fight to the death, just to amuse the upper classes. Wouldn’t Diana just love Katniss’s self-sacrifice on behalf of her sister? And Katniss would, quite literally, kill for that magic lasso. Here are more young adult novels that adults secretly love.
Moon Called series
Mercy Thompson, a shape-shifter in Washington State who transforms from tattooed car mechanic to coyote, fights off assorted werewolves, vampires, fae, witches, and ghosts…usually in defense of adolescents or children. Though Mercy is more likely to be found in worn jeans than metal body suits, we think Miss Prince would enjoy slumming with her over a beer and meeting some of the hotter members of her pack. These untold stories of Native American heroes will open your eyes.
Song of the Lioness series
Alanna of Trebond is so determined to become the first female knight errant in the Kingdom of Tortall that she switches places with her twin brother before he reaches the castle where he is to begin his training. By the time she reclaims her female identity, she is second to none in her mastery of arms and armor, a force to be reckoned with regardless of gender. We can just see Alanna and Diana swapping swords now. Did you know medieval rituals continue to affect our everyday customs?
Dead Witch Walking series
When Rachel Morgan gets kicked off the supernatural police force of Cincinnati, she crosses the river to the Kentucky side and put out her shingle as a detective, joining forces with a vampire and a subversive, sarcastic pixie. She doesn’t expect her boss to be pleased. She also doesn’t expect him to order a hit on her. Rachel could have used some backup in golden thigh high boots, but with her gift for magic, she’d give as much help as she got.
Game of Thrones series
Too bad Wonder Woman can’t visit the medieval kingdom of Westeros for a day to pick which of George R.R. Martin’s tough broads she likes best: Daenerys Targaeron, mother of dragons; Brienne of Tarth, the tall maiden warrior in armor; Arya Stark, who fled the wreckage of her noble home and became a trained assassin; or possibly Yara Greyjoy, commander of her own longship and then Queen of the Iron Islands. Any one of them is a worthy comrade-in-arms for an Amazon princess! Here are some more great epic fantasies for die-hard Game of Thrones fans.
Katsa can kill a mountain lion with her bare hands. She discovers her gift for fighting at age eight, fending off a would-be molester. But she becomes a kind of prisoner of her own rare ability, or “grace” for combat, forced into service as the king’s bodyguard and assassin. In Kristin Cashore’s lyrical adventure fantasy, Katsa bands together with other Gracelings to protect their most vulnerable member—surely Diana Prince would join them if she could.
Finishing School series
If your favorite part of Wonder Woman was watching Diana Prince stalk around London in a turn-of-the-century costume kicking butt along the way, you’ll love Gail Carriger’s hilarious adventures of incorrigible girls in Regency England who “learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways.” WW herself could easily be an instructress at the school!
Shades of Magic series
In V.E. Schwab’s startlingly original fantasy series, there are four parallel versions of London linked together by magic and accessed only by a few legendary magicians. Miss Delilah Bard, pickpocket, would-be pirate, and street fighter extraordinaire, is not one of them. But she is determined to hitchhike her way from Grey London, poorest in magical resources, to the richer worlds, and, of course, stay alive, which might be somewhat more difficult.
A Wrinkle in Time
Meg Murry has no superpowers unless you count her greatest fault, stubbornness, and a dazzling gift for higher math. Yet in Madeleine L’Engle’s classic, Meg manages to travel through the uncharted universe, fight the principle of evil as personified by a giant pulsing brain, rescue her genius baby brother and her long-lost father, and save the world all in one book. Diana would be proud. And you’ll be riveted, even if you already read this classic back in sixth grade. Did you know it’s easy to read classics for free?
Shadow and Bone series
Have you ever wondered why so many fantasy worlds are based on England? Well, this one takes place in an alternate Czarist Russia, split by the Shadowfold, a swathe of darkness diving the country and infested by supernatural flesh-eating monsters. Military forces and magicians known as the Grisha work together. Much to her surprise, Alina Starkov, a war orphan raised by the State, discovers her own extraordinary ability to control the forces of light…and to protect her childhood friend, a tracker and soldier. We feel sure Diana would approve.