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Fantasy Works Featuring Women Who Fight Back

By Suzi Rogers Gruber (@srgruber)

The characters I like best are often women who do the work that needs doing in spite of the heartbreak and horror that inevitably await them. Whether they are pursuing justice, seeking revenge, or securing their power, these women rise against terrifying forces again and again, even though their chances of survival are just as bad as their chances of success. They scheme and fight and resist until their last breath. They do what they have to do to survive.

Many of the characters on this list are kind of terrifying. Nyx will do anything to stay alive, and not many are left standing with her. Lila is made of weaponized machinery she can’t control. Irene gets and keeps her throne by assassinating the men who threaten her. Onyesonwu’s power is as tremendous as her rage and sorrow. All of them have been underestimated by their foes, assumed to be too weak or too broken to fight back. They fight anyway. They are often unpredictable, violent, ruthless. They have moments of doubt, vulnerability, and heartbreaking loss. They keep fighting.

Sometimes they even win, in the end.

 

WhoFearsDeath 1. Onyesonwu, Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor
 
GodsWar 2. Nyx, The bel Dame Apocrypha (God’s War, Infidel, and Rapture), Kameron Hurley
 
KeepingItReal 3. Lila Black, Quantum Gravity series (Keeping It Real, Selling Out, Going Under, Chasing the Dragon, and Down to the Bone), Justina Robson
 
MidnightRobber 4. Tan-Tan, Midnight Robber, Nalo Hopkinson
 
TheQueenofAttolia 5. Attolia, Queen of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner
 
QuintanaofCharyn 6. Quintana, Quintana of Charyn, Melina Marchetta

 

One comment on “Fantasy Works Featuring Women Who Fight Back

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