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Fantastic Females: Fantasy Fiction with Strong Female Characters

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Alphabet of Thorn
by Patricia McKillip Details
As an infant, Nepenthe was abandoned by her mother on the edge of a cliff so high no one can hear the sea below. Nepenthe was raised by the librarians of the Royal Library of Raine, and knows little of the outside world beyond what she reads. She has a gift for translation, and she alone has a chance of translating a newly arrived book, a mysterious tome written in an alien alphabet that resembles thorns. But Nepenthe has fallen in love with the high-born student-mage who brings her the book. And the thorns are exerting a strange power over her--a magic that may destroy not only Nepenthe, but the kingdom of Raine and the entire world.
Daughter of the Forest
by Juliet Marillier Details
As the only daughter and youngest child of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters, Sorcha grows up protected and pampered by her six older brothers. When a sorceress's evil magic ensorcels Colum's sons, transforming them into swans, only Sorcha's efforts can break the curse. Marillier's first novel uses a familiar Celtic legend to tell the story of a young woman's sacrifice for the sake of those she loves and her own discovery of unexpected joy in the midst of sorrow.
Firethorn
by Sarah Micklem Details
A mysterious foundling with unique red hair and strange god-given powers, Firethorn is condemned to life as a powerless servant--or so she believes, until one of King Thyrse's noblemen becomes her lover. But, as she accompanies Sire Galan to war, Firethorn discovers she may have traded one form of bondage for another. A soldier's mistress--even a high-born soldier's mistress--is despised as a "sheath," or camp follower. Also, Firethorn's nasty ex-overlord, Sire Pava, has joined the king's army, and she has made a new enemy in her lover's cousin and closest friend, the sadistic Sire Rodela. However, she and Galan share a fiery love that will surely overcome the opposition of both their personal enemies and their kingdom's enemies. Then Sire Galan makes a strange, heart-shattering wager that may not only ruin his honor but get them both killed.
Goddess for Hire
by Sonia Singh Details
A hip chick from Newport Beach, California, who's just turned thirty and happens to be unemployed and still living with her parents, discovers she's the incarnation of the Hindu goddess Kali. Saving the world, though, might prove to be a curry-scented breeze compared to dealing with her extended Indian family. In their eyes she isn't just the black sheep -- she's low-grade mutton. To make matters worse, despite frequent and therapeutic bouts of shopping and Starbucks, and the mentoring of a Taco Bell-loving, Coca Cola-guzzling swami, Maya has trouble just surviving, thanks to the attentions of a Kali-hating fanatic and a matchmaking aunt hell-bent on finding her a nice Indian boy. Maya has no interest in boys. She wants a man and she may have found one. He's tall, dark, and gorgeous ... and completely uninterested in her. In the name of all that's holy and fashionable ... what on Earth is a goddess to do?
Maid Marion
by Elsa Watson Details
Narrated by a refreshingly bold and independent Maid Marian, the familiar story is retold from a woman's point of view. Virtually sold into marriage by a scheming Eleanor of Aquitaine, Marian Fitzwater enjoys a brief moment of liberty when her teenage husband dies under mysterious circumstances. Her sense of personal fulfillment is short-lived, however, as Marian realizes that another loveless mercenary marriage is being arranged for her. Traveling to Sherwood Forest to seek assistance from the notorious outlaw known as Robin Hood, she hatches a scheme to win her freedom. Meeting as intellectual and spiritual equals, Marian and Robin forge an instant bond that deepens from friendship into love.
Mists of Avalon
by Marion Zimmer Bradley Details
The Mists of Avalon is a legendary saga of King Arthur and his companions at Camelot, their battles, love, and devotion, told this time from the perspective of the women involved. Viviane is "The Lady of the Lake," the magical priestess of the Isle of Avalon, a special mist-shrouded place which becomes more difficult to reach as people turn away from its nature- and Goddess-oriented religion. Viviane's quest is to find a king who will be loyal to Avalon as well as to Christianity.
Monstrous Regiment : A Novel of Discworld
by Terry Pratchett Details
What do you get when you cross a vampire, a troll, Igor, a collection of misfits, and a young woman who shoves a pair of socks down her pants to join the army? The answer's simple. You have Monstrous Regiment, the characteristically charming novel by Terry Pratchett. Polly becomes Private Oliver Perks, who is on a quest to find her older brother, who's recently MIA in one of the innumerable wars the tiny nation of Borogravia has a habit of starting with its neighbors. This peevish tendency has all but expended Borogravia's ranks of cannon fodder. Whether Sergeant Jackrum knows her secret or not, he can't afford to be choosy, as Perks and her/his comrades are among the last able-bodied recruits left in Borogravia. This collection of misfits includes the aforementioned vampire (reformed and off the blood, thank you), troll, and macabre Igor, who is only too happy to sew you a new leg if you aren't too particular about previous ownership. Off to war, Polly/Oliver learns that having a pair of, um, socks is a good way to open up doors in this man's army.
Sabriel
by Garth Nix Details
Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death -- and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own hidden destiny.
Talyn: A Novel of Korre
by Holly Lisle Details
The Tonk Confederacy and the Eastil Republic have been fighting a sorcerous war for years. Talyn is a Tonk soldier who expects to spend her probably none-too-long life fighting. But unexpectedly, the Feegash, traders from the other side of the world, craft a peace between the enemies, and the armies are disbanded. Talyn enters the household of a Feegash diplomat, who helps her treat forgotten Eastil prisoners of war. But as she examines their relationship, Talyn discovers that the Feegash peace is actually an insidious and very deadly form of conquest.
Updated 09/26/2011
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