Fantasy books with creative heroines?
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Greetings! I'm looking for suggestions of fantasy novels whose heroines are creative in some way and have some sort of talent in art, music, or literature. I've seen my share of "tough gals" who know how to swing a sword or throw a punch but have next to nothing in the way of imagination. I'd like to see a few fantasy-genre Anne Shirleys or Jo Marches.
Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite authors because she makes a point of giving most of her heroines creative talents. Even her most "ordinary" heroines have imagination and use it to create. Clodagh from "Heir to Sevenwaters," for example, may see herself as being purely domestic, but she plays the harp and can even compose songs and stories. Creidhe of "Foxmask" can't read, but she can weave stories and make colors. The less ordinary heroines, like Sorcha from "Daughter of the Forest" and Liadan from "Son of the Shadows," are good storytellers. I'm looking for more heroines like these.
I think you would appreciate pretty much everything by Patricia McKillip.
Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic series has characters whose talents at weaving, metalwork, gardening, etc. enable them to do magic.
If you're interested in contemporary-setting fantasy at all, check out Charles de Lint. His heroes and heroines are almost always writers, musicians, sculptors, painters...
in a similar vein to >5, War for the Oaks comes to mind if you want contemporary fantasy.
Maggie Stiefvater's Lament is about a girl who is a musician.
Robin McKinley's characters tend to be well-rounded - the main character in Sunshine is a baker, Mirasol in Chalice is a beekeeper, Lissar in Deerskin does all sorts of things but she's particularly good with dogs, Rosie in Spindle's End carves wood...
Oree in The Broken Kingdoms is an artist. (It's the second book in a series but reading the first is not necessary. Useful, yes. Necessary, no.)
Opal in the Glass series by Maria V. Snyder (starting Storm Glass) is a glass blower. Glass-making also plays a very large part to the plot.
Marianne Dreams is all about a drawing coming to life.
The narrator of The Spellcoats (third in a series, perfectly legible as a stand-alone) is skilled at weaving.
Mercedes Lackey's Fire Rose heroine is a scholar, and in Bardic Voices Rune is studying to be a bard. In P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, Jame is a dancer (and a thief, but still...). And in Moira J. Moore's Resenting the Hero Lee dances (about the only thing she does for fun), and in Heroes Adrift it's the skill that that keeps her and Taro alive and fed.
Thanks for all the recommendations so far! I will definitely be checking some of these out.
Thanks for welcoming a newbie, too.
David Eddings' Polgara the Sorceress has a wonderful leading lady. Eddings knows how to write women better than most male authors I've read. She's also a great character in The Belgariad.
I also love Juliet Marillier, but I've only read her Sevenwaters series yet. Her other books are definitely on my to-read list. I love how dynamic and REAL her characters are.
#14 This might not be well known but he wrote those series the Belgariad & The Mallorean with his wife? Leigh Eddings David Eddings'. And I'll agree wholeheartedly that she's a wonderful leading lady.
I would suggest The Raven Ring Patricia C Wrede or any books by Anne Bishop. I also liked Catherine Asaro and for romance P.C. Cast.
Hope you enjoy them!
An odd one would be
The Interior Life
if i had to compare it to anything else it would be the works of Elizabeth von Arnim.
As Jo Walton says in her review http://www.tor.com/blogs/2010/01/saving-both-worlds-katherine-blake-dorothy-heyd... it would be difficult to imagine a more unlikely book for Baen to publish.
#15 I love The Belgariad but for some reason I stopped after book 2 of The Mallorean. What did you think of the second series? I'm glad David gave credit to his wife, seeing as, if memory serves, his editor told him not to do so? Having a woman's name on the cover is supposed to be a turn-off for men, whom editors feel is their main reading base.
I really liked the The Mallorean more than the The Begariad but I think that's because they go into more detail with the characters. Of course it didn't hurt that I really like to read series, the longer the better lol.
I agree w/others about Patricia McKillip (great author!) and Robin McKinley(love Sunshine!). Midori Snyder- her Soulstring & Innamorati are good. I just read Except the Queen by Jane Yolan and Midori Snyder.. lots of heroines.. lots of non-violent ones :) VERY good book., Elizabeth Ann Scarborough Godmother series may fit.
For young adults, I recommend The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, which begins with Dealing with Dragons.
To borrow humouress's description of the book: Growing up, Cimorene preferred learning magic, fencing and Latin to embroidery, etiquette lessons or how loudly to scream. At sixteen (her fairy godmother having proved equally hidebound), she ran away to become a dragon's princess, instead of having to marry an insipid prince, and has adventures aplenty, including fighting the Society of Wizards.
When the king comes home by Caroline Stevermer has a heroine who is a painter and sculptor/engraver. Lots of other artists feature prominently too.
Magic worked through painting is the theme of The golden key by Melanie Rawn, Kate Elliott and Jennifer Roberson. The heroine of the first section is a painter, and strong women are prominent in the rest of the book too.
Rhapsody is a wonderful story. I just finished the first book of three ( trilogy is Rhapsody, Prophecy and Destiny). The heroin there is a singer or what the book calls a "Namer". Can't wait to go on to the next book.
Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small quartet is a really good exapmle of a book with an imaginitave heroine. Kel manages to get herself in and out of many sticky situations just by using her imagination. i agree with trollsdotter. circle of magic is a story with amazing heroines. anything by Tamora Pierce, really, has fun and clever heroines. i love her book Trickster's Queen. aly has spy training from her father, so she is one of the most original and cunning characters i have ever read about.
If you're willing to try a creative male protagonist, you might want to try the series by John Levitt starting with Dog Days -- it's more what I call Supernatural Fiction rather than urban fantasy -- but many people read both.
It's an original & engaging concept. The protagonist is a former magical "enforcer" who'd rather just be a musician now (he plays jazz guitar), but keeps getting involved in magical intrigue again. Very nicely handled; an interesting twist is that his best magic is improvised, just like his best music.
The other nice feature is his familiar, Louie ("well -- let's call him a dog"). Makes it a great book for animal lovers. Somehow he makes Louie simultaneously very much a dog, but also very much more.
I'm not usually a must-have-it-right-now reader, but when the third novel came out earlier this year, I ran right to the bookstore to get it.
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