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7 Fantastic Fantasy and Science Fiction Heroines

by | March 13
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi | 7 Fantastic Fantasy and Science Fiction Heroines

With Women’s History Month in full swing, what better time to shine a light on some fantasy and science fiction heroines? While these characters are not perfect (really, is anyone?), they all have qualities deserving of admiration. Below, I’ve highlighted one trait about each heroine—but this, of course, does not mean that there aren’t overlaps aplenty. Also, I tried to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, because what’s life without twists and surprises? (To be fair, it’s still life, just a less exciting version of it…) There are sooo many heroines out there with traits worth striving to possess. Below are a few!

After you read through this list, hit us up on Facebook (@GetLiterary)Twitter (@get_literary), or Instagram (@get.lit.erary) and tell us your thoughts. There are so many heroines to choose from, and this list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. What women in fantasy and science fiction would make it onto your own list? What traits do they possess that we should aspire to?

And if you’re looking for even more kick-ass characters to channel, check out “5 Must-Read Books for Women, Featuring Strong Females.”

Image: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Scythe

Scythe

by Neal Shusterman

Citra Terranova from Thunderhead: Compassionate

In a society in which humanity has conquered everything, including natural death, how do you maintain population control? You create the position of a scythe, of course—someone tasked with killing a certain number of people each year (I promise you, it’s less gory than it sounds). Teenagers Citra and Rowan are both chosen to study under one of the scythes, an apprenticeship neither sees coming. The catch is that only one of them will be allowed to continue on as a scythe...and the other may end up losing their life.

Now, you may be asking yourself how somebody whose very occupation is “murderer” can be even a little compassionate. And yet somehow, Citra manages it, ensuring that she gives each person she kills a dignified death and not taking pleasure in any of it. She also displays compassion toward her friend Rowan, even when he may be behaving questionably. If someone whose job it is to kill people can still manage compassion, what’s to stop the rest of us (who are hopefully not in the business of murder)???

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The Belles

The Belles

by Dhonielle Clayton

Camellia Beauregard from The Belles: Determined

In the world of Orleans, people are born with gray skin, straw-like hair, and red eyes. “Beauty” is the ultimate commodity, and Belles are blessed with the gift of dishing it out…for a price. Belles work all over the kingdom, but only one gets to be the Queen’s favorite. Unfortunately, being the Queen’s favorite and living in the castle might not be as beautiful an honor as it appears…

Camellia Beauregard is the protagonist of this young adult fantasy. She is many things (headstrong, a talented Belle, etc.), and one of them is determined. She doesn’t allow very much to get in the way of reaching her ultimate goal: to be deemed the Queen’s favorite. Not failure, not deception, and certainly not a boy. Whether your goal is to gain the favor of a queen or finally make a dent in your ever-growing TBR list (seriously, when did you get so many books?), there’s no achieving it without determination.

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Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone

by Tomi Adeyemi

Princess Amari from Children of Blood and Bone: Brave

The Maji—people with magical powers—were wiped out years ago by the fearful king in a bloody raid. To this day, their children—diviners—are unable to activate their own magic and are treated as second-class citizens. Not all is hopeless though, for if a certain band of teenagers succeed on their quest, they may actually be able to bring magic back to the land of Orisha and put an end to the king’s tyranny.

As one might guess from her title, Amari is a princess, daughter of the tyrannous king himself. She has experienced her father’s cruelty firsthand, but she’s always been too afraid to do anything about it. However, when someone she loves dearly pays a steep price for crossing her father, it’s time for Amari to transform into the Lionaire.

What’s even more admirable about Amari’s courage is that she doesn’t use it for her own personal gain: she’s fueled by a moral compass and a desire to make things right. It takes quite a lot of guts to stand up against your own parent (especially if that parent is King Saran), trust strangers, etc., but Amari’s got guts in tons. So next time you’re nervous about something like telling a server they got your order wrong or asking for that raise you definitely deserve, channel Princess Amari and let your inner Lionaire ROAR (respectfully, of course).

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Red Queen

Red Queen

by Victoria Aveyard

Evangeline Samos from the Red Queen series: Multi-faceted/Multi-layered

Some quick background on the world of the Red Queen series: Silvers have it all—magic...power...prestige. Reds have nothing. That is how the Kingdom of Norta works. What, then, are they to make of Mare—a poor girl (and the main character) with red blood and powers like a silver?

Evangeline Samos is a Silver (those with silver blood) who can manipulate metal and is a member of the very powerful and high-ranking House Samos. Anyone familiar with this series may find Evangeline to be an odd choice to include on a list like this. After all, she is set up as an antagonist to the main character of the series, Mare. However, as the series continues, the reader will realize that there’s more to Evangeline than meets the eye. She’s ambitious and she’s rude, but she’s also willing to do absolutely anything for her brother and the one she’s in love with. To be clear, this is not to justify her behavior or actions—she definitely has her faults (as all these heroines do). She simply serves as a good reminder that we don’t (and shouldn’t) have to be just one thing. Just as there are different shapes and forms to metal, there are different forms to each and every one of us.

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City of Bones

City of Bones

by Cassandra Clare

Clary Fairchild from City of Bones: Tough

It began with witnessing a murder that no one else seemed to be able to see. Add strange tattoos and even stranger weapons to the mix. And then an attack by demons. Just what kind of craziness has Clary Fairchild stumbled upon???

I don’t know about you, but I’d be terrified if I witnessed a murder (especially one that I couldn’t even prove ever happened). Or if a close family member went missing. Or ya know, if I found out that angels and demons and all supernatural monsters exist. Yet despite all this—and a whole lot more—Clary manages to keep rolling with the punches. I don’t know about you, but truthfully, I can’t guarantee I’d ever get out of bed again, if it were me. Just keep reminding yourself: If Clary can face demons, I can face this task I have to do (even if it may feel like dealing with a demon of your own!).

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The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy: Resourceful

Twenty-four teenagers—two from each of the twelve districts of Panem—must compete in a specially designed and dangerous arena, for the world to see, and only one can come out alive…. Welcome to the Hunger Games. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Admittedly, this story has been around for over a decade at this point. But think about it...would this be a list of fantasy/sci-fi heroines without “The Girl on Fire”??? Katniss displays her resourcefulness even before she enters the arena. When she was younger, her dad died and her mother became a shell of herself, so what did Katniss do? She learned to hunt, trade on the black market, and scrounge for food in any way she could, of course! Unsurprisingly, Katniss’s resourcefulness is further displayed while she is participating in the Games. While we, ourselves, may not be undergoing the Hunger Games, the ability to use the tools at your disposal is very handy—even if just trying to get through school/work!

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Trail of Lightning

Trail of Lightning

by Rebecca Roanhorse

Maggie Hoskie from Trail of Lightning: Fierce

Monsters are everywhere in Dinétah (what was once the Navajo reservation) and nobody is safe. When a little girl in a small town goes missing, they need a fearless (and supernaturally gifted) monster hunter. Enter: Maggie Hoskie, monster killer extraordinaire.

And our main character Maggie fights and kills them, y’all….like actual, non-human monsters. And she does it without batting an eye (for the most part). Not only is she a monster hunter but, as she lets the reader know, she’s “more of a last resort, a scorched-earth policy...the person you hire when the heroes have already come home in body bags.” (Can we take a second to appreciate those words? Anyway...) If that’s not enough to convince you, perhaps the striking image on the novel’s gorgeous cover will. We may not ourselves confront monsters like the ones in the story, but we all, from time to time, fight something that feels impossible to beat. Let’s promise each other to stay fierce through it all!

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Foyinsi Adegbonmire interned on the children’s editorial team of Simon & Schuster’s Books for Young Readers and is studying for her MFA in Creative Writing & Literature from Hofstra University. She adores Young Adult and Middle-Grade fiction—especially fantasy (she can talk world-building forever if you let her), science fiction, and romance. Non-bookish interests include cooking shows, Criminal Minds, philosophy, and sitcoms like Girlfriends, The Big Bang Theory, and Friends.