This week for Top Five Tuesday (blogging meme created by Bionic Book Worm), I’ve decided to spotlight some of my favorite kick-ass women in sci-fi/fantasy. This is actually the second round-up I’ve done; if you’re interested in more awesome women, take a look at my original post I put up last year! I could probably list a dozen other characters who deserve their time to shine, so this probably won’t be the last time I visit this topic!
Interested in reading these amazing women? All covers link to Goodreads!
Shae – JADE CITY and JADE WAR by Fonda Lee
Shae is the black sheep of the Kaul family, one of two mafia groups that controls the jade market in Kekon. Shae didn’t want anything to do with the family business, and tried her best to live a “normal” life, even refusing to wear any jade herself, despite the enhanced abilities the material would imbue her with. But when a key family member is murdered, and it looks like war between the two clans is coming, Shae finally abandons the sidelines. JADE WAR is the book where Shae truly comes into her own, showing that she will use every resource at her disposal, from business deals to organizing a spy network to putting her own life on the line, to protect her family.
Binti – BINTI by Nnedi Okorafor
Some women don’t physically kick-ass, but they sure run mental circles around everyone else! Such is the case of Binti, a young Himbi African woman who defies her family’s demands that she work at the family business and instead runs away from home to journey to the prestigious intergalactic academy she was invited to attend. When her ship comes under attack, Binti has to rely on her own intelligence and wit to negotiate safe passage with an alien race she’s never encountered in her life.
Mia Corvere – THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLES by Jay Kristoff
Okay, this one’s a bit of a gimme, but come on, the kid swore revenge at the age of ten and then spent six years training to get accepted to a secret order of assassins and THEN…well, that would be getting into spoilers. Suffice it say that Mia is the kind of person who will do just about anything to avenge her friends and family. She’ll lie and kill but still has a moral line she won’t cross. Oh, and she has a rare ability to manipulate shadows to hide herself and teleport and more, and has a shadow familiar that takes the form of a cat and calls itself Mister Kindly.
Rin – THE POPPY WAR and THE DRAGON REPUBLIC by R.F. Kuang
Let’s hear it for a character you can’t call a “good person,” but who is nonetheless utterly fascinating to watch. An orphan living in a backwater fishing village, Rin wants power and isn’t shy about it. If that means passing an entrance exam with only a few months to prepare (while normal students study for years), so be it. If that means pushing your newly discovered godly gifts waaaay beyond what your teacher advises, so be it. Rin is a bit of a disaster and certainly reaps consequences for her actions, but she’s also one of the most human characters I’ve read in the last few years.
Nemesis – THE DIABOLIC by S.J. Kincaid
Genetically engineered and conditioned to protect a noble’s daughter, Nemesis is a character who will quickly and violently end you if she thinks you’re a threat. But she’s also a character who learns that there are more subtle ways to control your enemy. When her protectee is summoned to the Emperor’s court to be a hostage, Nemesis assumes her identity and goes in her place. Since she’s impersonating a noble, she can’t use violence to solve her problems (at least, not in a place where anyone can see). As a result, she has to pick up the game of court politics in order to keep her secret, and thereby keep her charge safe. More importantly, Nemesis learns to break through her conditioning and think for herself, and become a force to be reckoned with in the galaxy.