So here’s Natalie’s top ten fictional heroines! I have to admit, I’ve only read one of these books, and I totally agree with the heroine choice. I’ve also watched one, recognise another 3 and have never heard of the other 5. I’ll take those as recommendations! I mean, if you love the characters, chances are you adore the book. Thank you to Natalie for taking the time to share your favourites today!
Alanna – (Tortall Series)
Alanna was my first heroine.
Well, technically she might not have been…but she is the first name that comes to mind when I cast my mind back. I was a tom boy when I was a kid, and I was a tom boy that liked to read books that were typically considered ‘boys books’, at least they were back then. I wanted knights in armour, I wanted epic battles, I wanted different worlds full of history.
Alanna was everything I needed. She wanted the same things as me but, and this was the most important thing even if I didn’t know it at the time, she was still a girl. She had to deal with that as she grew up and it was a joy to see her grow. Honestly, I still re-read The Song of the Lioness Quartet frequently because I will never get enough of Alanna, Lady Knight – the lioness rampant.
Hermione – (Harry Potter)
Hermione was a badass like Alanna, but in a completely different way. But her character is no less important as a heroine, in my opinion.
Here we have a girl that sticks to the rules (apart from when the smart thing is to break the rules, of course), she works hard because she wants good grades, she doesn’t feel the need to change herself when people don’t understand her, she is technically disadvantaged (muggle born with no experience of the magical world) but she still excels, AND she doesn’t spend ANY of the seven books obsessing over boys.
What more can I say about Hermione Granger? She is just a spectacular character and an incredible role model for young readers. Everybody should want to be like Hermione Granger!
(The voice of reason is a hero, love it! Hermione – you rock)
Lyra – (His Dark Materials)
I wanted to BE Lyra when I was younger.
You know how sometimes you see a person, in real life or ontv or film…wherever! You see them and you fall a little bit in love with them because of how amazing they are. You admire them from afar and if you are lucky enough to be their friend you feel incredibly blessed, because they are just the best person?
(Ah! I understand! I feel this way all the time.)
This is how I felt about Lyra. I wanted to be her best friend. She was wild, she was ferocious but her precociousness delighted me. She was so brave, and so strong that I wished I could be like her. She grows up throughout the series but I always felt really connected to her character. So much so that I sobbed for days at the end of the last book.
Ooh, tough 😦
Mara of the Acoma – (Empire Trilogy)
Reading these books, you watch Mara grow from a young girl to a woman. You watch her overcome so much adversity, I cannot even describe. Honestly, every time you think it will be too much, she rises back up again.
The best thing about Mara is how real she is. These books are never easy on her. She has to overcome her own lack of knowledge. She has to overcome old enemies, and new. She has to overcome her own heart. Why? Because she mustprotect her people. And she does. She does.
Her strength is not physical. Her strength is of the spirit and the mind. She outwits her foes. She dares to do what others would not. She sacrifices so much for her people and her family.
I love her so, so much.
Cinder – (Lunar Chronicles)
Cinder is a recent addition to my loved heroines list but I ADORE her.
What is so great about Cinder is how normal she is. I realise that might sound ridiculous, seeing as how she’s a freakingcyborg, amongst all the other stuff. But she is just so chilled out, you know? She’s got a great sense of humour and a good heart. When she gets a crush on a boy, it’s cute without falling into drama and hysterics. She puts up with her stepmother until it all goes too far and then she REACTS.
There is nothing passive about Cinder. She might be your average girl (cough) but she knows she’s smart. She knows she can look after herself even though she is only sixteen, so she will damn well do it. And this is just in book one!
Her growth as the series has gone on has been just as delightful. She is still Cinder and she certainly has moments where she doubts herself, but she will keep plugging away because she’s a good person that wants to help.
(I NEED to read this book already)
Scarlet – (Lunar Chronicles)
Yep, two ultimate faves in one book series. (I love you, Lunar Chronicles).
Scarlet X shotgun is my ultimate OTP.
Really though, right from the start of Scarlet I knew I loved this lady. Her attitude and her short fuse was perfectly balanced by the fact that she was clearly shown to have a compassionate heart. The fact that she was stomping around in a red hoodie with a gun in the back of her jeans just made my immediate love all that more intense.
Like Cinder, Scarlet is not passive. She does what she wants, goes where she wants, and trusts her instincts. That doesn’t mean that her instincts are always right, but I don’t need my heroine to get things right all the time. I just need them to have agency, and Scarlet certainly has that.
She also has a SHOTGUN.
(Okay, I DOUBLY need to read these books already)
Bitterblue – (Graceling series)
I feel like loving Katsa is probably more common than lovingBitterblue, but I just really connected with this young queen. We don’t have similar life experiences, obviously, so it wasn’t a connection due to that. I think it was because Cashore made it so clear, through her writing, how oppressive the palace was for Bitterblue. So in those moments, I felt for her, and when she got out to freedom, I felt her relief.
The book was also incredibly frustrating in a good way, so when Bitterblue was frustrated I emphasised and understood her confusion.
Bitterblue was also unique in that she feels like she isn’t that great at anything. Her whole crisis is one of wondering – what is she good for? She’s not particularly tough. She’s not incredibly smart. She’s just ordinary, yet she’s the queen. This made her easy to relate too, and by the time she starts figuring things out, she is also figuring herself out.
I found Bitterblue to be incredibly refreshing and unique and I feel proud fuzzy feelings when I think of her.
Sophie – (Howl’s Moving Castle)
If Bitterblue is unique, then Sophie is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyunique.
(I love this move! I mean, uh, yeah, book! *shame face*)
How many books have you read where the young heroine becomes a grumpy old woman?
Sophie is hillarious. Honestly, she made me laugh so hard throughout the book. Her unique perspective, due to the sudden aging, means her outlook is different to what I would normally read. This means that she treats the other characters differently to how other heroines would. Watching her boss around/ignore/berate Howl, whose charms might have worked on her immediately under normal circumstances, was a true delight.
And of course, her whole character arc is delivered impeccably. Only as an old woman does Sophie learnt o appreciate herself and understand her worth. She’s a true treasure, old and young.
Celaena – (Throne of Glass)
You know, technically I can see the issues with Celaena’scharacterisation as Adarlan’s Assassin. I see the issues in her behaviour and how it doesn’t all add up…and I’ve decided to stop caring. These books are just so much fun, and Celaena is the heart of all that.
Crown of Midnight was the book that really made me fall in love with her. The quality in general was much higher. But we also got to see her actually showcase some of her assassin like ways! We got to learn more about her history and the pain of her past.
And then we got to see her sink into a truly dark place and I was so happy about it. You get the full range of Celaena inCrown of Midnight and I cannot wait to continue her adventures. I am DYING for the *reunion* scene between Celaena and Arobynn. DYING FOR IT. GET HIM GIRL. GET HIM.
I still struggle to spell her name though…
Queenie – (Code Name Verity)
Have you read this book? No? THEN GO AND READ THIS BOOK. (YES SIR!)
Right from the start, Queenie’s voice was incredibly entertaining to read. She managed to come across quite chipper despite her dire circumstances. I mean, being a POW was obviously a nightmare, but her wit and charm still seeped through the page (well, the Kindle screen) in a completely authentic way.
Then, just past the halfway mark, this book turns and destroys all of your emotions. Queenie becomes everything I want from a heroine. Her courage is beyond anything you can imagine. Her love and loyalty brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. Her fear makes her so real. But she stays strong.
‘KISS ME HARDY! Kiss me, QUICK!’
What do you think of Natalie’s heroine choices?