Much of the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres have evolved past the 'damsel in distress' role for female characters and grown in a way that gives voice to the heroines and allows for them to be in control of their own story and destiny. These heroines I have chosen are some of my recent favorites so I hope some of you will give them a chance too!
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
Rebecca Roanhorse’s book takes place in the aftermath of a climatic apocalypse that has left most of the planet covered in water. The heroine is Maggie, a Dinétah monster hunter and blessed with magical gifts. We follow her as she attempts to find a missing girl for a small community that turns into an adventure full of betrayal, conflict, and a wide array of monsters and deities.
For a combination of post-apocalyptic setting and supernatural entities, Trail of Lightning is a great read.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Vasya Petrovna is the heroine of Katherine Arden’s novel in which a young girl is able to see and interact with the spirits that lurk around her small community in medieval Russia. At a time when Russian Orthodoxy is trying to stamp out the folklore that has traditionally held such sway in the villages, Vasya battles with an impending darkness that is just out of sight, while her family and a zealous monk try to convince the community that there is no threat at all.
Deeply rooted in folklore and mysticism, The Bear and the Nightingale is a richly detailed story of the battle of trusting traditions and the conflict that ambition, pride, and fear can create in individuals and in a community.
The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty
Nahri seems to be just a common con artist on the streets of 18th century Cairo, when one of her cons goes sideways and she is thrust into a realm of magic, devious political powers, and a tenuous peace between the various sects of the city of Daevabad. Chakraborty spins a magnificent tale, rooted in a variety of folklore, about a parallel world of magic users alongside the world we know.
With multiple perspectives taking place, we are taken on a wild ride of adventure, near death escapes, and inescapable responsibilities that will keep any reader up all night just to see what happens next.
If you have already had a chance to read the three above or if you want to try something different, here is a list of other great heroine tales: