5 Fantasy Series with Brilliant Female Characters to Read While You Wait for the Next ‘Game of Thrones’

06 Jul
5 Fantasy Series with Brilliant Female Characters to Read While You Wait for the Next ‘Game of Thrones’

After 10 episodes of laughter, tears, screaming at the TV and one memorable too-close-for-comfort shot of the male member, Game of Thrones is over for another year. *Sob*

With the release date for The Winds of Winter still not set and the best part of a year until the next GoT series comes out, it is time to satisfy those fantasy cravings with other novels.

“But where can I find epic fantasy novels with kick-arse female characters? Isn’t traditional fantasy all about orcs running about with axes and groups of sweaty blokes fighting their way through NZ?”

You might be wondering.

Wonder no more! I have been trawling through every fantasy book I could get my hands on to find 5 series with some of the best one-liners and best-written female characters in the genre.

Daughter of The Empire – Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts
Set in a realm of warlords (in the Kelewan world) who are spoiling for a blood-bath, this series follows the young lady Mara who has to fight every step of the way to keep control of her lands and not be destroyed by rebel warriors.

Less gore, sexual violence and long-winded descriptions than GoT. As it’s not set in a medieval-inspired world, the world feels fresh and ground-breaking even after almost 30 years!

The Girl of Ink and Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
When her closest friend disappears into the island’s Forgotten Territories, Isabella Riosse volunteers to guide the search. As a cartographer’s daughter, she’s equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars, and is eager to navigate the island’s forgotten heart. 

But the world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland – and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a legendary fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself.

Although it’s aimed at a younger crowd, don’t be fooled into thinking the main female character is anything but kick-arse. 

Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas
At 18, Celaena Sardothien has been enslaved in the death camp of Endovier for her crimes for over a year. Her only hope of escape is death. That is, until Crown Prince Dorian appears and offers her a choice: stay or be his champion in a contest to become the royal assassin.

With some searing one-liners and geniune laugh-out-loud moments, this is one to dive into.

The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh
A reworking of A Thousand and One Nights with a twist or several.

Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

The Dragon Keeper – Robin Hobb
If you are a fantasy addict, you’ve probably already had your mind blown by at least one of the 16 books and tales that comprise Robin Hobb’s Realms of the Elderlings series.

If you’re new to the class, hello! 🙂

Pick up one of her novels only on a day you have nothing planned or expect to pull a sickie. You will not want to be disturbed when you’re reading one of these babies. There are dragons, there is magic and there are some of the most beautifully nuanced female characters you can dream of encountering.


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4 responses to “5 Fantasy Series with Brilliant Female Characters to Read While You Wait for the Next ‘Game of Thrones’

  1. patricksponaugle

    July 6, 2016 at 11:40

    Great suggestions! I’m currently reading Throne of Glass.

    • wildnightin

      July 6, 2016 at 13:23

      I read that a couple of weeks ago and it blew my mind! Do you have any other fantasy recommendations?

      • patricksponaugle

        July 6, 2016 at 14:13

        I really recommend The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. Although the protagonist is male, there is tremendous female representation in the books, and each female character, as well as the male characters, have depth, individual complex motivations, etc.

        It was refreshing to read a fantasy novel which wasn’t all guys, or mostly guys with one or two women representing some kind of archetype. The demographics in these books are very balanced.

      • wildnightin

        July 8, 2016 at 10:38

        That sounds absolutely brilliant! Thank you very much for the recommendation. I agree entirely- it’s so refreshing to read a fantasy novel with balanced and complex female and male characters.


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