Fantasy with Great Female Protagonists

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Fantasy with Great Female Protagonists

One thing that you do not always see in a fantasy is a book with good interesting female characters. The following books are books that have interesting female characters that are strong and heroic in their way.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden 
The Bear and the Nightingale takes place in ancient Russia where Vasya was born with magical abilities.  Vasya can see and talk to spirits and other animals. One day her father decided that Vasya needs a Stepmother and marries Anna who is the sister of the czar. Unfortunately, Anna is a religious fanatic who believes all the forest spirits are evil and banes the household from worshiping them. As the people worship less of the household spirits an ancient evil starts awakening. The book is an atmospheric, immersive dark fairy tale.  Vasya is a great heroine who wants more than what women's roles in 18th century Russia were. It is followed by two sequels The Girl in the Tower and The Winter of the Witch.

Circe by Madeline Miller
Circe is a retelling of the Greek myth of Circe. is a god who wants to be mortal and to take part in human lives. As a girl, Circe develops a keen interest in human lives and then falls in love with a fisherman.  She also discovered that she has magical powers and can turn men into animals. Threatened by her growing magical powers Zeus banishes her to a faraway island. This book tells her backstory and how she got to be the witch that Odysseus, encounters in the Odyssey.

The City of Brass by S.A Chakraborty
 The City of Brass is an Arabic-based fantasy that takes place first in modern-day Egypt where the main character Nahri is a con artist who has mysterious powers. One time while conning someone accidentally summons a djinn named Dara. She then gets transported to the magical world of Djinns. The book is filled with magical adventures in a different world, fantasy, magic, and magical creatures. Nahri is a smart, and cunning main character who also has hidden talents. There are two more books in this series, The Kingdom of Copper and the Empire of Gold

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemison
The fifth season is the first book in the Broken Earth Trilogy. In this story where the main character Essun wakes up and finds her son dead and her daughter kidnapped by her husband. The story has three main characters who are not afraid to protect what is theirs. This fantasy series is dark, immersive, and exciting. It is followed by two more books in the series, The Obelisk Gate and the Stone Sky.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
It is the 18th century Addie Laure is running away from her wedding because she does not want to get married. She meets Luc who offers her a deal to live forever and not get married. However, Luc's deal comes with a catch, whoever meets Addie will forget who she is immediately after seeing her and she will be unrecognized for the rest of her life. One day hundreds of years later Addie meets someone who can remember her. The Invisible Life of  Addie LaRue is a fantastic, dark, sad novel where you cannot wait to see what happens next. It is also great to figure out how Addie is going to escape her curse.

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang
The Poppy War is the first book of grimdark East Asian-inspired fantasy series that is based on ancient China. It stars the main character Rin who tested into the elite Military academy of the Nikara Empire even though she is poor and the region of her country is discriminated against. However, her time at the academy is cut short when the Mugen who is their ancient enemy attack making the students go to war. The Nikara empire used to be very powerful but has weakened and grown vulnerable to outside threats. The Mugen attack mercilessly and do a lot of damage. Rin becomes a strategic leader and wants vengeance against the Mugen. Rin also gets visions from a magical beast called the phoenix. Rin is a fantastic protagonist in the story she is fierce and is a leader. She is also a ruthless and complicated protagonist who does pretty dark things throughout the book's series. The book series is followed by two sequels, The Dragon Republic, and The Burning God.

Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
Ship of magic takes place in a world that has magical talking liveships, which is ships that are sentient and alive.  One of the main characters Althea has grown up thinking she would inherit the family live ship trader Vivacia after her father dies. Instead, her father leaves it to his son-in-law Kyle who is a bully who only cares about profit. Althea refuses to serve on the crew under Kyle and goes to make her way and become captain of her ship.   This fantasy series is slow, deep, and immersive. It also has some of the best character development I have ever read in a book.  There are also pirates, sea serpents, and dragons in these books These books can be deeply sad at times though.  The story is contained in the next two books of the series The Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Spinning Silver is a story about Miryem whose family is moneylenders. However, her father is bad at moneylending and gets her family deeply in debt. To get her family out of debt Miryem becomes a merciless moneylender who has reputation for being able to turn items into gold. However, this begins to attract supernatural creatures especially the King of the Frost who wants Miryem to see how she turn items into gold.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a  portal fantasy where the main character January finds a door to a different world while on a trip to Kentucky. When she comes back to it the next day the Portal is going. January goes back to New England where is she living as the ward of Mr. Thayer. Mr. Thayer is also the head of the New England archelogy society and not who he seems. January then finds a book that is eerily similar to her own life and talks about the doors between worlds. January becomes determined to figure out what these doors are and why the book reflects her life.  Along the way, she makes many friends. and many different enemies. This is a magical adventure that is fast-paced and has a lot of adventure. January is also a very interesting heroine who is very smart and crafty. She is also very determined to figure out why there are portals to different worlds.

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
Warbreaker is a book, where the two main characters are the sisters Vivenna and Siri, who are princesses from the Country of Idrian. Vivenna has been engaged to marry the Prince of Hallandren who is Idrian ancient rival but their father decided at the last minute to send Siri instead. Concerned for Siri's safety and lack of knowledge of the conniving Hallndren court Vivenna goes to rescue Siri. Meanwhile, Siri must understand the court and uncover secrets to survive. This book has great characters and a really interesting magic system. Vivenna and Siri are complete opposites and great characters who go on interesting journeys and get a lot of character development.