20 Fantasy Books with Fierce Female Characters

The fantasy genre has often been criticised for its representation of women. Luckily, there are writers out there who are great at writing female characters who have authority, autonomy, and their own agendas. Here is a list of fantasy books with fierce and strong women to check out.

The list includes a mix of adult and YA books, with a couple that might be considered new adult (The Poppy War series, for example, is fantastic but full of trigger warnings so bear that in mind before reading).

  1. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

Science fiction and East Asian myth combine in this dazzling retelling of the rise of Wu Zetian, the only female emperor in Chinese history.

  1. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

An enthralling, epic fantasy about a world on the brink of war with dragons - and the women who must lead the fight to save it.

  1. In the Ravenous Dark by A.M. Strickland

A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead, in this dark fantasy

  1. The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

.There used to be witches, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box. In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. But there will be.

  1. Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

A beautiful and immersive YA fantasy retelling of the Grimm brothers' The Six Swans fairytale, set in an East-Asian inspired world, by the author of Spin the Dawn.

  1. Mexican Gothic Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The acclaimed author of Gods of Jade and Shadow returns with a mesmerising feminist re-imagining of Gothic fantasy, in which a young socialite discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico. 

  1. Lore by Alexandra Bracken 

A high-octane story of power, destiny and redemption. A lifetime ago, Lore Perseous left behind the brutal, opulent world of the Agon families - ancient Greek bloodlines that participate in a merciless game every seven years. A game that is about to begin again 

  1. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

In this wondrous debut from author Chloe Gong, Shakespeare meets a new decade, one with rivaling gangs and a river monster tormenting the citizens. 

  1. The City of Brass by S.A Chakraborty

Among the bustling markets of eighteenth century Cairo, the city’s outcasts eke out a living swindling rich Ottoman nobles and foreign invaders alike. But alongside this new world the old stories linger. Tales of djinn and spirits. Of cities hidden among the swirling sands of the desert, full of enchantment, desire and riches.

  1. Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Imagine an America very similar to our own. It's got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream. There are some differences. This America has been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not.

  1. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

An epic West-African inspired YA fantasy from an incredible new talent. 'Only one thing is more powerful than a wish, and that is a purpose.'

  1. The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart. Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish--to be remembered forever.

  1. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It's the highest honour they could hope for . . . and the most demeaning. This year, there's a ninth. And instead of paper, she's made of fire.

  1. These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy

A queer #ownvoices retelling of "The Firebird," a Russian folktale, by debut author Alexandra Overy.

  1. Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado

Mysterious disappearances. An urban legend rumoured to be responsible. And one group of friends is determined to save their city at any cost.

  1. A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson 

A lyrical and dreamy reimagining of Dracula's brides, A Dowry of Blood is a story of desire, obsession, and emancipation.

  1. Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

From the New York Times bestselling author of Furyborn comes a breathtaking and spine-tingling novel about three teenage girls who face off against an insidious monster that preys upon young women.

  1. The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang 

A brilliantly imaginative epic fantasy debut, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic.

  1. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions - slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere...else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children. Nancy tumbled once, but now she's back. The things she's experienced...they change a person. The children under Miss West's care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

  1. A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

A thrilling fantasy where four queer teens race to stop a serial killer before their crimes expose the hidden world of faeries to humans.


Cover image: Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

This blog post was written by Lauren S. You can follow her reviews on Instagram @hobbitsbooksandbeyond

Lauren @hobbitsbooksandbeyond

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