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Strong female anti-hero(ine)?

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Showing 1-25 of 40 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 May 2012, 10:40:20 BST
M. Robbins says:
Every once in a while you need to be on the bad side. One with no damsels in distress. Mistborn has given me a craving for a female lead whose not on the straight and narrow.

Thieves, criminals, assassins - anything really. Preferably fantasy genre but I'm willing to stray. Unlikely hero would work in some cases too...

Any recommendations?

Posted on 23 May 2012, 15:16:34 BST
Last edited by the author on 23 May 2012, 16:26:18 BST
I remember a book I read a while back called Mainline by Deborah Christian ... it's technically science fiction but as I recall it was pretty "soft" SF. The main character can see different lines of causality and she uses this ability to become an assassin.

Fantasy-wise, I recently finished the Magister trilogy by CS Friedman (book one is Feast Of Souls: Magister: Book One (Magister Trilogy)), which features a rather ruthless female Magister (basically a sorcerer) as the main character. Some reviewers who have only read the first book have complained about the "rules" of magic that prevent women from becoming Magisters; without giving away any plot points, all I can say is, keep reading.

Posted on 23 May 2012, 18:08:06 BST
Katy May says:
You could try joe Abercrombie's 'Best Served Cold', I know some people thought it wasn't as good as his trilogy but I really enjoyed it.

Posted on 23 May 2012, 21:45:23 BST
Essbee says:
I would recommend Consider Phlebas (The Culture) by Iain M. Banks as a good anti hero story, probably more science fiction with elements of fantasy. I would say that every Iain M. Banks book I have read revolves around a central character who is addictive but not best buddy material.
You could also try the elemental assassin series by Jennifer Estep, the main character is an assassin with a fairly high set of standards - as the series progresses I found these to be a bit worthy.
Another assassin series would be the Nadia Stafford series by Kelley Armstrong. The first of these is Exit Strategy it is not a fantasy series but I found it to be a good read.

Posted on 24 May 2012, 20:06:45 BST
wanderlust says:
Downside Ghosts (1) - Unholy Ghosts

Posted on 27 May 2012, 21:22:27 BST
The women in the 20 palace novels by Harry Connolly is quite ruthless as well...

Posted on 28 May 2012, 12:25:00 BST
Paul Tapner says:
Elven thief Raine Benares, amoral rather than ruthless, made her debut in:

Magic Lost, Trouble Found (Raine Benares)

First of a series. I couldnt really get into myself and dropped the series after book three but it does have it's fans so you never know.

But for a downright ruthless lady there's cersei lannister in: A Song of Ice and Fire (1) - A Game of Thrones But that having a rather large cast means she doesnt really get her moments till book four

In reply to an earlier post on 28 May 2012, 16:20:02 BST
Cersei Lannister is a great example of this. And "rather large cast" is an understatement! :-D

Posted on 1 Jun 2012, 15:06:51 BST
I'd second Joe Abercrombie's Best Served Cold. The main character, Monza, is utterley ruthless. An anti-heroine in every way, but I couldn't help but like her!

Posted on 3 Jun 2012, 13:04:50 BST
What about Robert A Heinlein's "Friday"?

Posted on 5 Jun 2012, 12:27:23 BST
Ignoring the awful, awful film version, you could buy the graphic novel "Elektra: Assassin" by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz. Elektra is a seriously divided psyche, neither good nor bad but stuck somewhere in the middle and open to both sides. A character born from the Daredevil comic franchise, she was sufficiently popular to warrant her own series, written by the fantastic Frank Miller and beautifully illustrated by Bill Sienkeiwicz. When it came out I wanted to be her - she was just so cool even if she did do bad things occasionally. A warning though, although it's a graphic novel this isn't for kids. You can also buy an omnibus of all her appearances in print "Elektra By Frank Miller Omnibus HC (Daredevil)" by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz or stories involving her but written by different people, "Elektra by Greg Rucka Ultimate Collection" or "Dark Reign: Elektra TPB by Clay Mann and Zeb Wells", neither of which I've read so can't comment on quality. A well written and illustrated graphic novel can be as engaging as any good book - I love both forms of literature. Even if the drawn medium can sometimes oversexualise the female form (and oft times the male form too) the writing usually allows that to be forgiven. Hope that helps :o)

Posted on 6 Jun 2012, 23:14:54 BST
Best Served Cold...perfect woman scorned; but you should read Dune; not to mention the Black Jewels trilogy and Hard Magic...

Posted on 17 Jun 2012, 14:33:06 BST
J. Mason says:
The Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson has a fair few female heroes, none of which are perfect pretty princesses.

That said, Gardens of the Moon (the first book) can be a bit of a struggle for some people to get through. Rather than spoon feeding you information about the book's world he just drops you in the middle of the action.

Posted on 17 Jun 2012, 15:47:14 BST
I'm partway through "1Q84" and it's quite good so far. The female lead is an assassin, and it's beginning to move into parallel universe territory. Oh, and it's HUGE.

Posted on 22 Jun 2012, 20:58:16 BST
You could try Juliet E Mckenna's little known "Tales of Einarinn" series. The first, third and fifth book are told from the perspective of Livak a female rogue/thief. The second and forth are told from the perspective Ryshad a male warrior. I love these books and got the first one about 15 years ago now. Or there's Anne Bishop's erotic "Black Jewel" series which tells of Jannelle Angelline who is destined to be the most powerful witch ever to rule over the living and the dead. Or the downright naughty Georgina Kincaid in Richelle Meads "Succubus" series.

Posted on 23 Jun 2012, 14:23:54 BST
Hester Shaw of the Mortal Engines series, sure she's a heroine, for a teeny bit of the time, the rest, one bad lady.
Mortal Engines (Predator Cities)

Posted on 24 Jun 2012, 17:33:21 BST
[Deleted by the author on 24 Jun 2012, 23:17:14 BST]

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jun 2012, 19:50:27 BST
Last edited by the author on 24 Jun 2012, 19:51:33 BST
LEP says:
Mallory series by Carol O'Connor. She's a cop with a very fine line between good and bad and doesn't mind straying into dodgy territory if it gives her what she wants. A bad childhood before being adopted by a cop and his wife. She is slightly weird! The Oracle is the first book.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jun 2012, 20:09:51 BST
Self-promotion is not allowed outside the MOA forum. Please read the following:


Posted on 27 Jun 2012, 21:39:23 BST
raven_guest says:
It might already have been mentioned, but 'Poison Study' is awesome. It's the first in a trilogy, but I couldn't get into the second one. I happily re read Poison Study over and over. Also, not quite an anti-hero, but Empress Orchid is both fascinating and addictive.

Posted on 13 Jul 2012, 13:08:08 BST
[Deleted by the author on 15 Jul 2012, 14:18:06 BST]

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jul 2012, 12:03:36 BST
Garscadden says:
Given all the reviews 2 days after the book was vanity published it has to be shills - isn't it better to keep away from unscrupulous authors? Most of the follow the classic pattern of shill reviews. I tend to think if the 'author' can't imagine a better way of getting reviews, or a more imaginative promotion scheme then s/he should sink into obscurity that s/he so obviously deserves.

(Having said that, nice that the authors sister/mother/duaghter/'special friend' (Catherine Hudson) reviews her book for her)

Posted on 14 Jul 2012, 23:10:15 BST
[Deleted by the author on 15 Jul 2012, 14:18:16 BST]

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jul 2012, 23:43:58 BST
Last edited by the author on 15 Jul 2012, 00:02:57 BST
Anita says:
It's even more funny when someone tries to hide lies with more lies. Like crowds of *random* people hurrying to buy a book they know nothing about on PDF, by an author they do not know. So thanks for a laugh at the end of the day.

Oh, and I have no doubts at all, that all the books you've mentioned have a strong ANTIheroine, as asked for by OP.

Just a detail, purely for fun. Most of the shill reviews have the "Amazon verified purchase" tag. Imagine this: some unrelated, absolutely random readers buy a PDF, and just love the book so much that they buy also the Kindle edition a couple of years later?

Perhaps you'd like to conjure up something better next time, if you want someone to believe you. But I do appreciate a good laugh, so waiting eagerly for more lies :)

EDIT: And then: IF the book is really good, why are you doing your best to harm it?

And: Are you supposed to say: 'I listened overhead'?
Even better: 'The smell of damp space was flooding my nostrils as though a rotting corpse was sat in the corner'?

I won't rant about grammar here, I'm too happy to find out that rotting corpses smell of damp space

Posted on 14 Jul 2012, 23:53:58 BST
Last edited by the author on 15 Jul 2012, 00:20:01 BST
Anita says:
- removed as a "too much fun" afterthought -
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Discussion in:  fantasy discussion forum
Participants:  30
Total posts:  40
Initial post:  23 May 2012
Latest post:  29 May 2013

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