This week, the Broke and the Bookish set as their Top Ten subject Top Ten Kick-Ass Heroines. At first I thought this would take me a while to put together, as I tend to read a lot more heroes than heroines. It turns out, though, that I actually read many books with female leads, and it only took a quick browse through my shelves to come up with more than ten fantastic heroines. I whittled my list down to ten, and part of doing so was choosing five written by women and five written by men. I originally considered ranking them, but I need to get around to clearing some of the branches knocked down last night and updating my blog isn’t going to work as an excuse to put that off much longer.
Jo Beckett (Meg Gardiner) I debated which of Meg Gardiner’s heroines to focus on, but Stephen King has done a better job explaining what makes Evan Delaney an amazing heroine, and Rory Mackenzie only has one book so far. In her most recent adventure, Jo gets run through paces that would wind James Bond.
Cora Oglesby (Lee Collins) The newest name on this list, Cora is a bounty hunter who specializes in vampires, werewolves, wendigos and other supernatural creatures terrorizing the post-Civil War boomtowns of Colorado. She’s hard edged and fierce, and I’m looking forward to more from Lee Collins like The Dead of Winter.
Lisbeth Salander (Steig Larsson) Smart, competent, vicious when necessary, and tenacious, the star of Larsson’s best-selling Millenium Trilogy is the one of the toughest female characters to hit popular culture since Ellen Ripley.
Vanessa Munroe (Taylor Stevens) Speaking of Ripley, James Cameron just optioned The Informationist to bring to the big screen. Although he loves strong women in his films, his writing is best described as wooden, so read Stevens’ novel now to see her in her full glory.
Clare Kelly (Brendan Halpin) Here’s a non-action heroine who definitely kicks ass. Clare is the rock her brother needs as he recovers from the loss of his wife in Brendan Halpin’s Long Way Back. While Francis is the more active character, it’s Clare’s support and steadfastness that pulls him through.
Mattie Ross (Charles Portis) the narrator and heroine of True Grit, Mattie is easily in my top five characters in all of literature, hands down.
Joanna Lander (Connie Willis) As a doctor seeking to understand what happens to us after we die, she sits at the emotional core of Passage, Willis’ mind bending look at mortality.
Meg Murray (Madeline L’Engle) When I started A Wrinkle in Time my ten year old self wasn’t really into girls as main characters in my books. By the time I finished she was one of my favorite characters in fiction.
Clarice Starling (Thomas Harris) Forget Hannibal, Harris’ heroine from Silence of the Lambs is the only character who even approaches Lecter’s intellect. And though she may doubt herself at times, she’s easily stronger than any of the men in this book.
Briar Wilkes (Cherie Priest) When her son goes in search of answers about what happened to his father, Briar sets out to rescue her son. She’s an object lesson in the fierce devotion of a mother, and thinking of her adventures in Boneshaker has reminded me I need to pick up the rest of this series.