Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Top 10 Kick-Butt Heroines

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Kick-Butt Heroines.

Can I just say that I loved this Top 10…so much that I couldn’t just choose 10. I think it’s really important for us to celebrate the strong female characters we read about. And even though I have more than 10 I want to celebrate today, often times the female lead in YA is just not as strong as she needs to be. Sometimes that makes for a good story (if the character grows over the span of the story), but I much prefer a story where a good, strong female lead is able to grow even more than where she was already. I’m not a feminist by any means, but we need strong characters for our youth to look up to, that’s for sure. Here’s my Top 10 Kicking-Butt and Taking-Names Heroines…

1) Rose Hathaway (Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead) – Rose has ALWAYS got to make # 1 in this category. She’s a totally baddie. She beats up guys her own age. Stakes (and decapitates) evil, crazy fast, crazy strong vampires. She survives losing the love of her life. She travels to Russia by herself (which I don’t think I could ever do). She overcomes addiction. She breaks into jail, breaks out of jail (twice), and just all around generally schemes and does all kinds of awesomeness. Plus she says whatever she wants whenever she wants, even if it means calling the queen a sanctimonious…to her face. Just saying…heroines don’t get much strong than Rose.

2) Katsa (Graceling – Kristin Cashore) – Katsa has a wee bit of an advantage. She has a Grace which allows her to be able to take care of herself. Survival first. Katsa can use any weapon or her bare hands—those work too. She can survive the mountains in the dead of winter carrying an 11 year old girl on her back while pretty much never stopping. Yep…Katsa totally fits this Top 10.

3) Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins) – Obviously! Katniss is a master with the bow and arrow. She hunts for a living, for her family, and against the laws of the government. She not only survives the Games, but she wins. And by brilliance of mind, she’s able to win along with Peeta. She faces challenge after challenge forced upon her not just by the government but the actual leader of the government, President Snow. She has an entire country watching her every move. She doesn’t want to be the face of a revolution, but she stands up and takes on the part as only a kick-butt heroine can.

4) Tris (Divergent – Veronica Roth) – Tris embodies what it means to be dauntless. And anyone who can face their fears like she can deserves major kudos. She does go through a self-sacrificing stage that irked me in Insurgent, but overall, Tris is willing to do what it takes to make a difference even when few (or none) stand with her.

5) Elizabeth Bennett (Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen) – You might wonder why I put her on the list because she fights no battles, she faces no physical threats (other than possibly being poor), but Elizabeth Bennett speaks her mind in such a way to Mr. Darcy with such honesty (however faulty her facts may be) that not many of us can say we’re willing to do. With Mr. Darcy’s station in life and the sensitivity of the subjects involved, she sure does let him have it. I love it! True heroism sometimes takes no more effort than speaking the truth.

6) Sydney Sage (Vampire Academy & Bloodlines – Richelle Mead) – Ok so far Sydney hasn’t had to make the REALLY hard decisions, sure she put her neck out for Rose multiple times throughout the Vampire Academy series, but we find out what steps she’s taken to bring some justice and revenge for her sister in the Bloodlines series. She’s terrified of the vampires that she’s befriended, yet she repeatedly sides with them when she feels it’s the right thing to do. Going against something you’ve been raised to believe is extremely hard. I’ve had to do this myself and it’s almost as hard as learning that yes really means no and no really means yes and you were taught wrong from the beginning. Tough. Besides all of that, I have high hopes for the strength that Sydney’s going to have to use to get through the next 4 books. Bring it on Richelle Mead, Sydney can take it.

7) Isabelle Lightwood (The Mortal Instruments – Cassandra Clare) – When we first meet Isabelle she’s brandishing this whip, and come on now…any female who can work a whip as an actual weapon and not just fooling around (or crazy S&M stuff) deserves to fit into this category. Isabelle’s the silent rock of her group. She holds the pieces together in a way that isn’t often recognized by the ones around her, but it’s true. Plus she’s learning vulnerability, and vulnerability can be a huge strength.

8) Hermione Granger (Harry Potter – JK Rowling) – No Top 10 heroine list is complete without Hermione. Hermione saves the day so many times for Ron and Harry because she’s so smart. She takes school seriously and is therefore in a position to help when Ron and Harry just goof around. With villains running around almost constantly, Hermoine chooses to learn as much as she can. Ron and Harry wouldn’t have survived year 1 without her. Aside from all of that, Hermione is completely happy with who she is. Being comfortable in her own skin is a must for any strong heroine, and many of today’s females could stand to learn a lot from her.

9) Lisbeth Salander (Millineium Trilogy – Stieg Larsson) – Um…yeah. I don’t like to think about what all Lisbeth has gone through, and obviously she’s a bit screwed up in the head. BUT, she takes care of business. She causes bad guys to have car accidents which kill them. She binds and gags sex offenders. Skipping some details, she tattoos deterring statements to warn other women away from said sex offender. And she’s smart enough to cover her tracks. Not sure she’s a role model for our youth, but she’s a strong female lead, that’s for sure.

10) Arya Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire – George R R Martin) – Arya is one tough cookie. She's made her first kill already and she’s like what? 8 or 9 years old? (I can’t keep up.) She’s travelled just about all over the kingdom trying to get back to her family after escaping the Lannisters in King’s Landing. She’s gone from one captor to another. She’s worked as a slave, pretended to be a boy. Oh and I’m pretty sure she’s just like Bran with the connection to the wolves (a skinwalker), she just doesn’t know it yet (at least where I am in the books—beginning of book 4, A Feast for Crows). If any of the ladies from this series deserved to be in this Top 10, it’s Arya.

Honorable Mentions:

1) Clary Fray (The Mortal Instuments – Cassandra Clare) – Clary’s been through so much. Her memory of the Shadowhunter world was repeatedly wiped growing up, so she’s pretty much thrown into this world of angels and demons when her mom goes catatonic and she gets attacked by a demon. She falls in love with a boy she finds out she can’t have. Her father is a crazy maniac. Let’s just say, Clary has A LOT to overcome, but she never quits fighting.

2) Daenerys Targaryen (A Song of Ice and Fire – George R R Martin) – Um…yeah…she’s the mother of dragons. I could stop right there and it would be enough. But Dany’s been sold, survived the death of her husband (and only 13 years old), stayed with Khal Drogo through his funeral pyre (yet didn't burn to bits), led her people across a dessert, been tricked, been betrayed. And boy has she taken control trying to get an army raised so that she can cross the sea and take back her kingdom.

3) Karou (Daughter of Smoke & Bone – Laini Taylor) – Karou’s got skills that’s for sure. Of course, most of them were wished into being, but she flies and has bright blue hair. Come on. Plus in her previous life she was in epic battles, stood up to an entire race for the love of her life and was killed for it. Yep….kick-butt heroine, she is.

4) Fire (Graceling – Kristin Cashore) – Fire is the epitome of strength under pressure. Because of what she is, she’s constantly bombarded with people trying to take advantage of her. Yet she does what she can to shelter others from herself. She tries to minimize the affect she has on others.

5) Kira (Partials – Dan Wells) – Going up against the government is hard enough, but when it appears that you’re in support of the very creatures that destroyed the world it takes more than a little courage. It doesn’t help that Kira finds out that she’s not who she thought she was all along. But she steadily faces danger for the sake of bettering the world she lives in.

I assure you, there are many more note-worthy heroines. And I’m sure there are so many out there that I haven’t even had a chance to read. Who are your top 10 kick-butt heroines? Let me know!


  1. Great list! Elizabeth Bennett totally deserves to be on this list. :D She really is an amazing heroine. Katniss, Tris, Clary, and Isabelle are awesome too!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! :)

  2. Good list and I love Daenerys as well.

  3. sweet list. i have hermione, tris, and katniss on on the list too. i have smoke and bone and partials on my tbr list. and vamp academy looks good too! Katie @ Inkk

  4. Nice choices! There are some on here that I'll have to check out. I love having positive female role models in books, especially YA. It's so important!

    And thanks for reading and following!

  5. Definitely Elizabeth and Hermione! I loved Tris and Katniss, too. And I hear good things about some of these others. :)

  6. Great choices! I haven't read Game of Thrones series yet but they sound good. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Katsa may have a slight advantage, but she should top any list with kick-ass heroines that have morals and are ultimately good. Because she could have easily turned into this soulless and evil person. Of course I agree with Hermione, Arya, Daenerys, Katniss. Never thought of Karou this way...but I have a feeling I will in Days of Blood and Starlight!

  8. Daenerys!!! I have seen season one and read exactly 70 pages from Game of Thrones, but she is definitely my favorite character (at least from the first book) with Arya a close second.

    Thanks for stoppin' by this week (and for the nice warning haha!)

  9. Great list. I love Isabelle too. the other books I quite don't know but they sound pretty good.

  10. Great choices! I haven't read a couple of the books that you picked people from but I think they''re on my TBR so hopefully I'll read them soon :)
    Samantha @ the secret life of a bookworm

  11. Isabelle is a great choice, I wish I would've put her on my list. And there's a ton of books on here that I've been meaning to read (Divergent, Graceling, Daughter of Smoke and Bone). Great list!

  12. How could I forget about Elizabeth Bennett?! Should've thought of her... I still want to read the Song of Ice and Fire series reaaaally bad! But based on what I know from the TV series I totally agree on Arya and Daenerys :)
    Great list!

  13. Very cool list. I don't know half of them. >_< I'm definitely going to add these to my TBR.

  14. I love your picks and a few would be on my list!