Contemporary fantasy novels with strong female protagonists have gained immense popularity in recent years. These books combine elements of fantasy, adventure, and empowerment, creating captivating stories that inspire readers of all ages. If you’re a fan of this genre or looking to dive into it for the first time, here are five must-read contemporary fantasy novels with strong female protagonists that will take you on thrilling and empowering journeys.
1. “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas
Sarah J. Maas is known for her captivating storytelling, and “A Court of Thorns and Roses” is no exception. This novel follows Feyre, a young human huntress, as she is drawn into the dangerous world of the fae after killing a wolf in the woods. Feyre must navigate intricate political alliances, face deadly challenges, and discover her own inner strength as she fights for love and freedom.
Maas weaves a rich and immersive fantasy world while exploring themes of love, sacrifice, and self-discovery. Feyre’s journey from a vulnerable mortal to a powerful heroine is both empowering and inspiring, making this book a must-read for fans of contemporary fantasy with strong female protagonists.
2. “Ninth House” by Leigh Bardugo
Leigh Bardugo, known for her bestselling “Grisha” trilogy, delivers another captivating tale in “Ninth House.” This urban fantasy novel follows Galaxy “Alex” Stern, a young woman with a troubled past who is offered a second chance at Yale University. Alex becomes a part of the secret society tasked with monitoring the eight ancient magical houses that exist among the Ivy League campus.
“Ninth House” combines elements of mystery, dark magic, and intricate world-building. Alex’s resilience, determination, and unique abilities make her a compelling and strong female protagonist. Bardugo’s lush prose and intricate plot will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
3. “The Bear and the Nightingale” by Katherine Arden
Katherine Arden’s “The Bear and the Nightingale” is a beautifully atmospheric novel inspired by Russian folklore. Set in medieval Russia, the story follows Vasilisa, a young girl with a gift for seeing and communing with mythical creatures. As her village succumbs to the influence of a malevolent force, Vasilisa must embrace her powers and protect her community.
Arden’s lyrical writing and vivid descriptions bring the wintry landscape and magical creatures to life. Vasilisa’s courage, determination, and connection with the natural world make her a strong and memorable protagonist. “The Bear and the Nightingale” is a captivating tale that explores themes of family, tradition, and the power of belief.
4. “Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi
“Children of Blood and Bone” is the first installment in Tomi Adeyemi’s critically acclaimed “Legacy of Orïsha” trilogy. Set in a West African-inspired fantasy world, the story follows Zélie Adebola, a young maji who embarks on a dangerous quest to restore magic to her oppressed people.
Adeyemi’s debut novel is a powerful exploration of systemic oppression, prejudice, and the strength of the human spirit. Zélie’s determination, bravery, and unwavering belief in justice make her a compelling and empowering protagonist. With its intricate world-building and fast-paced plot, “Children of Blood and Bone” is a must-read for fans of contemporary fantasy.
5. “The Priory of the Orange Tree” by Samantha Shannon
Samantha Shannon’s “The Priory of the Orange Tree” is an epic fantasy novel that features a diverse cast of strong female protagonists. Set in a world threatened by ancient enemies and political intrigue, the story follows the lives of Queen Sabran, a ruler with a secret, and Ead Duryan, a mage assigned to protect her.
Shannon’s storytelling prowess shines in this standalone novel, which spans continents and generations. The female characters in “The Priory of the Orange Tree” are complex, multifaceted, and face challenges that test their strength and resilience. With its rich world-building, intricate plot, and compelling characters, this novel is a must-read for fans of contemporary fantasy with strong female protagonists.
These five contemporary fantasy novels with strong female protagonists offer thrilling adventures, empowering narratives, and richly imagined worlds. Whether you’re looking for tales of magic, political intrigue, or self-discovery, these books are sure to captivate and inspire. Pick up one (or all) of these novels and embark on a journey filled with magic, courage, and the power of the human spirit. Happy reading!