Kerowyn is the granddaughter of the sorceress Kethry, daughter of a noble house, runs the family keep, loves hunting and training horses. Unfortunate events launch her into a career as a mercenary, aided by Kethry, who introduces her to her magical sword, and her friend Tarma, a retired mercenary. All women. Her mentors are amazing, turning her into a deadly weapon. Kerowyn's mind is as sharp as her sword, and has a need to be self-sufficient and free. While this is technically 9 in the Valdemar universe, it is written as a stand-alone and it really is as self-sufficient as its protagonist is marvelous.
It's a great place to introduce yourself to the very prolific Mercedes Lackey. By the Sword stays true to typical Lackey style including incredibly noble people in an incredibly ignoble land, and intelligent, complicated romance. It is one of the few Valdemar books where the heroine is free of sexual violence. It may be mentioned, but Kerowyn herself experiences some of the most healthy, consensual relations and relationships in the series, which is refreshing.
Speaking of Classics, we cannot have a list featuring strong female heroines and leave out Wonder Woman. With the movie featuring Gal Gadot there's been renewed interest in her stories, and I can't complain. This boxed set was released by DC at the end of featuring the golden age of Wonder Woman in pages of her best stories, and they really represent the best of what this iconic superhero has to offer. She is benevolent, prefers the route to peace, but uses force when needed.
She is described as more beautiful than Aphrodite, wiser than Athena, faster than Hermes, and stronger than Hercules. Wonder Woman really is the ultimate feminist role model, sacrificing none of her femininity while exuding strength on every front. Though really, that's a good thing. Song of the Lioness. Many fantasy-loving women got hooked on fantasy with Alanna as teens. She has her heart set on being a knight, even though it's not "what girls do," and that passion and drive puts every one of us on a horse and on the adventure of a lifetime with her.
Alanna's stubborn determination and bravery carry her far, but she makes mistakes, doubts herself, and has a wicked temper. She's a thoroughly real heroine, unique in the canvas of white male knights in high fantasy. While it's written or rather edited; the first pages were reportedly scrapped because it was too racy to be a YA novel, the plot is madly complex and captivating, thoroughly engaging readers of all ages.
There is some romance in the series, and I love that Alanna is clearly in control of her sexuality. She chooses who she sleeps with and when, and takes precautions to be responsible. She's been an inspiring role model for generations and hopefully many more.
Couldn't leave this one out. Yet Immortals takes us on a totally different thread. The fact that there are reading guides out there for this book should tip you off that it's more than a simple children's book. It's chock full of cultures, immortal creatures, and a pantheon who like to meddle. Daine is an abandoned child who possesses the wild magic, enabling her to talk with, even take the shape of the beasts of the forest. It's a light fun read featuring a compassionate, strong heroine who grows into her power throughout the quartet.
I love that Pierce's characters tend to go against social convention and eventually carve out a life worth living. Yelena is about to be executed for murder and is offered an alternative: food taster to the king. She herself is poisoned and must appear for her daily antidote or die a painful death. What she does with the hand dealt her is fantastic. She is a capable, educated heroine who takes responsibility for her own actions, and plans ahead the moment she begins to see options opening up, then works hard for her future. Watching her grow from desperate orphan into a competent, deadly fighter was fantastic, and strong character development anchors Yelena and Valek into your soul as you weave your way through this magic combo of assassins, spies, and intrigue.
I love that romance took a seat in the background and let us focus on the action at hand. Themes of mortality, freedom of choice, and tests of loyalty predominate and make it more than just a fun read.
Sybel is only sixteen when she is brought an orphaned baby to raise. She has little love for humans, having been raised alone on Eld Mountain with only the magical beasts her father summoned with magic for playmates, yet she accepts and is obviously transformed by the experience. Oddly enough, I love how detached and pragmatic she is. Her fearlessness awards her a vicious legendary bird, her ruthlessness when betrayed is not to be underestimated, and she is a beautiful, powerful, sorceress. In another story she could be the villain, but here she is thoroughly the heroine.
This little-known gem landed the World Fantasy Award, and was nominated for many others. McKillip's elegant prose lends this dark fairytale a dreamy, mythic quality. A fantastic read featuring a fantastic heroine. Monza Murcatto is out for blood. Known as the Snake of Talins, the most feared and famous mercenary in Styria, she is betrayed by her employer and left for dead. Unfortunately for him, she's alive and fueled by vengeance. Flanked by a drunkard, a poisoner, a mass murderer with OCD and a Northman who just wants to do the right thing, she is a force to be reckoned with.
With signature Abercrombie indulgence, Best Served Cold is a bloody, thrilling, expedition. Filled with harsh language, black humor, terrible sex, and broken characters, it's everything his fans have come to expect and love from his work. Monza is a total badass and gets the job done; just don't mind the collateral damage along the way. This reboot is everything. Diversity FTW! I love that this incarnation of Ms.
Marvel is a teenage Pakistani-American from Jersey, who's just as thrilled about her superpowers as she is about finding the right outfit for the job. Kamala is such an enjoyable heroine to follow in her debut. She is smart, funny, and fully embraces the superhero gig with all the enthusiasm of someone too naive to appreciate the danger. She is Muslim, and has strict parents who don't approve of all the fan fic she writes, let alone the outfits.
The classic art style is fantastic, and ties in with the rest of the Marvel world. It's not just about her kicking butt, although obvi, that's happening. It deals a lot with identity as she can shape shift and decides to look like Carol Danvers, the original Ms. Marveltall, blonde, and nothing like herself. This intricate retelling of the Celtic Swans fairy tale takes an enchanting story and embellishes it with depth, believable backstory, ancient magic, and great characters.
It is painfully dark, at times horrifying, but also offers elements of hope, devoted love, and healing. One criticism is that while its rape scenes are incredibly graphic, actually loving consensual sex scenes are all but fade-to-black absent. Despite this, Sorcha is simply radiant as the heroine who accomplishes the fantastic tasks required to set things right. She is beloved by and shares a unique bond with her brothers, and while no warrior, her strength is in healing and in quietly you have no idea how quietly going about what needs doing with fortitude and courage.
Despite her burdens, she is able to see the beauty in the world, and that takes a special kind of magic. Again, folks tend to shelve anything related to fairytale literature as YA or even Juvenile Daughter of the Forest is definitely ill suited for children, due to the graphic abuse mentioned above. As Sorcha matures, she grows into her strength and intelligence, meeting each painful task with diligence and unfailing love. It is a beautiful story highlighting the power of small and simple things. Katsa is a pragmatic graceling born with the ability to kill with her bare hands from the time she was eight years old.
Graced as all gracelings are with unique superpowers and marked with two different eye colors, she was orphaned and becomes assassin to the King in her youth. With attachment issues and a very sterile view of murder, she is very flawed; which balances out that she's pretty much invincible, unstoppable as both a warrior and as a person. Light romantic interest flavors the story, but it's nothing so strong as to overpower the heroine and her purpose. The female relationships are so real and relatable, and I love that at times it's just women out there saving the world.
No men in shining armor. Just two women as comrades in arms. It's not this huge gender issue that she's a warrior. She just is. Graceling has landed a dozen awards and was nominated for more. Definitely worth a read. The Mists of Avalon. I can't do a list of the top 50 fantasy novels with strong female leads without including The Mists of Avalon. Considered one of the great classics of modern fantasy literature, it won the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel the year it was published, topped Best Sellers lists for years thereafter, and has continued to transform perspectives for decades.
Bradley won critical acclaim with this novel by taking the whole body of Arthurian legend and re-spinning the tale from the perspective of the women in Arthur's life. The Avalon of the title is the island home to a sect of Goddess worshippers attempting to hold back Christianity's growing influence over Arthur and the country at large. This world of mysticism and spirituality frames the life of Morgaine, not an evil sorceress here, but priestess of Avalon and Arthur's half-sister.
She rides the tide of self-doubt and confidence as we span her life from practically birth to death. Here lives a haunting Camelot. A visceral, real Camelot that is simultaneously ethereal and mystical. It's not action-packed, but an emotional and compelling legend of adventure, prophesy, romance, betrayal, and witchcraft. The women here are complex, intriguing, loving, and manipulative. They live in a male-dominated world, so behind the scenes they are forever pulling strings, standing close to center stage, but never stepping a foot onto it, weaving their magic in the shadows.
If the life of the author matters to you when reading a novel, know that Bradley has some skeletons that have thrown shade over her work. Fire and Thorns. A high fantasy novel featuring someone whose beauty isn't one of her major selling points. I love that Elisa is a clever, resourceful, humanly flawed heroine who relies on her own strengths to conquer her life's tragedies.
Like many teens she envies her sister who has the tall, willowy physique she wishes she could have and still eat all of the delicious food. Truthfully, she's pretty badass and I thought she was awesome. Talk about big shoes to fill. Carson does a great job at painting a living, breathing world with Spanish influences, unique cultures, and sympathetic characters. I loved spirited Elisa's journey from insecurity and uncertainty to her own brand of heroism as a bearer of the Godstone. Yes, there is religious stuff but the religious elements just add depth and richness to the culture of the world.
For those who enjoy slow burn romance this is like, SLOW, slow burn, and all the sweeter for it. The frank and progressive approach to sexuality was awesome, I mean if you're in a relationship, birth control needs to be a part of the discussion at some point! While I'd say it's YA, the action isn't wimpy and can even get pretty gory. Full of surprises and deeply engaging people, The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a great read if you're looking for strong female roles. A Mercy Thompson. Urban Fantasy excels at creating strong female leads, and this is one of the best.
Mercy is a part Native American auto mechanic who also happens to be a walker; one who can turn into a coyote at will. Like the Grimm TV series, she's not the only anomaly and has a werewolf for a neighbor, her boss is a gremlin; you get the idea. Briggs creates awesome bantering dialogue that makes it a fun read. I love that it's realistic; gunshots are LOUD when you forget your ear protection. When you fight werewolves, you might just break your arm. Mercy can hold her own, but knows her limits.
She's caring, not a doormat, and she's wicked brave. She makes mistakes, and owns it. Don't be fooled by the Harlequin-looking cover, the romance has a nice organic build, which is refreshing in a genre that's often obsessed paranormal sex scenes. The books are fast-paced, witty, tense, and addictive. Goose Girl is the flagship novel in the series, but all of them share well-written, lyrical prose that perfectly captures the fairytale vibe of this series.
Each is a pretty light read, and if you can't stand a happy ending this series probably isn't for you, but Hale is fantastic at creating dynamic, strong women to lead these adventures. There are parts, especially in " Enna Burning ", that are intense and disturbing, but overall I'd say the material is PG at most. Whether it's a shy young woman who needs to become brave enough to take her kingdom back, or a spunky soul who needs to learn to control her all-consuming powers so she doesn't destroy the world, each story holds captivating characters in a magical world so clear and comfortable that the strange things that happen feel totally believable.
And the women rock it. Mythology comes alive in this hostile world where apocalypse is routine, and the cultures and inhabitants have adapted to survive above all else. Orogenes, with their fearsome power over the earth, are slaves to those in power who use them to abey cataclysmic earthquakes. Full of questions, this deeply woven story makes it feel as if the answers are all there, and have been for eternity, just out of reach. Jemisin pushes the boundaries of novelty into something truly extraordinary, even while she explores concepts of cultural conflict, oppression, and the glossing over of history.
It is one of the few non-white dominated, not exclusively hetero, or even monogamous takes we see in fantasy. It is written from the perspective of three women, all gifted with the power to control seismic events, all forced to confront the painful ramifications of being what they are in a world the both needs, and fears them. Damaya, a child given to a Guardian when she is discovered to be an orogene; Syen, an ambitious higher caste orogene on a mission; and Essun, mother of two chasing after her missing husband all struggle, hope, and falter as we share their journey.
The women here aren't necessarily heroic, but each have strengths that shine. A Court of Thorns and Roses. For romantic fantasy fans, A Court of Thorns and Roses has it all: mysterious men, tension, romance, magic, and steamy sex scenes. By the end of book one Feyre is the object of desire of virtually every attractive male in the book, and that means lots of fun.
It makes this list because Maas crafts a strong, complex heroine who is the central figure throughout. She is a huntress who hates the fae, only to be dragged into their world for killing a wolf faerie while trying to feed her family. There she finds passion and purpose as the beautiful, dangerous world of the fae she now loves is overtaken by darkness.
Lots of twists and turns, changing allegiances, and mysteries revealed make each volume an exciting ride. Feyre grows and develops as a person throughout, and that continual transformation moving her toward more healthy relationships is engaging and real. The lush, dynamic world-building absorbs your attention in the way that all good fantasy should. Be aware that while some market this as YA, it is definitely more on the erotica side of the romance spectrum.
Best Strong Female Heroine Fantasy Books
Catherynne M. A new classic has entered the literary stage. I know, a bit bold of a thing to say, but it follows in the tradition of Lewis Carol, A. Milne, and C. Lewis in creating a vibrant tale that can appeal to adults and children of all ages, landing it the Andre Norton award in With its smart, whimsical prose, clever and comical themes, and absolutely charming characters, it's a win all the way around.
I was hooked on page one. Though it has loads to say, it's never preachy, there are no religious over or undertones, it's just a great treatise on circumnavigating life and all it may hold for us. September is strong enough to stand up to whoever stands in her way, practical, and resourceful. But she is a child, with all the weaknesses of too few years, which often leads her into trouble.
Still, her strength of character, and the overall messages of empowerment are refreshing and inspiring. With a foot in both Science Fiction and Fantasy, A Wrinkle in Time is a bridge between reality and fantasy, a meeting place for adult and child readers alike. Meg leads the adventure with her younger, gifted brother and her secret High School crush on her heels.
Though she is your typical insecure, average-looking teen she is clearly gifted, but grappling with her identity as anything effectual let alone valuable to anyone. Surrounded by her brilliant parents; her father recently disappeared while experimenting, her mother is the beautiful scientist slash stay at home mom; and her little brother the certified genius status and brainier than them all, she feels completely ordinary and unexceptional. While her little brother may "have all the answers" he is very much in need of her protection, and Meg isn't afraid to take a punch or swing one.
The three mysterious, powerful guides through this fantastical journey are all female, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit, though we also run into the "Happy Medium" who is genderless. With clear, humorous narrative and believable characters this series, which also includes A Wind in the Door , and A Swiftly Tilted Planet , are great examples of lit featuring strong female lead characters without it feeling contrived or like the author is making a "statement.
It's no wonder it's a classic. I loved this wild and unruly story for its whimsical course, poetic prose, and indomitable heroine. She is a fiercely independent 7th grader who is so wonderfully Portland. She's vegan, her hobbies include yoga and single-speed bicycle repair. She's fantastic. While she grew up hearing stories of how she should never set foot in The Impassable Wilderness of Portland, she never dreamed it was because it encompasses Wildwood; a massive Narnianesque pocket with its own history, civilization, perils, and magic.
Prue sets off into the wild in search of her baby brother, Mac, who's been abducted by a murder of crows. She is intimidated by neither royalty nor witchery and tenaciously discovers all she can to rescue Mac from the Wildwood. I love that the villainous Dowager Empress comes across as both miraculous, and realistic. Nothing is black and white in the Wildwood, and you eventually find that every story has many sides. With no objectionable material, this makes an excellent read-aloud and Audible's audiobook version is great. Here West creates a deeply original world, evocative of India, or the Arabian Nights, or ancient Japan; I really can't place it, as it is truly its own, with its unique dichotomy of cultures.
Her prose is lyrical and descriptive, the ponderous pace of the story isn't for everyone, but this epic fantasy is replete with strong, charismatic women of all walks of life. From Diora, the world's most beautiful woman, gifted with a kind of siren song; to Jewel, and her reluctant rise to leadership of a different kind; to a street child and her gang who are adopted into one of the feuding noble houses; the strength of women abounds in these books. The series is massive in scope, being the story of a place as much as of the people and their relationships in it, encompassing six books, each weighing in around pages.
The Sun Sword novels are filled with complex political machinations, and themes addressing the power of choice, and the difference between heroes, and heroism. How do you take down an empire that will wash away all traces of your culture and customs? From the inside. This provocative geopolitical fantasy was such a surprise. Don't let the talk of numbers and accountants fool you, Baru is a fascinating character who vows to free her home by becoming a tool of the empire she seeks to escape. She is beyond smart, a savant is more like it, pragmatic, and calculating. Her journey is brutal in a world where genocide and "re-education programs" are the means of unifying the nations, but she is determined to orchestrate a revolution.
The prose is tense and tight, and sends you hurtling through events as you try to get your feet under you. There are sequels on the way, but this is an incredible beginning. Such a lovely dark and enchanting series! Fair warning, you can't just read volume one and call it a day or you miss the great character and plot development this story has to offer. It really does get so much better with each edition. Kibuishi delivers fantastic adventure wrapped in interesting art. I love his style with very cartoon-looking characters living in very detailed scenery and it's super fun to look for the Easter eggs in the background!
Our main characters are a sibling duo; Emily, the big sister, is more bull-headed and plows onward while her younger brother is a bit more cautious. She has been chosen as the next Stonekeeper, and struggles to control her powers, solve the mysteries, and save her mom. She is smart, brave, and kind-hearted. While this could appeal to pretty young readers as there is nothing offensive in it, adults who love graphic novels thoroughly enjoy it as well. First thing to know? This is a high fantasy, complete with dark magic oozing into the world, valor, mysterious elves, magical artifacts, betrayal, triumph all the good things that genre has to offer.
If that's not your cup of tea, move along the list, but teen runaway Karrigan is very relatable, and grows into her role as a rider and the heroism required of her. She is intelligent, not perfect, but brave. She accepts her responsibility to keep her promise and sticks to it; though arguably some of that is due to being to nave to do anything other than allow herself to be pushed along by the current of events.
- Huntsman: A Novel.
- The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1) by Kelley Armstrong;
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The story moves along at a good pace, keeping you invested in her future and that of the world she's just beginning to understand. It's a very family safe book, an excellent read-aloud choice as there is no swearing or sex, and even though there are many scenes of intense peril, some deaths, and many dangerous exploits, they are nearly always followed by a brief respite of some kind or other throughout the story.
There is also a horse. A really awesome, almost magically intelligent horse that is seriously one of my favorite characters in this book. Comparisons to George R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series abound when discussing Kushiel's Dart , but this novel isn't what you would think of as typical fantasy; it's much more focused on the sex, which is explicit throughout. However, it's still as chock-full of political intrigue and nuanced characters as any fantasy tale. Taking place on a slightly different version of the Earth we know, Phdre n Delaunay is a servant sold to a nobleman who realizes she's been marked by the gods.
Phdre's fate is to be a courtesan, special because of the bond she feels between pain and pleasure. There's more to the plot than just BDSM, though; Phdre acts as both courtesan and spy, which leads her on a quest to save her country. From humble beginnings, she uses her cunning, loyalty, and compassion to become diplomat, spymaster, and an incredible tactician. With a strong female lead and extensive world-building, Jacqueline Carey's novel won the Locus Award and was nominated for the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards. If you're not afraid of some graphic sex, pedophilia, and abuse, definitely check out this first book in the Kushiel's Universe series.
This rendition of the classic fairytale inspired the Disney cartoon of the 90's, and the live action film in The fairytale I grew up with featured the typical ugly, selfish, mean-spirited sisters, and the beautiful, kind and good youngest sister, who was enviably Daddy's favorite. McKinley re-envisions the story with heart, making it a story of a loving family, torn apart by circumstance.
We get loads of character development about Beauty herself, who is actually quite plain, but loves books and learning. Her sisters are actually quite lovely inside and out , filled with affection for one another, including their youngest sister. Beauty's intelligence, resourcefulness, and courage drive the story forward here, slowly drawing the beast into something resembling civility.
It's become the new standard framework for the story, and many younger readers don't realize Beauty was never bookish, strong-minded, or let's face it, all that interesting, before McKinley wrote Beauty. His Dark Materials plunges you into an intriguing alternate universe that is both familiar, and strange. Imagine a world where we each have our own daemons spirit animals that are actually an extension of ourselves but they change and fluctuate as we grow into ourselves I love this concept so much.
I also love the nearly steampunk feel to the old-yet-new world Pullman constructs, replete with witches, armored bears, angels, and magic. Just because Lyra is a child does not mean this book is just for children, and Pullman definitely intended adults to connect to it. Lyra is courageous and bold, even as she gets caught up in religious, political, and cultural conflict. She is the one to set off to rescue the young men of her life who are imperiled by the adults who should protect them; especially the nefarious Mrs.
Coulter who is beautiful, intelligent, and dangerous. My favorite character aside from Iorek Byrnison a bear that commands the full use of his name at each mention is the extraordinary Serafina Pekkala, Queen of the Witches. She is wise, compassionate, tough as nails, and an incredible shot with a bow. Earthsea Cycle. Books 2 and 4 in the Earthsea Cycle feature Tenar, raised by a loving family, then offered as sacrifice at the "request" of the priestesses and becomes Arha; the Eaten One.
Dark, mysterious, and labyrinthine; these are definitely the Yin to the Yang of Sparrowhawk's stories in the Earthsea Cycle. Tenar is strong, and curious, though she is taught never to question the religion she leads. In Tombs of Atuan she holds a high position of power, but no freedom until she meets a wizard from the outside world. Serving as High Priestess to the gods of Death she does not fear it, nor the darkness.
Her personal strength and our respect for her only grows as we see what she has done with her life, and who she becomes. Tehanu is an interesting story that casts aside most of the old fantasy tropes in favor of an unexpected story of the "end" of the careers of both Sparrowhawk and Tenar. LeGuin proves she has no need of magic to make a fascinating read, and the fate of an abused, abandoned girl Therru comes to the forefront.
Highlighting the Taoist concepts of being versus doing, Tehanu is a different kind of story than the rest of the Cycle, both harrowing and beautiful in its dark, poetic voyage onward past the point that most novels fade and cut. Themes of gender, patriarchy, and abuse make it a thought-provoking finale to the whole. This masterpiece has garnered both the Nebula and Locus awards for best novel, while Tombs of Atuan landed a Newberry. Based on an obscure Grimm fairytale, Hale weaves her magic here. If you've ever read original Grimm in all its glory, you know it's pretty harsh and cold. She stays true to the heart of this story, but molds it into something more complex and interesting and sets it on the central Asian Steppes.
Dashti, maid to Lady Saren, is locked with her in a tower for seven years as a punishment for refusing to marry the man Daddy picked. Soon the food left for them spoils, they are dealing with climate extremes with no resources, and struggling to survive. It's a story pretty much all about these two women in isolation, but the world building is actually very solid. The cultures here include regions ruled by women, as well as a unique religion that holds the "magic" of the story.
Dashti is really the best part. She is resilient, educated, funny, caring, and loyal to a fault. Not your typical flawless beauty wielding a sword, which was refreshing. Despite her role as servant, and attitude of servitude, her voice is the strongest. It seems there would be a limited scope to the story given the circumstances, but it's full of surprises. In this unique novel, our heroine is one of three people who have never met, yet share the thoughts and sensory experiences of each other unless carefully veiled.
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Daniel is Chloe's Maya's best friend and she wants to keep it that way so no kissy-wissy despite being attractive to every girl except her. I'm not so sure. I loved Maya's parents. They were good people and genuinely loved and cared for their adopted daughter. Parents are rarely seen or heard in YA these days or if they're around they're neglectful of their duties, clueless about their children and their actions. Maya has close relationships with them and I chuckled every time she lovingly teased her father mercilessly.
Her directness was embarrassing! My impatience came into play when everything is blatantly obvious to us readers but we're waiting for the characters to catch on or impart important information to these poor clueless kids. They don't realise that what they're joking around about is actually real and true because to them it's too far-fetched. I feel like I'm steps ahead of them and my foot's itching to kick them to motivate them to catch up. Intellectually I know this is just a slow build up, establishing Maya's world so we can understand how devastating it'll be for her and her friends when it all falls apart but just That cliffhanger, I knew it was coming but it still burns.
If I had the next instalment I would be reading it right now instead of writing this so I enjoyed the book well enough. However, I didn't particularly take to Rafe. Perhaps I was reading too much into the whole love triangle thing of the last trilogy but I was hoping Daniel would take Maya's dad's offer of the truck and marry Maya. He's far more likeable than Rafe and I got the impression he might be interested in dating Maya but as I said before, I might be reading too much into his actions. How many of the kids were taken, if any?
Did Annie make it out and will we see her again? How is everything going to explained? Who will get what explanation? It's going to be tough to come up with a cover story about the way the fire spread and the strange people with guns pretending to be rescue workers but I think it will be entertaining to see "them" try. Smooth, soft cover, paper and page edges.
Definitely not a cheap mass market paperback. View all 19 comments.
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Oct 11, Crystal Starr Light rated it it was ok Shelves: are-we-there-yet , young-adult , urban-fantasy , summer-of-love , massive-disappointment , plot-what-plot , idiot-protagonist , romance-in-disguise , owned-challenge , big-heap-of-meh. Bullet Review: 75 pages of plot ballooned out to pages. Characters are complete morons, without a shred of common sense. Ain't nobody got time for that! You cannot say that I'm bloating the rating just because I liked Armstrong's earlier books. Massive disappointment; if I didn't already own the rest of the trilogy, I would Bullet Review: 75 pages of plot ballooned out to pages.
Massive disappointment; if I didn't already own the rest of the trilogy, I would quit here. Full Review: Maya is totally not a normal teen in a totally not normal town - but even though those two are fairly obvious, no one even bats an eye. Maya heals animals super fast, talks with cougars like it's no big deal, and has visions of running through the forest - but that's what everyone has, right? Everyone can do that? The town was built by the totally-not suspicious St. Clouds and has a set-up straight out of a Stephen King horror novel - but again, totes legit.
Maya's friend, Serena, died "drowning" the previous year in a lake that should be called a kiddie pool, but even though Serena was a top notch swimmer, no one bats an eye. Maya has a friend Daniel, who is totally not into her in the romantic way. Nope nope, that would be weird. And the new "bad boy", Rafe, is totally hot and sexy in that Latino way, so that means it's totally okay to break your rule about dating local boys for a makeout session or seventeen - RIGHT??! All the problems of this book go back to One Ultimate Problem: there is too little story spread out over pages.
There is nothing inherently wrong with Maya's character I love how she's Native with Native culture or Daniel or Rafe or the setup of the town or the mysterious death of Serena. Actually, all this could be a setup to a great horror movie! Okay, maybe not great, but scary, definitely. The problem is, this book is basically the first two chapters or so of a real book.
It's all setup, not even a teensie bit of a payout. Do we find out how Serena died? Do we find out how Mina died? Do we find out how the fire was set? Do we know anything about Maya's family? Hot, duh! And on. And so forth. It doesn't help that so much of the book feels like the same basic plot as Darkest Powers - girl finds out from someone else who infodumps it to her, because GOD FORBID a woman know her own magical powers without being told by a male!
We aren't idiots. Your characters aren't idiots. Open their eyes and let them see what's standing right in front of them. Oh and some of the survival tactics run completely counter to everything I'd read before. Pepper spray? Most sites say not to run away if you meet a cougar. And probably the biggest one is about climbing a tree to escape a bear.
Armstrong, I hate to be rude, but did you do research or just make some of this up for drama? Common sense tells me I should avoid the sequel based on my dislike of this book; however, I am hopeful, with pages of setup out of the way, perhaps we can get to the actual story. Plus I own all three books. On a side note I used to snap up all of Armstrong's books when they came out.
Glad I'm not doing that anymore. View all 14 comments. Apr 05, Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies rated it it was ok Shelves: ya , sci-fi , urban-fantasy , werewolves , on-the-run. I don't even know where to start. I don't know about you, but I'm not too fond of writing essays, and I was pretty terrible at it in grade school. I tend to BS my way through them then, I just ramble and make random, dramatic statements and reactions and not much actual facts until the very last part of my paper, where I realize, OH SHIT, I only have words left, and I need to make a point!!!!!!
This is what it feels like Ms. Armstrong did for the ending. I'm sorry, is there an actual plot to this book? Too much background. Way, way too much background, and not enough flesh or plot. I know more than I need to about how wonderful her parents are, the mean-spiritedness of bad-girl Sam, and the wonderful, pretty, scenic little town and I mean little owned by the St.
Cloud corporation and all the hush-hush that goes on surrounding the lab. We hear the word "skinwalker" like twice in the first half. One by a crazy lazy who pretty much spitefully shouts it at Maya while she's about to get a tattoo. I really have no idea what this series wants to be. My history with Kelley Armstrong is a long and solid one. I've read all her books in the Underworld series and Elena and Clay are one of my few most beloved couples in UF.
I inhaled all the books where they are protagonists, they're definitely my favorite in the series. I wasn't very impressed, so much so that I dropped the series. This new series, Darkness Rising, is somewhat better than DP, but still hasn't left me very impressed so far. The story is set in a tiny community somewhere on Vancouver Island, Canada. Salmon Creek is a small village whose residents work for a pharmaceutical company who does classified medical research. There's something definitely fishy going on in the community: from Serena's - Maya's best friend - death, to the appearance of an ever- increasing number of unknown cougars, to a series of weird events punctuating Maya's life.
There were some nice - and original - aspects to this story that I particularly appreciated. The setting, for starters, is really nice. Descriptions of the community, the wilderness and the wildlife are really well done, atmospheric. There's always an animalistic taste to Armstrong's books when she deals with shapeshifters that I find extremely enticing.
Because after all, shapeshifters they are, in this book. Skin-walkers, to be precise, a race of supernaturals that I had yet to encounter in fantasy. The mythology, tied to native Americans, is definitely a point which I found very interesting and that I would have wanted to - and that I hope will be - explored more in the next installments. What I didn't like was when said mythology got contaminated with a not-so-native regional Italian secret sect of hunters, the Benandanti, which had, in my opinion, very little to do with native Americans.
There might be ignorance on my part on this subject but the sect is, incidentally, originally from the area where I live and I am pretty sure we have nothing in common with native American shapeshifters. The other problem I had is that some scenes between Maya and Rafe, especially the ones when they are in the woods, felt very much similar to some Elena and Clay's scenes view spoiler [ and if they're similar now, I can't imagine how similar they will be when they will play in the forest as cougars hide spoiler ]. So basically, while I enjoyed the book cliffhanger aside I had the distinct feeling that this - or part of this - was just a YA version of a story that's already been successfully told.
I wish Kelley Armstrong had just stuck to adult urban fantasy because, to me, it definitely feels like she's trying to milk the YA cash cow by exploiting some trite paranormal YA tropes. For this review and more follow The Nocturnal Library. View all 12 comments. Apr 29, Catie rated it liked it Shelves: read-in , paranormal , series , ya. A wild and eerie setting is described, a cast of powerful teenagers is introduced, a few mysteries are presented, and a romance begins.
And then it just ends. However, I have to say that the elements that are present — the setting, the characters, the conflicts, and the romance — are all pretty well done. Honestly, my recommendation is to wait for the second and third books of this series to be released before reading this one. This book takes place in a very remote part of Vancouver Island, in a tiny town called Salmon Creek. The terrain is lush and uncultivated, and inhabited by dangerous wildlife. Maya is a teenage girl who has been raised in Salmon Creek, which barely has a population of two hundred.
All of the adults are employed by the St. Cloud corporation, a large medical research facility. Cloud corporation, almost like a benevolent trustworthy entity that she needs to defend. When a journalist shows up in the town asking questions, and Maya starts having more cougar run-ins than can be considered healthy, she finally decides to get to the bottom of everything. Complicating her life is an attraction to the new kid in town, Rafe. Not even the minor ones! Cloud corporation?
When will she shift? When Rafe and Maya get treed by a bear in one of the final scenes it just seems like, really? How about resolving even one or two of the more minor mysteries? So yes, the huge gaping lack of resolution in this story really bothers me. But, I still love the characters Daniel in particular , the fantastic setting, and I like the romance for the most part.
The relationship between Maya and Rafe is mature and sweet. I will probably read the second book in this trilogy…but I may wait for the third book to be released before I do! View all 10 comments. May 11, Anne rated it liked it Shelves: read-in , paranormal , young-adult. Yes, she was adopted, so there could be potentially creepy birth-parents lurking out there, but I'm a firm believer that the people who raise you are your real parents. This book could have been really boring I scarfed it down in one day if that tells you anything.
The opening chapter really grabbed me, mostly because I didn't see it coming. Loved him. And that leads me to Things I Didn't Love 1 Rafe. Oh, I liked him, I just didn't like him that way. He was just so I'm really hoping that Armstrong pulls a switcheroo, and Maya ends up with Daniel. Not getting my hopes up though, since Armstrong seemed to be trying awful hard to make him seem like a misunderstood bad-boy with a heart of gold.
Well, stuff happened, but I kept waiting for it to really get cranking, and It felt like I was waiting on these kids to figure out what I knew from the first page. Hurry up and get it already! I didn't even feel any real urgency to discover the truth as they were getting on the helicopter. Don't get me wrong, I want to read the rest of the books, because I'm guessing that this is just a really slow set-up, but I was hoping for some kind of exciting climax at the end. Or something. At the end of the day, though, Armstrong's writing still wins out. I'm hooked. I might as well go ahead and put the next book on my to-read list right now.
View 1 comment. Apr 12, AH rated it really liked it Shelves: paranormal , first-in-series , library-finds , zzread-june , young-adult , shifters. I love her easy-going storytelling style. I was a bit hesitant to pick up this book because I did not enjoy her Darkest Powers series as much as her adult series. I was pleasantly surprised by this book.
I was captivated by the story and could not put the book down. The Gathering is the story of Maya Delaney, a 16 year old girl who lives in an extremely isolated community on Vancouver Island. Salmon Creek is home to about residents who all work in mysterious research jobs for the St. Cloud Corporation. The residents have excellent health care, fantastic school, and good housing. The setting was truly a win.
Every time that I travel to British Columbia, it never ceases to amaze me just how isolated you can be only a few miles from a city or town. For some pictures of the area click here. She is strong and stands up for herself. Definitely not a doormat! Fitz the three legged bobcat, Marv the cougar, even her dog Kenji, all were attracted to Maya. The other teenage characters were interesting as well. Rafe, the resident bad boy, seems to have a lot of surprises and secrets.
I have so many questions! I want more! View all 8 comments. Since I loved the Darkest Powers trilogy so very much, the realization that was already bored and did not enjoy myself particularly hit me rather unexpectedly when I started flipping forward around page Certainly my heavy cold with a nasty headache included in the package has to carry part of my inability to focus on the supposedly unnerving small-town-story, but I really do not care enough about the characters' fate to prove this theory under stabilized conditions later.
After page Since I loved the Darkest Powers trilogy so very much, the realization that was already bored and did not enjoy myself particularly hit me rather unexpectedly when I started flipping forward around page After pages I leave Salmon Creek behind without a trace of regret. Good bye, Cougar Girl. View all 9 comments. Nov 15, Beth Dawkins rated it really liked it. Maya lives in a small research town. She is recovering after her best friend's questionable death.
When she starts to look into it with Daniel, boyfriend of her dead friend. Instead of discovering answers all they find are more questions about themselves, and the town. Sometimes I feel jealous of YA novels. The covers are so pretty and there are so many. I wonder if there were so many when I was in school. I don't remember, but I think the Urban Fantasy craze picked up before I graduated.
So whe Maya lives in a small research town. It is fast paced, easy to read but also a beta run right now so it could change. This is also the first thing I have ever read by Kelly Armstrong, but I look forward to reading more from her in the near future. She does an amazing job with bringing the characters through with dialogue which made it special. I want to read the next one, now, but that won't be for a while since this one is not even out yet. Then why a four, and not five stars? Two reasons, there are books we read for entertainment, and books we read for its depth.
This is entertainment. The magical five star books are those that can weave both and bring us face to face with the characters. This is not one of those. The second reason is a lack of..
67 Books Every Geek Should Read to Their Kids Before Age 10
Its a YA novel so the description is not grand because we don't want to bore our teens to death. I don't know if I fully believe that lack of description is a good thing. Then again I have always been a 'push the limits' girl. Bottom line is that I do think this story has promise and I look forward to another one It left me wanting more. Which, lucky me, the author has LOTS more to gobble up. I don't think it is for everyone but I would have liked it as a young teen 12?
Its also a book that a mother and daughter could share and discuss. There is a fair amount of supernatural in the book. All of the main characters start to show some type of ability. This amounted to tense situations. It does have a fair amount of romance, but nothing, in my opinion, that is too racy for teens. It tries to work in a love triangle between Maya, Daniel and bad boy Rafe.
Still the romance feels like background noise in comparison to the action and danger surrounding the teens. All this is just a impression, I didn't go into details about the story because it is a beta, a lot could change. I did enjoy it! After a cliff hanger ending, I am ready for the second.
View all 3 comments. Apr 27, Angela rated it it was ok Shelves: paranormal , young-adult , read-in , stars , urban-fantasy , mindless-indulgence. Slow and underdeveloped start to new trilogy, 2. A year after her best friend's death, Maya and her friend Daniel still don't have answers about how Serena died. When other people start to show up dead in the woods and Maya begins to have strange moments of connection with animals, she decides to start looking for answers. All the while, things are heating up between Maya and bad b Slow and underdeveloped start to new trilogy, 2.
All the while, things are heating up between Maya and bad boy Rafe who may have secrets of his own. Maya and her friends soon start to discover that things may not be as safe on the island as they once thought. Similar to her prior books, Armstrong's easy writing style and engaging setting kept me reading. Likable characters such as Daniel, Rafe, Annie, and Maya's parents drew me into the story as did the gripping prologue that set up the mystery. Armstrong's descriptions and use of Canadian slang created a firm sense of place, and her respectful representation of Native people and the weaving of myth and culture into the plot also made the setting feel real.
Even with these strong points, this novel fell short for me because of its limited plot development and obvious similarities to her previous trilogy. While parts of the mythology were new, prior readers of her Darkest Powers series will know immediately what's happening to Maya and who the villains will be. Even such, readers learn very little in this book about the possible powers or identities of the different teens except for Maya and Rafe. The plot itself did not move forward much at all, and the book finished with a cliffhanger that didn't even feel like one. Though I can't stand cliffhangers, the one that's provided didn't even make me eager to read the next installment.
The book overall feels like an extended prologue leading up to action we haven't seen yet. As the narrator, Maya was likable for her assertive personality and quick wit but it seemed hard to believe that she was so well-liked by most everyone despite being somewhat abrasive. I was also disappointed that the romance looks destined to fall into the requisite pattern of a love triangle. I'm left feeling cautious about this new series and where it will go. In future books, I hope Armstrong provides a more substantial plot, some unexpected twists about the villains, and a greater sense of self-containment to each novel.
Apr 03, Cesar rated it really liked it. Can I just say that it's good to reread a book you like? Even if it's been a long time, there's still that lingering feeling of how much you liked it. It was the same for me after reading The Gathering. For those of you who don't know, the Darkness Rising trilogy is a spin-off of the Darkest Power trilogy. We follow a new cast of characters as well as a new plot that is 4 stars So begins my journey of rereading the first two books in the Darkness Rising trilogy and start the last book, The Rising.
We follow a new cast of characters as well as a new plot that is somewhat related to the other trilogy. In this book, we follow Maya, a sixteen-year-old who is just living her life in the small town she lives in along with her family and friends. She's just living her day-to-day life, enjoying her life. That is And it all centers around the town, the mysterious new guy, Rafe; and Maya. Kelley Armstrong has a way of enticing me into her books. She writes in a simple way but it's still entertaining. Simple and to the point.
Which makes the pacing go by quick. One reason why I like this series is how Armstrong manages to keep me interested in the plot by adding some good mystery to it. Like the previous trilogy, this one also has some mysteries and conspiracies that are waiting to be uncovered.
They leave you guessing and wanting more in the next book. Maya and the other characters were actually good. Dare I say, better than the ones in the Darkest Powers trilogy. Maya was bolder than Chloe and had more character to her. Even the side characters and Rafe, the romantic interest, stood out. I wouldn't say they're the best side characters, but good enough that I liked them. And to top it all off, I liked how the setting was in a small town in Canada. There's just something charming about small towns.
It's the simple things in life that are enjoyable, even small towns. My only flaw would have to be the romance. It wasn't a bad one. But Maya's inner dialogue about Rafe was a bit too much. Other than that, it didn't get in the way. Verdict I'm glad I decided to read both trilogies this year as my reading goal for This series has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time and I decided that I would finally finish the Darkness Rising trilogy.
A great start to a series and one that I enjoyed even after all these years. Thanks for reading my review! Aug 16, Colleen Houck added it Shelves: shifter , native-american. I really liked this book for several reasons. First, I should say that I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was fantastic! The opening scene was scary and interesting.
Loved the new take on shifters. The end was left open for a sequel which I will pick up as soon as I can. Daniel was my favorite character though Rafe was interesting too. Love the three legged Fitz! View all 4 comments. Sep 02, Charlene marked it as finishing-later. A www I hope Derek and Chloe comes back Mar 05, Jennifer Rayment rated it it was amazing.
She climbed a tree to escape a cat. She's suffering from a serious case of stupid. Must be a low-budget Canadian production. Did I go to sleep and wake up in the nineteenth century? I can't go to school like this. Where's my Corset? My bonnet? Dad sighed as Mom walked in with her empty teacup.
Interesting plot, intriguing characters but I'm still having issues when it comes to the writing. It's okay, but it tends to get pretty repetitive. I don't know how many times we were reminded that the town is tiny and isolated. I get it, really I do. Other then that though, I enjoyed this one. I got a kick out of the setting, which was in Canada yay us and I loved how this one revolved around animals and Maya's story behind it. I also really liked Daniel, I'm not sure if he's playing the big Interesting plot, intriguing characters but I'm still having issues when it comes to the writing.
I really liked Armstrong's Darkest Powers trilogy so the Darkness Rising series looks to be a promising start and I'm looking forward to seeing where she'll take this. View all 17 comments. Dec 06, Mlpmom Book Reviewer rated it liked it Shelves: kindle-books. I really liked Armstrong's first foray into the YA genre with her Darkest Powers series so when I saw that she had a new one, I knew it was something I really wanted to try and was keeping my fingers crossed that I would like it every bit as much as I did the first series.
This was a fun entertaining read and while it was sometimes formulated and predictable it was still entertaining enough that I wanted to keep turning the pages. There is something to be said about characters and a sto 3.
There is something to be said about characters and a storyline that are interesting and engaging enough that even if you think you know what is going to happen next, you still want to read on and discover if you are right. I loved the new take on tribal lore, witches, and shifters and am excited to start book two to see where it will take Maya and her friends next.
View 2 comments. But I got it back again. So, yaaaaay. Uh yeah, I guess I should explain that. Well, so Seth is one out of the few people who actually read my reviews. And he's always like, "Briiigiiid where's your next revieeeeew? This review was in Seth's butt for a while. Now, the actual review. It feels like I read this ages and ages ago.
It was like a week ago, actually. But in Brigid-time, that is quite a long time. I don't know why I've been postponing it for so long besides the fact that it was stuck in Seth's butt. I really liked it, I guess I just don't have a ton to say. Or maybe I do and I don't know it yet. Let's see! So, I loved Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers trilogy——and if you haven't read them, read those before this one.
Darkness Rising is a spin-off of Darkest Powers. As of yet, the two stories aren't directly related, but they share a few of the same characters and there are several references to Darkest Powers in The Gathering. For example, Liz is briefly in this one, also Dr. Davidoff and the St.
Clouds are mentioned, etc. In fact, I actually disliked it in the beginning. But about halfway through, I got hooked.