Top Ten Fictional Heroines

Top10TuesdayI’m trying out a new group called Top Ten Tuesday. This blog hop (that’s my description; they call it a meme) is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s topic is a freebie; we get to choose our own list.  Mine is “Top ten fictional heroines I love.” Some are from classics, but other are from lesser known books–but all of them are highly recommended reads.
  • Chani Liet-Kynes, from Dune by Frank Herbert
    Although I’ve read Dune more often than any other book (>20 times), I can’t say I adore the hero, Paul; his suffering I can admire but his triumph…meh. Chani, though, is to die for. Before we went to see the abominable 1984 film version, I told my wife that the love story dominates the book–and then Lynch turned it into a war movie. Yuck.
  • Jenny Cotton, from Again by Kathleen Gilles Seidel
    Wonderful, marvelous character! Seidel doesn’t seem to be writing new books, but her romances are all gems, and Jenny is the best of a fantastic lot–a complicated woman who is powerful not because she’s tough or kick-ass or beats men at their own game, but because of her intelligence and imagination.  Although this is a contemporary romance, lovers of Regencies will adore it too.  A soap opera set 200 years ago in England? Why hasn’t someone done this is real life?
  • Katniss Everdene, from the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    Funny, although I always remember the name of the books and have read all of them, I always have a hard time remembering Collins’s name.  Why is that, do you suppose?  Anyway, the first two books in the trilogy are great. The third, not so much.
  • Kylara Vatta, from by the Vatta’s War series by Elizabeth Moon
    This series cost me more sleepless nights that any other. The problem? Once I started reading I couldn’t stop, even if I didn’t finish until 6 a.m.  On a work night.  There are five books in the series, each of which I’ve read more than once, so that’s a lot of lost sleep.
  • Emma Woodhouse, from Emma by Jane Austen
    Sure, I could’ve chosen Elizabeth Bennett, but that’s too easy a choice–I bet Elizabeth would be on the top ten of half the people who read this. Emma is the most endearing unreliable narrator ever created. I marvel at how Austen achieved such a difficult feat of making Emma lovable. A tour de force.
  • Tompa Lee, from The Trilogy of Tompa Lee, by Edward Hoornaert
    I know this is cheating, but Tompa is the favorite heroine I’ve ever created, so she goes on the list.  She’s an ultimate underdog and although she’s a kick-ass heroine and kick-ass heroines usually bore me, Tompa does her kicking because of fear for survival rather than some obnoxious sense of invincibility or superiority.
  • Trilby Elliot, from Finders Keepers, by Linnea Sinclair
    Trilby’s another ultimate underdog, and I love underdogs. In fact, there’s quite of bit of Trilby in my own female characters, including of course Tompa but also Catteroon (Catt) Sayer in Escapee, which will be coming out early in the new year. Anything by Sinclair is worth reading, but Finders Keepers is my favorite.
  • Irene Adler, from “A Scandal in Bohemia” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    Any woman who can capture even a bit of Sherlock’s Holmes’s heart is a woman to be remembered and honored.  Would you believe I’ve read the Complete Sherlock Holmes five times?  How did I ever find the time to hold down a day job?
  • Podkayne, from Podkayne of Mars by Robert Heinlein
    Yes, the book is dated. Yes, Heinlein could be a male chauvinist pig at times. Despite this, young Podkayne has remained in my memory since high school, and when I reread the book recently, I was struck by how skillfully Heinlein establishes Podkayne’s character in just the first few pages.  Those pages are a writing clinic, so she makes the list.
  • Venetia Lanyon, from Venetia by Georgette Heyer
    Heyer is something of a guilty pleasure for me.  She’s good but far from great…except sometimes, when everything works just so.  This book is one of her best.  Furthermore, it was one of my mother’s favorite books–and since my mother’s birthday would have been last Friday, I’ll lionize Venetia in her memory.


Who’s on your top ten list? Tell us in the comments.

After you’ve left a comment, read any of the above books that you haven’t gotten to.  Reread any you have.  And when you have time, check out other people’s top ten lists or join the hop yourself.


Finally, you might be interesting in my Bookstores I love series of blogs:



  1. I love your category! And that you added Irene Adler!

    1. I’m ashamed to admit I had to look up her name. I remembered her as a character, though!

      1. lol I think thats understandable, i probably only remember the name because I watch the BBC show Sherlock 🙂

  2. Susan Lee · · Reply

    Love your list. Venetia is one of my favorites.

    1. You and my mum would’ve gotten along just great, then!

  3. Thanks for the shout-out on Trilby! I too would rank Kylara Vatta up there. Love those books. I would also include Sira from Julie Czerneda’s TRADE PACT series (if you haven’t read, they’re awesome!).

    I know a lot of SF people don’t feel JD Robb is SF-y enough but Eve Dallas is a great female character, IMHO.

    For those who like post-apocalypse SF, I highly recommend Marianne de Pierres’ Parrish Plessis books, starting with NYLON ANGEL.

    And yes, big Sherlock fan here as well. 😉 Love the originals and Laurie R King’s Mary Russell Holmes.

    1. Thanks for the great suggestions, Linnea–and especially for the reminder about Julie Czerneda. Her name keeps coming up lately, and I think that’s a cosmic message for me. Namely, finish reading her series already!

      I was privileged to man the SFWA booth with Julie at last October’s Toronto book fair. It had snowed the day before, so she and the other SFWA-er on our shift, Karina Sumner-Smith, showed phone pics of the blizzard. It was the quintessential Canadian conversation.

  4. Hummm, I would name Lady Sass from Linnea Sinclair’s Games of Command, Mercy Thompson from Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series, and Kitty Norville from Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series.

    1. Lady Sass works for me, too. As I said, anything by Sinclair could make the list.

      I’m not familiar with the other two characters. I’ll look into them, though. My stock of books on-hand has actually gone on a bit of a diet, and I prefer it to be nice and fat, with plenty of meaty options.

  5. Senneth from Sharon Shinn’s Twelve Houses series is my all-time favorite heroine. Rachel from Sharon Shinn’s Archangel is also a favorite.

    I’m currently re-reading Czerneda’s Trade Pact series since I just finished her Stratification series … Sira is a good choice.

    My favorite Austen heroine is Anne from Persuasion.

    1. I haven’t read any of Sharon Shinn’s works. I’ll have to take a look. Thanks for the suggestion, Antha!

      1. I think you’d like them. Great SFF world building + romance.

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