Of Feminist Werewolves and Consenting Vampires - Kickass Feminist SFF

Discussion in 'General Book Discussion' started by The Bluestocking, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. The Bluestocking

    The Bluestocking Bloody Mary in Blue

    Feb 20, 2014
    Today I half-jokingly posted "Feminist werewolves. That is all." as my Chrons status update and @Ensign Shah asked me what series I was reading.

    I told her about them and then checked this section to see if anyone's started a thread listing of kickass feminist SFF series/books or SFF with feminist themes and characters as well.

    There are, of course, the classics and/or bestsellers from Margaret Atwood, Lois McMaster Bujold, Ursula K Leguin, Octavia Butler, Anne McCaffrey, Suzanne Collins et al. However, I'm talking about books that have come out in the last 10 - 15 years and are lesser known - they have their own loyal fan bases but aren't as widely known as the books by the authors above. Many of them come from Urban Fantasy and YA... which isn't a surprise given that female authors dominate those genres/spaces.

    NOTE: Strangely, there seems to be more books featuring feminist werewolves than feminist vampires...

    So I thought I'd kick off the list here. These are books that I have read and therefore can personally recommend. I know that there are a ton more out there so please add your own recommendations if you have them!
    • The OTHERS OF THE COURTYARD series by Anne Bishop - Excellent Second-world Fantasy featuring a werewolf male protagonist who understands the importance of consent and female autonomy.
    • The PARASOL PROTECTORATE series by Gail Carriger - Steampunk mashed up with paranormal romance and a hefty helping of laugh-out-loud comedy. Carriger writes with superb comic timing and her female protagonist is one helluva woman (whose werewolf husband loves her precisely because she is so).
    • The WORLD OF THE LUPI series by Eileen Wilks - In Wilks' world, werewolves are staunchly anti-violence against women, grandmothers change into formidable tigers, and the lead protagonist is a Chinese American female cop who can kick ass with the best of them.
    • The CASSANDRA PALMER series by Karen Chance - Urban Fantasy featuring a female protagonist who has to deal with sexism and school her love interests (one a vampire and one a mage) about the importance of treating her as an equal partner. Lots of high octane paranormal action and lots of well-rounded female characters as well.
    • The ORPHAN X series by Gregg Hurwitz - A feminist James Bond!
    • The WARM BODIES series by Isaac Marion - Marion writes beautifully about female friendship and a male zombie who understands the concept of consent.
    • The TRUTHWITCH series by Susan Dennard - An epic fantasy with a strong female friendship at its core and plenty of female-led action sequences.
    • The GLAMOURIST HISTORIES series by Mary Robinette Kowal - Jane Austen-type fantasy with a twist - the protagonist is a skilled glamourist and an independent-minded woman who is in a marriage of equals.
    • The CRAFT SEQUENCE series by Max Gladstone - A world where "lawyers ride lightning bolts, souls are currency, and cities are powered by the remains of fallen gods"... and female characters have power and influence.
    • The SHIFTERS series by Rachel Vincent - The female protagonist is a werecat who breaks the patriarchal mold to lead her people and square off against alpha male werecat contenders who want her dead.
    • The MAGIC EX LIBRIS series by Jim C. Hines - An amusing and very humane tale featuring powerful librarians, kickass tree nymphs, and a whole lot of book adventures.
    • The NIGHTSIDE series by Simon R. Green - Shotgun Suzie. 'Nuff said.
    • The ALEX VERUS series by Benedict Jacka - A male protagonist who treats women as his equal, plenty of well-rounded female characters, and a giant female spider who is a Wise Woman figure of sorts.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  2. Juliana

    Juliana Juliana Spink Mills. "No capes!"

    Jun 28, 2012
    Connecticut, USA

    Seanan McGuire's INCRYPTID series is amazing. Really good fun and the first two books have a female MC that does competition ballroom dancing with knives and guns strapped under her costume...

    VE Schwab's DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC and sequels have the awesome Lila Bard, thief and adventurer.

    Elliott James' PAX ARCANA series has a male protagonist, John Charming, werewolf and former Knight of the Covenant. Like the Alex Verus books, Charming also treats women as equals, and his partner is a literal Valkyrie.
    Ensign Shah and The Bluestocking like this.
  3. Randy M.

    Randy M. Well-Known Member

    Mar 7, 2012
    Among the classics, don't forget The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter, feminist fairy tales told with wit and humor, illustrating and dramatizing her points without preaching; I believe this book has directly influenced many writers, male and female and Carter's influence extends to more mainstream writers as well.

    And from that, while you seem more interested in series, I'd point to sf/f/h in short fiction written from a woman's perspective as being particularly strong since around the turn of the century:

    M. [Mary] Rickert: Holiday (I haven't read Map of Dreams yet)
    Holly Phillips: In the Palace of Repose
    Theodora Goss: In the Forest of Forgetting
    Angela Slatter: A Feast of Sorrows
    Tananarive Due: Ghost Summer
    Caitlin Kiernan: To Charles Fort, With Love
    Susannah Clark: The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories
    Sarah Monette: The Bone Key (male protagonist, but this is Monette's take on ghost/horror stories of M. R. James and H. P. Lovecraft and her female characters range from plucky to frightening)

    In between other books, I'm dipping into another collection by Monette, and I have other collections by Kiernan and Phillips, as well as collections by Kij Johnson, Ekaterina Sedia, Kage Baker, Catherynne Valente, Patricia McKillop, Elizabeth Bear, Maureen McHugh, Nnedi Okorafor, Nalo Hopkinson and Gemma Files.

    And that doesn't even take into account the massive collections Saga just reissued from Ursula K. Le Guin or DAW's reissuing of Tanith Lee titles.

    Randy M.
    (hoo boy, I knew I was behind in my reading, but geez)
    The Bluestocking likes this.
  4. Ensign Shah

    Ensign Shah Ship's Counsellor

    Jul 25, 2015
    West Yorkshire, England
    Yay! Kickass female characters is just what mini Ensign Shah and I need. Thank you for the list. Will collect up my book tokens immediately. :love:
    The Bluestocking and Juliana like this.
  5. The Bluestocking

    The Bluestocking Bloody Mary in Blue

    Feb 20, 2014
    Some of the book series I've listed may not be suitable for under 12s but here are a couple of series by the some of the authors I've listed that are YA and may be just what mini Ensign Shah would love:
    • The FINISHING School series by Gail Carriger - About a finishing school for teenage female spies in Carriger's Steampunk Victorian alternate world.
    • The PRINCESSES series by Jim C. Hines - Featuring alternate characterisations and adventures for all the fairy tale princess stories ranging from Snow White to Sleeping Beauty. In Hines' version, all of them are kickass and that save their own selves, thank you very much!
    Ensign Shah likes this.
  6. The Bluestocking

    The Bluestocking Bloody Mary in Blue

    Feb 20, 2014
    Seriously though - anybody read any books or book series with a feminist vampire in it?

    I can't think of any. Feminist vampire slayer, yes. Feminist vampire? No. Maybe on TV (Buffy) but not books (I'm excluding TV series tie-in books).
  7. nixie

    nixie pixie druid Staff Member

    May 4, 2005
    I may live in Yorkshire but I'm a Scot
    There is the Rachel Caine, Morganville series, a lot of female vampires in there. Although not main characters.
  8. Jo Zebedee

    Jo Zebedee Come away, oh human child - Waters and the Wild

    Oct 5, 2011
    Actually the best - by quite a long margin - female vampire character I've read was a beta read for a Chronner (@ctg ) who has the most astonishing character. And definitely kickass.
  9. Carolyn Hill

    Carolyn Hill Brown Rat, wandering & wondering

    Apr 8, 2006
    Carrie Vaughn, Kitty and the Midnight Hour --the main character is a female werewolf who hosts a paranormal-themed radio talk show.

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