Raine Benares the main character and driving force of this series of 6 novels describing her adventure beginning with the finding of a very powerful, very dangerous, magic stone. Raine is not perfect, she flies by the seat of her pants and has trouble deciding when it comes to men- but she knows how to kick butt and isn’t afraid to do so. Periodically in this series the men come along to ‘save’ Raine… not to worry, she’s always well on the way to figuring out her own rescue herself. Enjoyable, light and fun these novels are perfect for a summer holiday or when you just need a break from the serious.
The plot features a man with ideas that are consistent with feminism, who has grown up in an otherwise patriarchal society. He discovers a woman with considerable potential and encourages her to break the expectations of her gender-determined role. However, it later transpires that she has done this before…
Let me just start off by saying: everything by Lois McMaster Bujold is feminist friendly. I chose the first novel of the Vorkosigan Saga to post but I could have chosen anything! Instead of telling you about this book specifically, I will tell you about the series.
McMaster Bujold creates a universe that is rife with differing opinions and ways of life, anywhere from the patriarchal, military-obsessed planet of Barrayar, to the post-feminist utopia of Beta Colony. Every person of every gender has their own strengths and weaknesses, and their interactions and adventures will stay with me.
There is feminist theory and clever critiques of society woven into the storylines of her books – to take some examples from the Vorkosigan Saga – how does a genius who is physically crippled learn to cope with living in a world that judges worth by military accomplishments? How far can the idea of designer DNA go? What changes would a device that replicates a uterus make to a society, and how would that change a woman’s place in the universe? When everyone around you is some kind of hero, how do you live under that limelight? What is life worth on a planet obsessed with being cryogenetically frozen, or where rich people may clone themselves, transplant their brains to live forever? How relevant is race when everything about you may be altered?
The characters within McMaster Bujold’s books are unforgettable, thoroughly three-dimensional and beautifully written. Within her books I have met a hermaphrodite spaceship captain, a man escaped from slavery who is grateful for everything around him, a woman who is a genetically altered supersoldier with little life left to her, a clone who struggles to find his own idenity, and countless others.
If Science-Fiction isn’t your thing (I thought it wasn’t my thing until I found the Vorkosigan Saga!) then I definitely recommend you try The Sharing Knife quartet. It is a fantasy romance, about a woman, Fawn, who ran away from her abusive family home. Pregnant with a child neither she nor it’s father wants, she is trying to reach a city where she can support herself and her child. A chance encounter with Dag, a man who fights Malices for a living, sets off a chain of events rather unexpected by all parties concerned…
All in all, I do beg you give Lois McMaster Bujold’s novels a go.
This is a beyond awesome feminist fantasy for young people (and adult people too). It bears little resemblance to the awful film sharing its name.
Ella quite literally has to be obedient to anyone who asks, a ‘gift’ from her fairy godmother (Who, like many people in patriarchal society, thinks that obedience in young women is somehow a virtue). So she goes on a journey to get her curse lifted, so she can be her own girl. Lots of emphasis on her friendships, growth, and in the end, she gets to save herself without depending on someone else to do it for her.
Jemisin’s Inheritence Trilogy features a range of feminist characters, male and female. She examines such themes as genderqueer and LGB characters, matters of race, and disability (as in the 2nd book, The Kingdom of Gods).
In The 100K Kingdoms, Yeine is a WoC from a matriarchal society sent to explore her connection to the ruling family that oversee all the lands. As she negotiates politics, her burgeoning magic and myriad love interests, she struggles to match her independent nature with that of the gods which wish to consume her autonomy.
This story follows the lives of three young independent apprentice women as they struggle to make a living in the big city. Mostly following the story of tailor Velody, she discovers she has hidden magic which makes her a part of an elite cadre of magicians who, using their animal metamorphosis, protect the city from wild magic.
There is a major subplot where one of the women is raped, and it shapes how she interacts with the world and her friends for the rest of the story. It is handled with sensitivity and care.
Velody is a major feminist heroine because she refuses to become a puppet of the male magicians, and continues her career as a tailor alongside her education as a magician and protector. There is also a major romance plot in the story in which she takes control of the affair, refusing to bow to the control of her paramour (who even though he is attracted to her is using her for her abilities).