This series features a strong female protagonist who does not rely on a male to solve her problems. Alexia starts the book by defending herself from an ostensibly stronger male attacker, and never slows down.
The main character of The Emperor’s Edge series, Amaranthe Lockdon, starts off as an Enforcer for the Empire – sort of a policewoman. The Empire has just recently begun to allow women to become enforcers, and Amaranthe doesn’t get much respect.
Though this book struggles with the Bechdel test (Amaranthe’s “Emperor’s Edge” team is all male), I love the way it portrays Amaranthe as an ambitious woman in a sexist society. Many fantasy book either for granted patriarchal societies without examination, but this series doesn’t ignore the problem.