|Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.|
Alright, guys, this week the challenge is to choose a book and make ten recommendations based on that. Well, one of my favorite authors is Kristin Cashore, so I'm going to suggest some more fantasy novels with ass-kicking heroines. In building this list, I realized that what makes a book a readalike for Cashore to me is having a heroine who knows her strengths and her faults, and who is comfortable with who she is. She's strong, powerful, and takes care of herself. If she wants to have sex, she has it. If there's a tough decision to be made, she makes it. In these books, there may not be happy endings, and likely not the unequivocally happy ones.
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This may seem like somewhat of an odd choice, given that it's both aimed at adults AND urban fantasy. While this one definitely doesn't fit with the other choices on the list in most ways, I feel like the strength of the heroine brought it to mind immediately. This is one for people who usually don't like traditional fantasy. Also, if you like rock music and faeries, this is for you. Oh, and, for a super awesome bonus, this book came out in 1987 and was a pioneer of the urban fantasy genre. Isn't that cool?
Continuing on in the less obvious recommendations, I have Shannon Hale. I love her books, which almost always feature a very strong heroine. This one has magic, a handsome prince and a lot of other awesomeness. Again, this is a strong heroine, who often ends up having to protect those around her and who manages to survive in the worst of circumstances.
Alright, I think this is my most off-the-wall suggestion, considering that it falls into the genre of historical fiction more than fantasy. Still, it called to me when I was looking through possibilities of books to add to this list. Scar is scarred, both mentally and physically, from the life she's had to live. She fights like a demon and knows how to survive. There is also some wonderful romance in here that is reminiscent of Cashore perhaps.
Jackson Pearce's book differs in that it focuses on two heroines, rather than just the one. Both girls are strong, but in very different ways. Rosie fits in more with people and has managed to survive her fairy tale destiny without too much mental damage. Scarlett is pretty much broken, living solely for hunting, resigned to her life. The darkness, beautiful writing, and powerful girls make this a good choice for a Cashore fan.
5) The Shadowed Sun - N. K. Jemisin
Well, this is book two in an adult epic fantasy series. Deal with it. The first book wasn't nearly as reminiscent of Cashore, which is why I'm highlighting this one. I do think it would probably be advisable to read book one first. The heroine of The Shadowed Sun has chosen a rough path in life and is trying to decide whether it really suits her and makes her happy. There is also some delicious romance.
Peterfreund's Killer Unicorn series also features a heroine with a calling to kill, although Astrid is destined to kill unicorns. Unlike Katsa, poor Astrid isn't allowed to have sex, so this is not the one to go to for romance. This one is set in the modern world and will take you on a book trip to Italy. Warning: this shares the whole not entirely happy ending thing.
This is the point in the list where the books pretty much are perfect readalikes for Cashore. Shadows on the Moon is a retelling of Cinderella unlike any I've encountered before. We have a damaged heroine, mourning the loss of her family and set on revenge, a sexy hero the heroine may be too far gone to appreciate, and magical powers. Very dark and fantastical!
Tamora Pierce was undoubtedly an influence on Kristin Cashore. I could really see that in her books. Tamora writes powerful heroines, whether magical or not. She also is notable for allowing her heroines to have guilt-free sex, even with more than one partner and before marriage. I love her for this. Her books are a bit happier than Cashore's, but definitely a must-read for a Cashore fan. The Trickster's series is my favorite so far (I haven't read all of Pierce's oeuvre yet), but most people prefer the Alanna books. Either is awesome!
Killer nun. Hot guy. Freaking totally completely awesome fantasy setting. Yeah, this one's just amazing. You should probably read it right now.
Maria V. Snyder writes amazing sexy scenes, brooding but realistic heroes, and powerful heroines. I'm pretty sure you could read any of her books and love them if you liked Graceling. Touch of Power is my favorite thus far.