The other day, my friend mentioned to me that she was annoyed with an article she read. It was a list of completed fantasy series but there were almost no women authors included. I thought I could put something decent together enough list of finished fantasy series only by women authors. Thus my first book list post was born.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
It’s a good chance you’ve seen the Miyazaki film (and if you haven’t go watch it because it’s absolutely beautiful animation) and the book is just as good. Probably one of he few books where I love the book and movie equally. This series has three books in it, and is a great series that focuses on magic users. The way magic functions in different books fascinates me and this series is no exception. Plus it has memorable characters and a great love story.
Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray
Libba Bray is one of my favorite authors and her Gemma Doyle trilogy was how I was first introduced to her. A Victorian boarding school for girls and secret magical powers inherited from a dead mother? Absolutely amazing. It centers around four friends and the romances that come from it are so great. Bray has another fantasy series, The Diviners, which while it’s not finished, it takes place in the same universe as the Gemma Doyle trilogy. This was also the first series I ever read with a LGBT couple, and a lesbian one at that. So it holds a special place in my heart over that.
The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo
Magic and an incredible heist? Yes, please. Bardugo has another series set in this same world and it’s a very lush world. It’s exciting and so much fun to read. It’s very diverse as well, several races and sexualities are represented in this series. It’s a nice change to read about a group set in a fantasy world that maybe don’t have the best set of morals. It switches between multiple points of view throughout the series.
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
I never really thought I liked Urban Fantasy until I read the Raven Cycle. The series is about four prep school boys and a girl named Blue who lives with her female relatives that are psychics. The boys are on a quest to find the Welsh King Glendower and Blue joins them, becoming part of their tightly-knit group. There is a lot of beautiful prose and surreal magical elements within the series. The characters are wonderfully written and I will never get over the first thing Noah says within the series.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
This series has elements of science-fiction within but it is also fantasy and fairy tale retellings. The mixture of sci-fi, fantasy and fairy tale makes for a rich world in this series. Each book centers around a different fairy tale character and the overarching story. This series does not have a lack of great and complex female characters. Cinder, the subject of the first novel, is a cyborg mechanic who supports her step-family.
Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black
Holly Black writes great books about faeries. I love faeries and I always feel that Black does the mythology and folk lore of faeries justice in her books. This series was my first introduction to her so it holds a special place in my heart. The series follows a girl, who had been raised to believe she was human but soon learns that she has fae blood and comes face to face with the world of faeries.
The Glass Vault Series by Candace Robinson
A little different than my other recommendations, Robinson’s Glass Vault brings a level of horror into her fantasy series. This series absolutely blew me away. The fairy tales retold with horror, the plot twists, the romance and the wonderful storytelling that brings it all together. While the horror and gore within may not be for everyone, I liked this change in my fantasy series. It’s a very well written series.
The Water Trilogy by Kara Dalkey
While this is technically more of middle-grade level series, I still love it for its originality. Dalkey sets up a complex world of mermaids and their government. The books are short, yes but I think that Dalkey creates such a rich world that you still feel immersed in the story.
Unfinished series to follow:
Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden
The third book of is series is due to come out this summer (2018), so you don’t have to wait long at all for this series to be finished. The series is set in 1300s Russia and is a retelling of various Russian folktales. The series is beautiful prose and an exciting adventure. The main protagonist is a young woman named Vasya who is spirited and has the ability to see the household spirits.
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
This is a brand new series that came out this month but I’m already in love with it. It’s a feminist look at our obsession with beauty via a fantasy dystopian world. I like how this is a unique take on dystopia as it has heavy fantasy elements and the protagonist is from a relative position of privilege. This is a series that I am eager to see how it progresses.
Kingdom on Fire by Jessica Cluess
The way this series takes the chosen one trope and turns it on its head is amazing. The story features a girl joining a society of magic users that had been exclusive to men up till that point. But the series still has a lot of women in it even though it’s a male dominated society. Another cool factor of this book is that it is set in an alternate universe Victorian England. Queen Victoria is on the throne and she is a character in the book as well.