Supplemental: Potentially Helpful Lists

If the “Best Of” recommendations lists don’t always (or even often) offer help to readers looking for good fantasy with a female lead that isn’t YA, urban fantasy, or paranormal romance, sometimes we have to look a little harder. Goodreads can be a useful resource, since its lists are often more specifically directed than the generalized “Best Ofs.” Here are a few:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/77337.High_Fantasy_Books_with_a_Strong_Female_Lead

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/21792.Strong_Female_Characters_in_Epic_Fantasy

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/86591.Adult_targeted_second_world_fantasy_with_noteworthy_heroines_or_female_protagonists_

Here’s the thing about Goodreads lists, however: since anyone can cast a vote, sometimes works may make an appearance even though they don’t fit what the list is asking for. Readers will be well-advised to explore the reviews posted for the titles that intrigue them.

Here’s another interesting list, from another website:

http://bestfantasybooks.com/top25-fantasy-books-for-women.html

Some of these titles I can highly recommend, but the comments are telling. Many commenters take the list-makers to task for their assumption that any fantasy novel with a female lead must be “for women,” as if 1) men would never want to read such things, and 2) works “for women” need a special list, as if they couldn’t compete on equal terms with the male-led titles.

(Note: The Death of the Necromancer and the rest of the Ile-Rien series are written by Martha Wells, not Mary Gentle. Wells has also written the Books of the Raksura, a series beginning with The Cloud Roads. I heartily recommend these books.)

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