Strong Female Protagonists

I’ve written before about how my book reading as has taken a drastic decrease in time and numbers since I gave birth to Little Miss, but it doesn’t mean that I never get to read. I also wrote about how one of my favourite genres is romance, including hystericals (historicals). I like happy endings, what can I say, I’m a sap. What I can’t stand are weak female protagonists. They drive me crazy.

Bella in Twilight? I only finished the first book because I made a promise to do so and wouldn’t let myself read anything else or watch tv until I had. It was that hard for me to get through. I couldn’t and can’t stand it. That’s not romance, that’s an abusive relationship packaged in terrible writing and poor plot lines. I’m going to write about some of my favourite female protagonists who are strong and empowered/empowering.

I first came across Eve Dallas and the In Death series by JD Robb by accident while digging through my mothers library. I didn’t start with book one I started mid way through the series. By series I don’t mean a book series of 5-6, this series has 44 stories out including novellas in anthologies. 44, can you imagine, and all of these books follow Eve Dallas in her mission as a N.Y.C homicide detective. I don’t believe in spoilers so it’s very hard for me to describe just who she is and has become throughout the books so I’m going to paste a descriptor from the JD Robb website here:

EVE DALLAS – THE WOMAN BEHIND THE BADGE

When she was eight years old, Eve was found in an alley in Dallas, Texas, with no memory of her life until then. Her father was despicable, a criminal who raped her repeatedly during her short life with him, and was planning to offer her to pedophiles—until she killed him in self-defense. After she was found, she was put into the foster care system until she was eighteen, when she moved to New York.

Now a homicide Lieutenant for the NYPSD (New York Police and Security Department), Eve is tough-as-nails and no-holds-barred. She is brusque, aggressive, and efficient. Eve is dedicated to finding justice for the dead, so she barely sleeps or eats until the case is solved.

Eve is still growing emotionally and cases involving women and children, particularly rape victims, are extremely difficult. Her childhood memories haunt her in nightmares, which have become less severe since meeting Roarke, her life’s love and protector. Powerful, brilliant, and disgustingly rich, Roarke encourages Eve to open herself to the opportunities of being a wife and friend. Tall and lanky with whiskey-colored eyes and short choppy brown hair, Eve’s tastes are simple while Roarke delights in the exquisite and ornamented…especially when he can give Eve clothing suggestions. Her softer side is increasingly on display, but she only allows those very close to her to experience this. Roarke is privy, of course, but so are colleagues and friends like Mavis, Dr. Mira, her partner Detective Peabody, and Captain Feeney. Dr. Mira, because she is both the department’s top criminal profiler, as well as a therapist, has played a professional and personal role in Eve’s life.

Even though Eve is in a commited long term relationship with a very dominant and powerful man she never lets him steamroll her. They are equals and their opinions can often differ and the resulting clashes are fantastic; full of passion and heat and no fear of either expressing their beliefs. Eve is and equal partner in the relaionship. In her professional life she’s the boss. In a world where men are still seen as more powerful she doesn’t let that hinder her or her investigations and the search for justice. She has proven she is just as smart and tough as the men in her world and is not afraid to show it. She’s confident and secure in who she is, not needing a man to validate her sense of self worth.

One of my other favourite female leads is Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series. I’m fully willing to admit I’m not a huge fan of fantasy books but Patricia briggs is my one guaranteed exception. I had read all of her previous books when the first of her Urban Fantasy series came out. Moon Called, takes place in the tri-cities and is written in the first person. Mercy Thompson is a an auto mechanic who happens to be a walker. What is a walker? A walker is a native american magical ability to turn into a coyote, she doesn’t need the moon or any sort of injury to garner the ability, she was born with it. Mercy was raised by the Aphla werewolf in North America and her next door neighbour is the Aphla of the pack in her area. One of her best friends is a Vampire and her old boss is a fae. The fae have been out in public knowledge for about 20 years in the series beginning.

With all these dominate males running around in her life you’d think Mercy would probably be on the shy and submissivee side and that would be wrong. She is a go-getter. When something goes sour in Mercy’s life she doesn’t go running to the nearest man to help fix her problems, she not only fixes her own problmes she storms out and deals with the mens problems too.  Mercy believes in getting dirty when necessary. She won’t be pushed into the back ground and let the men decide what’s to be done, Mercy stands up for herself and what she believes is right. As of this moment there are 6 books in the series published with the 7th slated to be released this coming spring, there are also 3 books in a spin off series and a number of novellas.

I’m not saying I don’t mind the occasional fluffy romance, they can be great when I’m in the right mood but sometimes (alright most of the time) I want a woman who is more like me; someone who doesn’t sit on the sidelines of her life while watching the men pick and choose what will happen. I like to introduce friends and family to new books and series and these are my two favourite ones. I’ve gotten Bestie hooked on the In Death books and as soon as she finishes them I’m going to work on the Mercy Thompson ones next. They are addictive. She’s even getting other people to read the series as well. As long as authors keep writing books with strong female protagonists for me to balance out the fluffy useless females with i’ll keep reading them and hopefully be able to introduced Little Miss to female go-getters before someone else tries to poison her mind with the fluff first. As a warning to anyone who knows us and reads this; you give her crap and I have no hesitation about throwing it out.

Each of these fabulous writers as their own websites and here are the links:

www.hurog.com – Patricia Briggs

www.jdrobb.com/ – JD Robb, who for those not in the know is actually a pseudonym for Nora Roberts.

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