Women in Fantasy
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Author NameSeries/Book recommended Sub-genreSuitable for YA?Not YA because.. Strong female characters?Romance Factor?Present in top /r/fantasy of all timePresent in /r/Fantasy’s official underrated and underread listPresent in /r/Fantasy's Sword and Sorcery Reading List?KeywordsSimilar to..Comments from redditMore comments
Rachel AaronThe Legend of Eli MonpressYYY"I really enjoyed these books. The magic was cool, the characters are well fleshed out, and the story keeps the pace moving. The other two books outside of the omnibus are also really good, possibly even better, as they explain more into the lore behind The Shepherdess and her brothers, as well as Eli's past."
Lynn Abbeythe Unicorn and Dragon series, Daughter of the Bright MoonYMentioned in /r/fantasy's favourite obscure books.From the Book Smugglers: "One of the founders of the classic shared world Thieves’ World, Lynn Abbey has written sword and sorcery, high fantasy, and one of the earlier urban fantasy series (about a librarian turned hunter-witch – a rare heroine in her fifties)."
Cat AdamsBlood SingerUrban FantasyYThis is the pen name of Cathy Clamp and C.T. Adams (co-authors of the Thrall trilogy and the Sazi series published by Tor)
It was also in sffworld's Top Novels of 2012
Ann Aguirre Grimspace, Jax series, EnclaveYJax series (Sci-fi with female lead), Enclave (if you like Hunger Games)
Joan Aikenthe Wolves ChroniclesYY"These books were my absolute favourite as a kid and made an indelible impression on me. I read them tons of times and I still feel influenced by them.
These books take place in an alternate-history 18th century England and feature a heroine named Dido Twite (and her sister Is) who have a violent alcoholic father and are essentially street urchins.
Some of the titles were "Black Hearts in Battersea" and "Is Underground". The books were awesomely Dickensian (yes, an anachronistic description for a series set in the 1700s), very dark and kind of scary. There were real villains that did actual horrible things, like enslave children in mines or kill little girls for their delicious, youth-giving bones.
it was also one of the first books I ever read that had a badass female heroine."
From the Book Smugglers: "Best known for her work for children, Joan Aiken was a prolific writer. As well as her middle grade/young adult books, she produced a series of Jane Austen sequels, gothic thrillers, horror stories, and period romantic thrillers.

But for me Aiken is all about Dido Twite, one of the major characters from the Wolves Chronicles, who is introduced as an undersized brat sticky with jam, and gets by through sheer indomitability."
Cassie AlexanderNightshiftedUrban FantasyYPat gives this book 5 stars - Here's his review copied from goodreads.
"Simply said, I liked it.

Slightly less simply: I really enjoyed it a surprising amount.

First, an interesting premise: Main character is a night shift nurse who works in the secret wing of the hospital that treats the city's supernatural population.

Second, new twists on old tropes: Yeah, there are vampires and Were-things. But they're different. What's more, we don't spend a whole lot of time learning everything about them. This does two nice things. 1) It keeps the story moving. 2.) It actually makes me more curious about the details of these creatures and their underground societies.

Third, good execution: Nice tight chapters. Good movement and action. Clear writing. Good dialogue.

Fourth, and most importantly, nothing stupid: At no point did I roll my eyes at anything. No glaring plot holes. No inconsistent characters. No "Let's split up and search the haunted house" moments.

Was it pure, white-hot brilliance? No, but it was solid with some very clever bits. Given that it was Alexander's debut novel, I'm willing to overlook a few rough patches here and there and give it a full 5 stars.

Ultimately, the test of a book like this is whether or not I want to read the next one. And I do. If the local bookstore was open right now, I'd be doing that instead of writing this
Isabel AllendeCity of Beasts, House of the SpiritsMagical RealismY"I've read many of her books, and while I like them all, House of the Spirits is the one I keep coming back to. I would start with that."
Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels seriesUrban Fantasy"First off fans of Sanderson and great world building should love this book! It features a semi post-apocalyptic Atlanta that has fluctuations of tech time and magic time and the best vampires I've read about in ages. Our heroine can kick some ass, but isn't overpowered and while she has a sex drive, it's not the focus of the book. The secondary characters are believable with their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. To top it all off, the prose of the book is pretty solid: it's not Rothfuss quality, but it at least measures up to Sanderson. In short the first book delivers the fun, enjoyable stories about a modern world with magic, vampires, necromancers and other nasties while allowing me to unwind after dealing with work and kids. I'll certainly be reading book 2."Husband/wife duo
Jo Anderton DebrisNew WeirdHer books are a mix of fantasy, SF, and anime
Jill ArcherNoon Onyx seriesNot mentioned so much on reddit.
Kelley ArmstrongOtherworldUrban FantasyY"The series is one of my favorites when it comes to how she portrays werewolves and how the mechanics behind them work."
"I started reading the series when I was 11 and I completely fell in love with the style of writing and the story line. I own most of the series and I really love Kelley Armstrong. I think the way Kelley Armstrong has made the werewolves is awesome because it shows that they are strong but not too strong and there can be dilemmas and incidents where bad things happen and being a werewolf hasn't helped them at all. So its really good. My favourite book from the series is either Dime Store Magic or Bitten."
Catherine AsaroThe Lost Continent"I love her Skolian series (SF), but she also has a fantasy series called The Lost Continent, with an interesting magical system based on colors."
Constance AshHorsegirlYFrom the Book Smugglers: "Ash wrote the Horsegirl trilogy – fantasy novels that focus, as you may have guessed, around a girl rider. The second book even involves dancing horses performing in an opera!"
Sarah Ash The Tears of ArtamonGreatly enjoyable though her earlier work has been very hard to obtain.
Amelia Atwater-RhodesThe Kiesha'ra series and the Den of Shadows seriesLGBT"Hawksong was probably my favorite book. I read it so much the back cover fell off. "
"She improved so drastically as an author, it was really awesome to follow her progress from the vampire novels to her shapeshifter stuff."
"I was eighteen, spending the summer with my aunt and uncle, had unlimited library access and checked out every Atwater-Rhodes book I could get my hands on, I had read all of them before but it was just before Wyvern Hail came out I didn't even know Wolfcry existed, I read all of the first three, and then one night started Wolfcry, I stayed up all night to finish it, and cried at the end, I was SO happy. It was one of my better summers. I read it over and over, and I have a favourite page and everything. I love the Keisha'Ra."
Margaret AtwoodThe Handmaid's Tale YSci-fi"Her works may be considered more sci-fi than fantasy, but her The Handmaid's Tale is a must-read."
"I can't tell you how many times I've reread Margaret Atwood's Oryx & Crake. The last time was just a month ago; I wanted to reread her description of a particular location about 300 pages in, got what I needed, then went right back to page one and tore through it again."
Jean M. AuelEarth’s children, Clan of the Cave BearJean M. Auel is great and her writing is lush
Karen AzingerSilk and Steel Saga YEpic Fantasy"I'd like to mention the Silk and Steel Saga by Karen Azinger. It's one of my favourite fantasy series, though I have rarely seen it mentioned on this subreddit. It may be a bit hard to acquire a copy but I'd urge you to check it out if you get the chance!"From Fantasy Book Critic: "Story-wise, The Steel Queen is a very fun, action-packed read in the vein of Stephen Deas and Jennifer Fallon, highlighted by fast pacing, the right amount of background information & exposition, and plot twists galore. Granted, the author has not really created anything new as far as epic fantasy goes, and the story can be a bit predictable because of the inclusion of certain common tropes, but Karen Azinger showcases potential and deft plotting skills in The Steel Queen—which will prove valuable if she is to orchestrate a five book series—while doing her best to keep the reader engrossed in the novel despite its familiar trappings."
Natalie BabbittTuck EverlastingY"The Search for Delicious: A brilliant teacher read it to my class in 3rd grade. It's wonderful, one of the books that taught me to love reading along with The Last Unicorn and Where the Sidewalk Ends. If you haven't already checked it out, Natalie Babbitt also wrote Tuck Everlasting, another great book for any age of reader."
Wilhelmina BairdCrashcourse trilogyStephenson’s Snow CrashFrom the Book Smugglers: "I really enjoyed Baird’s Crashcourse trilogy, and expect it will appeal to fans of Stephenson’s Snow Crash. Gritty and pacey cyberpunk that holds up well for their adventure aspects despite the evolution of technology.."
Kage BakerAnvil of the World, House of StagY"Company Books: The premise starts with a company called Dr Zeus, Inc., which invents time travel and immortality. Both are commercial failures; history can't be changed, and travel to the future past your own present is impossible, and only small children of specific physical types can be made immortal, not aging billionaires.
Soon, they realize that history cannot be changed, but only as far as recorded history is concerned. So if Ernest Hemingway loses a suitcase full of stories that he is never able to recreate, that means a Company agent stole it and hid in a vault to be 'rediscovered' and sold at auction in the 23rd century.
So Dr Zeus goes back in time 30,000 years, makes a bunch of cro-magnon orphans into immortal agents, and they travel to the future the long way, collecting and hiding lost historical treasures along the way.
The series has a large cast of characters, it's deep and funny, and that initial premise is just the surface as the series goes on."
Krista D. BallTales of Tranquility
Margaret BallLost in Translation, Mathmagics, The Shadow Gate, and the Tamai series
Leigh BardugoShadow and Bone/r/ShadowandBone/
Gael Baudino (Aka G.A. Kathryns aka Gael A. Kathryns)the Strands series, dragons word series, Water! Series, Gossamer Axe (Standalone) YLGBTHigh ratings on Goodreads
Elizabeth Bear Promethean Age books, Range of Ghosts, Eternal SkyEpic FantasyYYElizabeth Bear is another author who researches really well for each book. Her Promethean Age books about Shakespeare and Marlowe are incredible. She writes pretty much every kind of fantasy out there and makes it all awesome. Her recent Range of Ghosts was a particular favourite.
Galen BeckettThe Magicians and Mrs Quent seriesYSteampunk, Historical FictionMixed reviews on Goodreads
AA BellMira Chambers trilogyYYParanormal"Mira Chambers trilogy by A. A. Bell is kind of like an urban sci-fi, about a young blind girl in a mental institution who can see reflections of the past."
Danielle BennettHavemercyYYDragons, LGBTMixed reviews on Goodreads
Carol Berg the Rai-Kirah trilogy, Song of the Beast (a terrific standalone) and the Lighthouse Duology Epic FantasyYGRRM: political intrigue supreme with characters that have downright nasty facets to them"Another who does political intrigue and characters who shift sides, Carol Berg - but DO NOT start with her D'Arnath series, that one centers on a romance - she always writes from mature characters' viewpoints."
"For fantasy that runs at about the same depth as Codex Alera: For a little deeper, try Carol Berg's Rai Kirah trilogy. "
"For richness of prose and interesting story, building to depth and reverses, try Song of the Beast by Carol Berg."
Beth BernobichPassion PlayYYFrom Beth's AMA: "I have three main series at this point. My River of Souls books are epic fantasy, with magic, multiple lives, and a flavoring of romance. My Long City stories are YA fantasy, set in an alternate China with ghost dragons, spirit companions, and cell phones that run on magic. And I'm currently hard at work on a novel set in an alternate Ireland with mathematics and time travel.
my YA doesn't have any sex because it's not part of the story. However, River of Souls has sex and romance both because one part of my main character's storyline is recovery from sexual assault. She goes through hell, heals, and goes beyond that to do lots of things, including falling in love and having sex."
Lauren BeukesThe Shining Girls, Zoo CityUrban FantasyThe Shining Girls: A Novel was in Amazon’s best books for 2013
Anne Bishop Dark Jewels and Tir AlainnYYI really recommend them to anyone looking for a good dark, slightly girly but still quite violent series. I especially enjoyed the unique magic/mythology system, because it felt so different than most fantasy series, it was kind of cool to not understand what the hell was going on and how things worked for a good portion of the first book.
KJ BishopEtched CityNew WeirdYAustralian Author
Holly BlackModern Faerytales trilogyY
Francesa Lia BlockLove in the Time of Global WarmingY
Donna BoydDevancroix DynastyY
Leigh BrackettSkaith seriesYConan, ER Burroughs, John Carter of Mars"If you love pulp fiction, try Hounds of Skaith by Leigh Brackett"
"This is old style sword and sorcery, in the same sort of style as Conan, Edgar Rice Burroughs/John Carter of Mars."
Marion Zimmer Bradley Mists of Avalon YMists of Avalon was truly brilliant. It's a retelling of the Arthur legend, from the perspective of the female characters - primarily Morgaine, aka Morgan le Fay. Her Darkover novels are loved as well -Some worth trying are:
• Tiger Burning Bright (w/ Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey)
• Firebrand
• Hawkmistress (Darkover)
• Exile's Song/Exile's Shadow/Traitor Sun (Darkover, and a definitive trilogy that is hundreds of times better than Clingfire)
From the Book Smugglers: "Bradley was one of the early powerhouses of SFF, published since the 1950′s. She’s best known for her world of Darkover science fiction (dozens of books!), and for her retelling of the Arthurian legends entirely through the eyes of women. I also have almost an entire stretch of shelf devoted to her Sword and Sorceress short story collections.

If you want to try her Darkover books, you could start at the chronological beginning – Darkover Landfall – and work your way forward, but may find it better to pick up, say, Hawkmistress or The Heritage of Hastur. You could think of Darkover as “Pern without the Dragons”, since the worlds start from the same “lost colony of Earth” concept, although the feel of the books is distinctly different (and involves far more psychic powers)."
Gillian Bradshawthe Wolf Hunt, Ancient Egypt seriesHistorical
Libba BrayGemma Doyle trilogyYY
Patricia BrayDevlin's Luck trilogy, The Sword of ChangeY
Marie BrennanMemoir by Lady Trent seriesY
Patricia Briggs Iron Kissed series (Also knowns as Mercy thompson series)Urban FantasyY“It's a modern urban fantasy about a woman that is sort of a were coyote surrounded by a bunch of werewolves fairies and vampires. And the main character is a bad ass.”
"The Mercy Thompson series is really well written. Mercy is a very real protagonist, and I appreciate how she's written to be strong but also human. (Figure of speech since she's not fully human.)"
Kristen BritainGreen Rider seriesYY"Kristen Britain's Green Rider series is interesting. The first book is a little lacking, but they definitely get better as they go. Strong female protagonist, lots of strong female characters. It's tame enough to be appropriate for YA, but it's marketed towards adults."
" The main character is a super badass character who starts off as a whiny brat and ends up as a competent leader who makes some rough personal sacrifices. It's 4 books now, hopefully 5 comes out next year."
Mary BrownPigs Don’t FlyYYFrom the Book Smugglers: "Brown produced a seriously enjoyable set of books known (at least to Goodreads) as the Pigs Don’t Fly series. These books will hit a sweet spot for anyone who likes girls/women off having adventures, plus talking animals. There’s plenty of humour, but be wary of the occasional hand grasping your heart and squeezing!"
Lois McMaster Bujold Vorkosigan series (more of SF), Curse of Challion, Spirit Ring, The Hallowed HuntYYY“Challion: They're set in a country reminiscent of medieval spain, but centered around a family of five gods: Father, Mother, Daughter, Son, and Bastard. These gods can perform miracles, but only through their saints. The first book follows Castillar dy Cazaril, a landless noble and military veteran who becomes entangled in the workings of a curse afflicting his nation, and the gods attempts to resolve it.”
“The whole Miles Vorkosigan series is amazing, and Cordelia's Honor is an excellent place to start on that (just skip Ethan of Athos, because it doesn't feature almost any of the main characters).”
“Spirit Ring had a female lead, magic connected with jewelry making. Her Curse of Chalion had a male lead, the woman characters were well rounded (a princess) but they were the secondary protagonists. The 'sequel' to Chalion followed a middle aged female lead character - The Hallowed Hunt."
From the Book Smugglers: "Bujold is one of the better-known female SFF writers, producing series in both fantasy and science fiction.

The SF ‘Vorkosiganverse’ has some meaty character study work and a great deal of interesting extrapolation of future science and society – and lashings of adventure! Her two main fantasy series are the Chalion trilogy (a universe where gods are a tangible part of life) and the Sharing Knife series (which focuses on cultural exploration and character interaction)."
Emma BullWar for the Oaks, TerritoryUrban FantasyYYCharles De Lint“War for the Oaks is perhaps the grandaddy of the current urban fantasy trend. Set in Minniapolis, where a musician is conscripted by a faerie court as they war for the heart of the city. Territory is set around the shootout at the OK Corral, but with supernatural elements playing a large role. Freedom and Neccessity is an interesting epistelary novel set around the English Chartist movement, cowritten with Steven Brust, though the fantasy elements are minor.”From the Book Smugglers: "Emma Bull is probably best known for War for the Oaks, arguably the first urban fantasy novel (the Seelie and Unseelie Courts at war in Minneapolis, with a big dose of rock music). Other novels range from Urban Fantasy to post-apocalyptic cyberworld, and not to forget the Shadow Unit shared world, dealing with the paranormal unit of the FBI. European history fans will definitely want to check out Freedom and Necessity (co-authored with Steven Brust), set in the 19th century and brimming with spies and revolutionaries and ladies in disguise!"
Lindsay Buroker The Emperor's EdgeYY“It is similar to the Final Empire by Sanderson as opposed to Hero of Ages. Emperor's Edge has that Ocean 11 feel like The Final Empire did, but it continues it throughout the series. It does get more and more epic, and there's a sidewinder thrown in a few books in, but I still recommend it.”
"The Emperor's Edge, Encrypted, and Flash Gold series are in a steampunk setting and feature female leads that are pretty cool, if unconventional. As a note, Encrypted is a pair of prequels to Emperor's Edge. That said, the first book of the Emperor's Edge series is free on Amazon and Smashwords (maybe elsewhere) in ebook form, so that's a great way to see how you'd like the series. I didn't read the prequels until before the final books in EE, as that's when they were published, so you can certainly read it out of order without getting mixed up. Her newest series only has one book, and it's in a modern setting, but was enjoyable."
Octavia Butler Lilith’s Brood, Earthseed, and Patternmaster YOne author who gets mentioned every time we talk about Females in Fantasy or Women of colour. Interestingly, no one provided a starting point.
Rachel CaineMorganville VampiresUrban FantasyYYYShe is also published as Roxanne Longstreet, Roxanne Conrad, Julie Fortune and Ian Hammell
Trudi CanavanAge of the five and The Black Magician trilogyYY"Trudi has written 10 books. In all cases the girl is pretty strong minded and intelligent ... no major gender changing roles."Australian Author
Jacqueline CareyKushiel series, The Sundering duologyYYY“Best known for her Kushiel series, romantic fantasy set in an alternate medieval france, where pretty much all gods are real. The protagonist is a masochistic courtesan and spy, who becomes entangled with plots involving both the political and divine. They're enjoyable books, with an interesting world that gets explored throughout the books. Also worth mentioning is her Sundering duology, which are gives a sympathetic portrayal of a Morgoth like character (and his Sauron-like lieutenants)”.
“Vivid characters (including the only literary character I've ever had a genuine crush on), captivating mysteries and adventures, plus a lot of undertones of feminism, LGBT acceptance and general equality. It's also sex-positive in a healthy way, without being tawdry erotica.”
“The Sundering duology (Banewreaker and Godslayer): it's great. Story-wise it's your typical fantasy but it portrays the villains as the heroes and the heroes as the villains. It's very good. “
Janet Lee CareyDragons Keep and Dragonswood
Isobelle Carmody Obernewtyn Chronicles, Green Monkey Dreams and Darksong trilogyYYY“Her most famous series, The Obernewtyn Chronicles has been ongoing for over 25 years (book 7, the definite last book is due to be released in the next few years). She's got a habit of taking forever between series, but she writes other books in between. My personal favourites of hers are the Darksong trilogy (third book still unwritten) and Green Monkey Dreams. Would recommend her standalone novels more than her series, and a lot of her series have outcast-type characters / psychic powers.”Australian Author
Gail CarrigerParasol ProtectorateSteampunkYY
Kristen Cashore GracelingYY
Jayne Castle (aka Jayne Ann Krentz) Harmony & St HelensParanormalNot mentioned much in /r/fantasy
Kristi CharishOwl & the Japanese CircusUrban Fantasy
J. Kathleen CheneyThe Golden City
C.J. CherryhDreamstone, The Tree of Swords and Jewels, Fortress in the Eye of Time series, Morgaine novels, Goblin Mirror, The PaladinYY“one of our living genre legends who can rock fantasy or sci-fi with equal skill. She has written some classic series, and at age 70 she's still at it. I adore her duology of The Dreamstone and The Tree of Swords and Jewels. One of the best portrayals of the Sidhe I've read. Also loved her Fortress in the Eye of Time series, her Morgaine novels, and her standalone Goblin Mirror.”
“THE PALADIN has a female lead - one of the FEW fantasies dealing with training a female warrior that is very very accurate. It is an 'alternate oriental' setting, about a young woman who trains under an 'alternate samurai' hermit.”
"For The Black Company by Glen Cook - For accuracy of military detail, you may take a look at The Paladin by C. J. Cherryh (as a standalone)- which begins with the worn old trope of a woman seeking revenge trying to be tutored by the old, cranky hermit of a samurai (but the setting is fantasy) - where this book excels, is that it makes her story BELIEVABLE, getting the detail right - CJ was a longtime fencer, and understood the drawbacks of the female anatomy as fighter very well."
"The best political intrigue also can be found in C J Cherryh's Fortress in the Eye of Time - you will have to bear with the odd start - a character created and awakened in an adult body by a wizard - because the POV character starts with childish innocence and has to 'discover' the world as a child would - STAY WITH IT - the story opens out and gets incredible - some of the finest weaving of wider plots and intrigues available in fantasy, and totally not given its due. And when you realize just WHAT personality the wizard has awakened - it gets tense indeed.
All of the above weave a wider story line with each volume, and while not GRRM, precisely, the facet of an ADULT story line is present in each case."
From the Book Smugglers: "Cherryh is one of the major writers of SFF, with such an extensive output that a newcomer might feel like they’re facing a wall of where-do-I-start?

One of the great worldbuilders and deeply interested in exploring what it means to be human or to be alien, Cherryh’s books also have plenty of military and political meat – along with women getting stuff done. [If you're a fan of Mass Effect and FemShep, you're probably going to love Cherryh's SF.]

Since we’re talking over 60 books here, in both fantasy and SFF, I’m just going to suggest starting points. One of my favourite books is Cherryh’s Angel with the Sword, which is SF with a fantasy feel. The Cyteen trilogy is a nice introduction to her style, and delves into the implications of cloning. The Pride of Chanur is great fun, especially for the entertainment value of a human man thrown into a sexist female-dominated cat society – and bonus scads of adventure! Downbelow Station, which gets called space opera but I think of as hard SF (the primary focus is actually people being ground up by politics). And, finally, try The Gate of Ivrel, which is the start of the Morgaine saga (again a SF base in a fantasy feel book, with a strong dose of dedication and sacrifice).

Or you can be brave, take a deep breath, and plunge into the massive and ongoing evolving SF world which begins with Foreigner (15 books and counting!). [These books are written as a series of trilogies, so you can tackle the first trilogy without fear of being swallowed.]

Fun fact: Cherryh has an asteroid named after her!"
Cinda Williams ChimaSeven RealmsY
Yangsze ChooThe Ghost Bride"Yangsze Choo's The Ghost Bride, which is so much about colonial Malaysia and Chinese Vs. Malay Vs. British influence, but also butting against so much cultural sexism in both the physical world and the afterlife, and does so with such subtle complexity that I think most men wouldn't be able to reach it. Maybe they could, but the attempts that come to mind are blunter or superficial. Not all women could write this degree of insight, either, and I credit Choo."
Cassandra ClareThe Mortal InstrumentsUrban FantasyYY"It's an urban fantasy with vampires and werewolves connected to the war between Heaven and Hell. The main characters are the descendants of angels, and fight against demons. The series manages to ask many important questions, and only once is an actual demon the biggest antagonist."
Cassandra Rose ClarkeThe Assassin's Curse series
Susanna Clarke Jonathan Strange & Mr NorrellY"Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is one of the more acclaimed and original works to come out in recent years, and one of the most beautifully written. It's set during the Napoleonic Era, and it's interesting to me when fantasy goes beyond pseudo-Medieval or Modern Day settings. The Ladies of Grace Adieu is substantially lighter but it's a pretty good read as well."
"Beloved by critics, her prose is done in the style of Regency/early Victorian-era writers like Jane Austen or the Brontë sisters, and done very well."
Jo ClaytonDrinker of SoulsYAndre NortonFrom the Book Smugglers: "Jo Clayton produced over 30 books in multiple series including the Skeen books, and the Diadem books. Her work combines SF and fantasy elements and they hit, for me, a similar note to Norton’s Forerunner/Zero Stone books (but with far more women). I’d definitely recommend readers who are Norton fans to check Clayton out."
Brenda W. CloughSuburban Gods, AveridanFrom the Book Smugglers: "Clough’s Averidan series is fantasy with a humorous touch without descending into farce, while her Suburban Gods duology takes an interesting and somewhat dark approach to becoming superhuman. Those interested in fish-out-of-water time travel will definitely want to check out Revise the World."
Nancy A Collins Midnight Blue: the Sonja Blue collection"Raw, violent, lyrical, this is vampire urban fantasy before vampires solidified into a paranormal romance trope. Doesn't pull any punches an the mysterious heroine tears through the supernatural world. (there are more Sonja Blue books but they aren't as good as the first three)."Not mentioned much in /r/fantasy
Suzanne CollinsHunger GamesY
Ally CondieMatchedHunger Games
Dawn Cook (aka Kim Harrison) The Hollows, the Decoy PrincessUrban FantasyYY
Catherine CookeMask of the Wizard Y"Catherine Cooke's Mask of the Wizard and sequels are not what I'd call "blow-your-mind" good, but they're solid fantasy romances with some interesting world-building and characters. "
Elspeth Cooper Songs of the Earth, The Wild Hunt QuartetEpicNot aimed at YA audience, Book 2 in Wild Hunt Quartet is Rated R/NC-17YY"Elspeth Cooper is doing some interesting things that I like. Her style is easy, but unusually sharp for epic fantasy - as in she's not description-belaboured.”
"Elspeth Cooper WILD HUNT series features disabled protagonists, growing into power, strong themes of religion, government and power, and more. Gair is a protagonist who, even as he develops his power, learns that power is not everything, even as he tries to master it."
Louise CooperTime Master Trilogy, Indigo sagaYY"Louise Cooper's Indigo saga marked my early twenties and almost nobody I've met has ever heard of it. A young woman about to marry her friend and her love breaks an ancient taboo and for the price is cursed to be immortal and has to travel around the world and fix what she's done. It's not hugely original, but it's executed well and some of the books (Infanta immediately comes to mind) hold rich, interesting backgrounds. I liked her Time Master series as well. Unfortunately, Cooper has passed and the books are out of print, but they're not hard to find through most used dealers."
"Time Master trilogy: it deals with religion, balance between two opposite forces, order and chaos, neither being good or evil"
From the Book Smugglers: "Louise Cooper’s Indigo series made a big impression on me. The main character is the flawed Princess Anghara, who does stupid things and then spends seven novels fixing her mistakes. It’s very rare to see a female character in the “flawed wanderer on an epic quest for redemption” role. [Her naivety in the first few novels might make you want to shake her, but you do get the pleasure of seeing her mature over the series.] Like Cooper’s Time Master series (and related sequel trilogies), the tone is sombre and serious, but the plot is very eventful and often painful."
Susan Cooper Dark is RisingYY
Alison CroggonPellinorEpic FantasyY"I highly recommend the books of Pelinor. The first book The Gift is amazing and the journey the stories take you through is wonderful.
The main character is one of my all time favourite female characters."
"The books for me are pretty much the perfect example of a female character. Even if it wasn't stated she just comes across as feminine and yet still so kick ass."
"Pellinor series - very traditional epic fantasy: you've got an orphan girl who discovers she's the Chosen One, a prophecy, a Dark Lord, bardic magic, all the familiar tropes. But Croggon proves that a skilled author can take all the familiar elements and still tell a compelling story with them. She's a poet, and it shows in her prose; it's very formal, and not to everyone's taste, but the rich depth of her descriptions make her landscapes and cultures feel beautifully real. She does an equally terrific job with some of the horrors of war; there's a section in the 3rd book dealing with the training and use of child soldiers that I found absolutely gut-wrenching."
Australian Author
Elaine CunninghamStarlight & ShadowsY
Leah Cutterthe Paper MageY"an Asian-themed setting, with a strong female protaganist who creates magic with the ancient art of paper-folding "
Leah CypessMistwood"Leah Cypess, who has three loosely connected fantasy novels (so far) that read like poetic moody fairytales with a hidden gutpunch to the FEELS, and have remade tired fantasy tropes (shifters, zombies, assassins) fresh new and exciting"
Julie E. CzernedaA Turn of Light"an excellent SF author, who has moved into fantasy with a new series, beginning with A Turn of Light"From the Book Smugglers: "Julie Czerneda has produced more than a dozen SFF books, primarily science fiction, with a notable flair for alien races – and page-turning plots (space opera or space adventure, or even space anthropology, depending on your preferred terminology). Try starting with A Thousand Words for Stranger, or Beholder’s Eye. If your taste is more for fantasy, check out A Turn of Light."
Melody Daggerhart Elf Gate seriesNot mentioned much in /r/fantasy
Rowena Cory DaniellsChronicles of King Rolan's kin Y
Cecilia Dart-Thornton The Ill-Made Mute“Not for everyone, she has great love of using extremely flowery language, but I love her style”
“folksy, fairytale element to her work.”
"heavily poetic style. Her Ill Made Mute stars a female concealed as a male and develops into an ill starred romantic relationship across the bounds of an alternate faerie. The world is totally unique, and has 'sildron' - a metal that can float - so trade is done by air, on a world that seems to be psychicly reactive."
Kaitlyn DavisA Dance of DragonsYFrom the Author " The story is told in alternating male and female perspectives, and also has a series of side novellas following a supporting female character."
Cara d'BastianCheck your LuckFrom the Book Smugglers: "It’s rare that I’m drawn to urban fantasy, but the Check Your Luck serial, set in Singapore and Malaysia and drawing upon the wealth of mythology mixing in those two countries, definitely captured my interest. A sensible heroine (and a snarky ghost) only added to my enjoyment."
Pamela Dean Tam LinYFrom the Book Smugglers: "Pamela Dean’s The Secret Country trilogy could be described as Narnia-esque, but instead of Christian allegory, these books explore the division between fantasy and reality, as five children discover that the world they thought they’d created in stories is all too real. Along with this trilogy, Dean has a handful of standalone books based on classic traditional ballads and stories, such as Tam Lin and Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary."
Camille DeAngelisPetty Magic
Emily Devenport (aka Maggy Thomas aka Lee Hogan)NightshiftersYFrom the Book Smugglers: "I thoroughly enjoyed Devenport’s Eggheads and Godheads SF books, which use one of my favourite SF tropes: exploring the ruins of lost alien civilisations. There’s a whole lot of interesting things in Devenport’s other books, such as Broken Time (about a janitor at an asylum on another planet), and the more recent The Night Shifters (paranormal dream event) and Spirits of Glory (colonial mystery on another planet)."
Susan DexterPrince of Ill Luck, The Ring of AllaireFrom the Book Smugglers: "Along with a handful of standalones, Susan Dexter has two series that will particularly appeal to lovers of fantasy with a focus on horses (and other animals), adventures leavened by a touch of gentle humour, and flawed characters in sore need of redemption (or a swift kick ;) ). Try Prince of Ill Luck or The Ring of Allaire for starters."
Betsy Dornbusch Exile
Sara DouglassAxis Trilogy and the Wayfarer Redemption trilogy (published together as one six-book series in North America), the Troy Game Series, and the Darkglass Mountain TrilogyY“She wrote the Axis Trilogy and the Wayfarer Redemption trilogy (published together as one six-book series in North America), the Troy Game Series, and the Darkglass Mountain Trilogy. Darkglass Mountain should be read after reading her other works, including her stand-alone books. She's awesome because she enjoys torturing her characters as much as GRRM does.” Australian Author
Candas Jane DorseyBlack WineY
Amanda Downum The Drowning City, The Necromancer ChroniclesY"The main character is a female necromancer who is essentially a spy for her government, attached to the "Foreign Affairs" department. Because of her role the series has a fair bit of politics but they are well done. The first book is The Drowning City, where she is sent to start a local rebellion as part of a plan to disrupt trade routes in the area. Then everything goes wrong."
Debra DoyleCircle of Magic, Bad BloodYFrom the Book Smugglers: "Primarily co-writing with James D Macdonald, Debra Doyle touches on several different SFF sub-genres. Her Mageworlds series dials space opera up to eleven (start with The Price of the Stars), while the Circle of Magic books (aimed at middle grade level) are classic wizarding school (and are occasionally, hilariously, accused of jumping on the Harry Potter bandwagon by people who don’t look at publication dates). Then there’s the young adult Bad Blood series, about the complications of being a teenaged werewolf."
Betsy Dornbusch Exile"Betsy Dornbusch's Exile series deals with an exile from a noble land who gets caught up in politics, machinations, and the manipulations of Gods in Exile. In Emissary, the main character gets to go back to his homeland and that load of trouble..."
Diane Duane Cat wizard books, Young Wizards series YYFrom the Book Smugglers: "While best known for her Young Wizards series (start with So You Want to be a Wizard), Diane Duane has some serious classic SF chops as well, particularly in the Star Trek universe. Not only is she a novelist, but she has also produced an enormous number of scripts for many TV shows.

For those looking for something different, check out The Book of Night With Moon (cat wizards in New York), or The Tale of Five series (exploring, among other things, the impacts of a thoroughly pansexual world)."
Marina DyachenkoThe ScarY
Thoraiya Dyer Asymmetry“She has only written short stories / novellas atm, but she's won an Aurealis or two.” Australian Author
Women Authors
Male Authors with Strong female characters