Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Love Our Girls That's For Sure! How Important is a Compelling Female Character?

Nathalie Nordquist in 2010
Kick ass girls, broken girls who find their power, funny girls who can't help being assholes. Female characters run the show for me when it comes to stories. I don't care if the main character is a man like in my beloved Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson. The girls have to rock it even in a supporting role. They can be wussy or stereotypical if they have something that compels me to know them. And I can ramble off names of a few new favorites so I'm gonna.

Kinsey Millhone, private detective, loves to be alone and at the same time is so keenly aware of her hunger to have companionship you root for to get...intimate. She's never catty, which I love, but almost always cranky (which I really love).

Mercy Thompson, mechanic, underdog loner with an unwavering moral compass and a habit to mouth off when others would duck their heads and hope no one sees them. She's loving and protective and scared at all the appropriate times. She gets her ass kicked and not because she makes stupid choices, but because she makes emotional ones. 

Cat Crawfield, killer, half-vamp with a chip on her shoulder and very little social skills, she doesn't always choose the right path for the right reason. She bounces between rage, lust, and rage more than anyone else. And she is the opposite of graceful when it comes to dealing with her jealousy issues. I love this girl because so far you can't pay her to behave.

Kate Daniels just recently made the list because I fell into a series marathon and now I have the biggest fangirl crush on her. Everything I wrote for Mercy applies to Kate minus the mechanic part. I want to be Kate, but not really because I would cry all the time. She almost never cries. I would screech at all the gore. She just shrugs her shoulders, gags sometimes. I would try to stab Curran too, so we're the same there. She's the perfect balance of emotion, fight, and compromise. 

Almost every book on my favorites list (not including children's books) has girl power. So I wonder, where's my list of favorite men? My mind settles on Walt Longmire, but part of that is how he regards women (which is so fantastic and self-effacing I love it). Is there a double standard that women have to be better even in fiction? Or is it just the simple fact that I am a woman reader?

(By Carl Thorborg [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)


  1. Nice post, Robyn. I love female characters too. Maybe it's because we are female readers, but maybe it's just the power we love in them.

    But we want the males characters too and now I think about it, I love male characters a little more. :)

    You know my favorite. Harry Hole!

    Who is yours? Whose name comes to mind without thought?

    1. Hmm, let's see. Adam from the Mercy Thompson series. He's Alpha of a werewolf pack and also a dad of a human teen girl, makes for a cool combo. I'm nutty for Dimitri and Adrian, oh and Christian from Vampire Academy (and Bloodlines for Adrian). Oh, Dorian from the Dark Swan series. Yep, you woke up that part of my brain. You might be right. Have to have the men too! I love Lucus from Easy. Carlos from Perfect Chemistry. I can't stop, Athina. I have to do a follow up man-love post now.

      How's the editing/writing going? I'm still adjusting to the move, but I hope to get back into the groove next week when my youngest returns to preschool.

    2. And Curran from the Kate Daniels series. And Bones from Night Huntress. What the heck was I thinking with this post? Nah, I've dumped so many books because I couldn't stand the female characters, but male characters have more wiggle room. I'll give them time to grow on me.

    3. Hehe. You see? We love them all. How can we chose? A book has it all and we want everything. :)

      You should do a post about male characters too.

      Editing is going well and I did some more writing too. It felt so good. I should divide my time between writing and editing but it's just I want to finish editing so much!

      I'm sure you'll find your groove when everything's in order.:)

  2. This is a great post, Robyn. And so damn true!! I am in complete agreement with you here. And all the women make my list as well. I aspire to be a kick-ass girl but I'll probably never get there. LOL As for the list of men, I'd say all the men who complement the ladies listed above. :)

    Hmm, I think your Anna would make my list. ;) And I'd add Junco Coot, Faythe Sanders, Rachel Morgan, Rose Hathaway, Elena Michaels...every single one of my favorite books has a strong female! LOL

    Thanks for making me smile. :)

    1. I had to look up a couple of your girls; Elena, I haven't read Kelly Armstrong yet, and Faythe, well...I tried to sneak that out of my sister's room only to discover she has the worst book system ever! She has books piled behind books on her bookshelves. I looked and looked but it would take me forever and I'd get caught! I abandoned mission since I had, wait for it...Tragic on my handy-dandy Kindle. I just finished it and now I just have to get Manic!

      You're right about Anna. I swear every time I pick up the series and get to know her again, I fall in love with her even though I created her character. She's just so neat.

  3. Love this question! I think I want both to be great, but as a female reader I think I want women that I'm inspired by, envy, or can relate to. I pay more attention to them because of that and tend to prefer books written from their perspective, at least partially.

    1. Yes, all of that! Some of them totally inspire me like Charley Parkhurst from The Whip. Some I totally envy like Rose Hathaway even though I have no desire to battle strigoi, but she is so cool. And some I relate to, but those are usually hard reads. I can't talk her through rough stuff.

  4. I agree with you! The female characters have to have something that makes me want to know them. They don't have to be nice but there has to be something in their personality that talks to me. I love some of the same female characters as you do! And I know there are more male characters you enjoy!

    What about Adam? Mercy's husband is pretty cool IMO, he's bad-ass, but looks so polished and polity. He can fight dirty, and he loves Mercy with no limits.

    Jenks? Need I say more? Or Kisten... did you forget about him? :P Both are awesome in very different ways. And while I'm going on about The Hollows, we have to remember both Trent and Quen as well, right?

    I love Bones because he knows exactly how to deal with Cat, and also because he really, really loves her. He'd do anything to protect her - even though he knows she can protect herself.

    I also have a special place in my heart for Harry Dresden from The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. He's confused, a little sexist, but honest, loyal and lovable anyway :D

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    1. Yes, the girls have to have something. I'm good if they're mean or unscrupulous, but they need dimension. I quit a book recently after page two because the girl's personality pissed me off that much.

      Adam is one of my top favorite male characters. I'm thinking of using Jenks for this week's Sidekick. I just plain love him. I'm not far enough into The Hollows to love Kisten, but I lust after him pretty hard. Bones is too cool. I need to do a male character post now.

      After I finish my Kate Daniels obsession and then hit another Hollows book, I plan to tackle Harry Dresdon. You've convinced me. He sounds flawed and cranky and I love cranky characters!