What is a fierce female? Does she have a sword? Does she kick ass? Or is she unafraid to express her emotions? Is she the person that struggles through adversity but gets through it in the end? Or perhaps she is even the friend that makes themselves available when they are needed most?
Fierce female characters aren’t just the ones that can swing a sword, push their emotions aside, and punch the villain in the throat (although, let’s be honest, that’s cool too). Being fierce can mean crying when you need to, expressing yourself when it’s not always comfortable, and struggling through difficult decisions to try to get to a better place. You may have a few characters that pop up in your head when you think of the word ‘fierce’. Here are a few that might not come to mind but are fierce nonetheless.
Eleanor Oliphant is from the book Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and is possibly the epitome of what people wouldn’t consider a “fierce female.” But I disagree. Eleanor Oliphant has been through hell. Her mother and her childhood left much to be desired and as an adult, she deals with her past as best as she can. She may be a little meek and she may not go outside her comfort zone too much, but that’s what she needs to do to make sure she doesn’t break down.
Unfortunately, Eleanor does eventually break down but with the help of the friends she’s made along the way, she gets back on her feet. She gets help. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO GET HELP?? She goes to a therapist, she gets out of her apartment, and she starts doing things to ensure she stays mentally healthy. That is some fierceness right there!
Ok, there are a couple different Charlotte Holmes but I am talking about both the one from Brittany Cavallaro’s series and the one from Sherry Thomas’s series. They are both not too concerned by what people think of them, can solve just about any crime, AND allow them to feel FEELINGS for the ones that are closest to them AKA Jamie Watson in Cavallaro’s series and Mrs. Watson and Charlotte’s sister in Thomas’s series, etc. Being vulnerable is tough for Charlotte Holmes but sometimes, she has to express how she feels because the people who care for her deserve to hear it.
I love these two series not only because they have a female Sherlock Holmes but also because they explore how Holmes is not a robot. The male and the female Holmes feel and care and I think that gets erased a bit in some of the adaptations. And there is nothing more fierce to me than a character who makes sure the people they care about most are being taken care of. The fact that she solves mysteries just makes her that much more badass.
This one might be a bit controversial but let me start off by saying I love everything Jane Austen and will fight anyone who says anything negative about the queen that is Jane (ok that’s not entirely true, but I am A FAN). That being said, I think Mary, Lydia, and Kitty get a bad wrap. Living life with Wickham is not going to be easy despite how clueless Lydia might seem. That’s a tough life and she has to be some kind of fierce to survive it. Also, CAN WE NOT SHAME 15 YEARS OLD FOR BEING BOY CRAZY?! This goes for both Lydia and Kitty. They were just kids and having fun.
These three sisters didn’t let anyone change who they were. Mary was going to read her religious texts and lecture her sisters on being pious no matter what anyone says. Do I think Mary and Kitty would ultimately benefit from visiting Lizzy in Derbyshire, YES! But that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them. They are simply acting their age. And for that, I am making them fierce females!
Sadie is from the AMAZING novel of the same name by Courtney Summers. Sadie does everything she can to find the man that killed her sister, including being fully prepared to murder him. While she is barely an adult herself, Sadie leaves her home with only her car, the clothes on her back, a switchblade, and a few other things to go after someone she knows is dangerous without really any concern for how it might end for her.
She is fierce because she is scared but she doesn’t allow her fear to stop her from doing what she wants. I love this book so damn much, there are barely words to describe it and my love for it is mostly to do with Sadie herself.
Ok, this one might seem expected but my reasons for putting Jude on this list might be the unexpected part. Jude is from The Cruel Prince by Holly Black and I am putting her on this list not because she fights and has a sword. I put her on this list because she doesn’t take any bullshit and because of the way she manipulates and strategizes.
If you predicted that she was going to turn on Cardan the way she does at the end of the first book, you are smarter than me. That was some stone-cold political calculation and I loved it. But that’s not the only reason I think she is fierce. Her love and care for her sisters and Oak also land her on this list too.
Even when she is pissed at her twin, she still cares for her, she still wants to be able to talk to her and be near her. No matter how much she might want to, she can’t shut her soft side down, especially when it comes to the people she loves.
Romy Silvers is from The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. She is filled with anxiety and guilt and fear but when she needs to fight and survive, she does what she has to do. Romy has been alone for years. She reads and writes fanfiction, she fangirls over her favorite TV show, and she builds things out of food packets.
Besides the fact that she is the lone survivor on a space shuttle going to another planet, she is a regular teenager. But when her life is on the line, when her past is at her door, and when there is someone after her, she uses her smarts to stay alive and defeat the person after her. She is as fierce as they come.
Robin Ellacott is from Robert Galbraith’s (aka J.K. Rowling) Cormoran Strike series. She starts off as the receptionist for private detective, Cormoran Strike, but soon moves up to being his partner and a brilliant investigator in her own right. Robin has been through some shit in her life and she has the shittiest boyfriend known to man but she doesn’t figure that out until later (no spoilers).
But when she is working with Strike and investigating crimes, she feels like she has finally found something she is good at and that she loves. But Robin doesn’t just help investigate crimes, she also deals with Strike’s less-than-stellar mood, his stubbornness, and being attacked by suspects occasionally. She is nobody’s side-kick and that makes her hella fierce!
I may or may not have just finished Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu on audiobook and I may or may not have cried at the end. OMG this book is all about female solidarity, especially at the end and damn, is it good. Vivian Carter is the main character and while she may not be the fiercest character in the book, she definitely is responsible for changing the environment and the attitude of her high school enough that allows other girls to let their fierceness shine.
By creating the Moxie zine and fighting back against the bullshit sexism and misogyny at her school, she not only proved how badass she is, she also started a movement whereby other girls could become involved and they could fight the patriarchy together. I cried at the end of Moxie because girls of every background come together and stand up for their right to be who they are and be safe while they do it. AND THAT MAKES ME EMOTIONAL!
I have been to a few protests in my life and the feel of strength and rightness that comes over me when I’m at a protest is the same feeling I got when I listened to this book. Vivian made that feeling possible. FIERCE!
Have you read Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson? NO?! You totally need to! To say Mila Flores is distraught over her best friend’s death would be an understatement. I mean, no spoilers but… SHE TRIES TO BRING HER BACK FROM THE DEAD! But that’s not the only reason Mila is fierce, although my fondness for witches is above and beyond.
The reason Mila is fierce is because she tries to find out who killed her friend and girls she didn’t even like and when she finds out the killer is the last person she would have expected, she has no problem turning on them and making sure they pay. Also, the fact that Mila has no problem stealing shit from a witch store to bring her friend back to life makes me love her with all my heart. So, Mila is not just a fierce female. She is a fierce witch!
Darby Thorne is from No Exit by Taylor Adams. I don’t even know where to start here. When Darby finds a girl caged in the back of a van at the rest stop she is stuck at, she cannot believe it. This isn’t something that happens in real life.
But this is real and once Darby gets over her shock, she does whatever she can to get the girl free. And I mean she does everything and anything, including getting hurt, threatened, run after, and almost frozen to death. I also love that she does this all while being scared and anxious and with the knowledge that he mother is dying in the hospital!! She is the definition of fierce.
I would like to give honorable mentions to Anne in Annelies and Nellie is What Girls Are Good For but because they are based on real people, it felt weird to put them in a list of “characters.”
What do you think? Who are your favorite fierce female characters? Who would be on your list? Let me know in the comments!