10 Super-Tough, Kick-Butt Heroines that are my Absolute Favorite of All Time

I’m a sucker for strong female characters who have a dark past, who are hesitant to lead, who are super smart, and who are sacrificial.


Really, put any of those traits into your female protagonist, and I’ll read your book – no questions asked.

(This post does contain some possible spoilers, so just be aware)

And because I know you all want to know so much about me, because I’m awesome (she’s so weird), here are my top ten favorite heroines of all time – or at least of all time currently:

Aelin Galathynius – Throne of Glass Series || Sarah J. Maas

Aelin might be number one because I’m still obsessing over the Throne of Glass series, but she is a beast. She tells it how it is, she sarcastic, she’s got swagger, and she don’t need no man. Her self-confidence is through the roof! She acts super tough (and she is), but there is no questioning her loyalty and love for her friends. It’s cool – we’re basically the same person.

Vin Venture – The Mistborn Trilogy || Brandon Sanderson

A scrawny orphan who finds out she has amazing powers. She’s super independent and doesn’t trust anyone, but by the end of the third book, she’s willing to lay down her life to save the world. Vin literally goes down in history; throughout the later Mistborn books, she’s remembered and revered.

Manon Blackbeak – Throne of Glass Series || Sarah J. Maas

“Do you believe monsters are made or born?” a question Manon is asked that will haunt her throughout the Throne of Glass books. Manon is someone who fully accepts her responsibilities and her namesake – she’s heir to the Blackbeak Clan and does everything she can to prove her ability to inherit the clan. But we can learn a lesson from her story – when do you stop living the life expected of you and start living your life?

Hermione Granger – Harry Potter Series || JK Rowling

Let’s face it – Voldemort would have overtaken the world if Hermione wasn’t around. She’s super smart, diligent, and a hardcore problem-solver. When she chose to stay with Harry and fight against Voldemort, she didn’t baulk at the risk. She chose to fight for the wizarding world she came to love, even when that meant erasing the memory of her from her parents to keep them safe.

Isabel Archer – The Portrait of a Lady || Henry James

Miss Archer, a girl who found adventure and escape in books during her childhood. She wanted more than settling down; she wanted to see the world, and when her eccentric great-aunt visited for Isabel’s father’s funeral, she was offered a trip to travel Europe. One thing I love about Isabel is her stubbornness – she is fully committed to embracing her independence, even when two dashing young men offer their hands in marriage. Ultimately, Isabel marries an egotistical jerk who only wants her for her money, but she commits to living with her consequences with integrity.

Jasnah Kholin – The Stormlight Archives Series || Brandon Sanderson

The quote “lions don’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep” perfectly fits Jasnah Kholin. This chick is as kick-butt as they come. She’s a princess . . . and a heretic. The only heretic of the royal family, actually. Many people hold this against her, but she don’t care – she does what she wants. And want she wants to do is study. She’s constantly questioning and learning, and pushes her protégé to do the same. Jasnah tells you how it is and doesn’t pretend to be someone she’s not. We’d obviously be best friends.

Elizabeth Bennett – Pride and Prejudice || Jane Austen

I have to give a nod to Jane Austen, the front woman for well-developed female characters. While Lizzy has a witty and fun personality, what I love about her is that she’s not an easy catch. She not “anti-marriage”, but the dude better be worth it. She’s also not swayed by money or convenience; she wants to marry for love.

Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games Trilogy || Suzanne Collins

The winner of the 74th Hunger Games. The destroyer of the Quarter Quell. The Mockingjay. Sure, she’s super intense, pretty good with bow, and resourceful . . . I mean, those are all great things, but what I admire most in Katniss is her protectiveness. The whole reason the series is even a thing is because she protected her sister from a death sentence. Don’t get me started on her sisterly love for Rue! Despite everything that happened, there was nothing Katniss wouldn’t do for those she loved. It was probably her desire to keep her loved ones safe that kept her alive.

Beatrice “Tris” Prior – The Divergent Trilogy || Veronica Roth

Determination. Absolute determination. That’s how Tris got on my list. She never backed down from a challenge. She went through hard stuff and learned hard truths. In Insurgent, Tris gave us a glimpse of someone who had hit rock bottom and had nothing left to lose. But, she kept going, determined to set everything right.

Shh . . . I do need to be honest and admit that I have not read the ending of Allegiant. I know what happens, but let me feign innocence and believe the ending I made up in my head.

Zelda, Princess of Hyrule – The Legend of Zelda Video Games || Nintendo (I guess)

I do realize that Zelda is not a literary heroine . . . but I have spend the vast majority of my life playing the Legend of Zelda video games, so I feel like I have to give the princess some recognition. I honestly didn’t have much of an opinion of Zelda until N64’s Ocarina of Time. The woman disguised herself as a dude to help guide you through the game! I started to pay more attention to her after that and learn more about her storylines. She’s not your typical princess; Zelda is always focused on what is best for her kingdom and protects it, regardless of the cost.

So, what about you?? What’s your favorite heroine?? Tell me why in the comments below!

7 thoughts on “10 Super-Tough, Kick-Butt Heroines that are my Absolute Favorite of All Time

  1. Val Wiggins from the Ender’s Game series. She plays the big sister role in the narrative, but she influences the world as much as any of that family. Wisdom, grace, eloquence. Like your characters, all her effort is for the greater good. Mostly fixing what her better known brothers messed up.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. One of my faves. Make sure to read Speaker for the Dead. Speaker was Card’s original vision. EG is more popular and has a more exciting plot. Speaker is more meaningful story.


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