Best "Strong Female" Fantasy Novels
List of fantasy novels featuring strong women.
This includes: general fantasy, urban fantasy, young adult fantasy, fairy tale retellings, etc.

This DOES NOT include: Sci-Fi (including dystopian).
Which means it DOES NOT include The Host, or any of The Hunger Games books.
If you're looking for Sci-Fi, check out this one:
http://tinyurl.com/scifi-goodreads

If you're confused about the difference between Sci-Fi and Fantasy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantasy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_...

Even more important than the Fantasy aspect: Please think about the "strong" female aspect of this list before adding a book! These women kick ass! These women are not victims! They have personality! Their names are not Bella, so please stop adding the Twilight series!

Challenge: Can you, or have you, read the top 25?

Edits: If you see a book that does not fit this criteria, please comment with the number of its current rating so I can remove it (that is, if you are not a librarian).
1 Graceling (Graceling Realm,...
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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 188,364 ratings
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2 Vampire Academy (Vampire Ac...
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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 276,130 ratings
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3 Alanna: The First Adventure...
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4.25 of 5 stars 4.25 avg rating — 63,117 ratings
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4 Poison Study (Study, #1)
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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19 avg rating — 65,613 ratings
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5 Moon Called (Mercy Thompson...
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4.18 of 5 stars 4.18 avg rating — 86,051 ratings
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6 Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)
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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 82,513 ratings
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7 Sabriel (Abhorsen,  #1)
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4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 91,989 ratings
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8 City of Bones (The Mortal I...
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 651,314 ratings
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9 Howl's Moving Castle (Howl'...
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4.29 of 5 stars 4.29 avg rating — 85,177 ratings
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10 His Dark Materials (His Dar...
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4.22 of 5 stars 4.22 avg rating — 74,796 ratings
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11 Wild Magic (Immortals, #1)
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4.3 of 5 stars 4.30 avg rating — 37,421 ratings
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12 Harry Potter and the Sorcer...
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4.38 of 5 stars 4.38 avg rating — 2,644,382 ratings
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13 Halfway to the Grave (Night...
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4.22 of 5 stars 4.22 avg rating — 74,802 ratings
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14 Kushiel's Dart (Phèdre's Tr...
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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 36,359 ratings
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15 The Mists of Avalon (Avalon...
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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 126,344 ratings
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16 First Test (Protector of th...
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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20 avg rating — 29,091 ratings
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17 The Blue Sword (Damar, #2)
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4.24 of 5 stars 4.24 avg rating — 35,065 ratings
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18 Mistborn: The Final Empire ...
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4.38 of 5 stars 4.38 avg rating — 110,802 ratings
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19 Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)
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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 41,074 ratings
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20 Blood Promise (Vampire Acad...
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4.39 of 5 stars 4.39 avg rating — 166,678 ratings
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21 Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academ...
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4.43 of 5 stars 4.43 avg rating — 169,604 ratings
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22 Magic Burns (Kate Daniels, #2)
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4.33 of 5 stars 4.33 avg rating — 29,616 ratings
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23 Frostbite (Vampire Academy,...
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4.34 of 5 stars 4.34 avg rating — 174,401 ratings
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24 Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson...
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4.35 of 5 stars 4.35 avg rating — 58,907 ratings
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25 A Great and Terrible Beauty...
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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 143,428 ratings
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26 Matilda
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4.25 of 5 stars 4.25 avg rating — 283,909 ratings
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27 Bitten (Women of the Otherw...
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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 54,245 ratings
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28 Spirit Bound (Vampire Acade...
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4.4 of 5 stars 4.40 avg rating — 166,095 ratings
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29 Trickster's Choice (Daughte...
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4.24 of 5 stars 4.24 avg rating — 29,973 ratings
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30 Last Sacrifice (Vampire Aca...
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4.49 of 5 stars 4.49 avg rating — 131,010 ratings
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31 City of Glass (The Mortal I...
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4.35 of 5 stars 4.35 avg rating — 386,142 ratings
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32 Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson...
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4.3 of 5 stars 4.30 avg rating — 59,191 ratings
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33 Daughter of the Forest  (Se...
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4.28 of 5 stars 4.28 avg rating — 27,848 ratings
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34 Lady Knight (Protector of t...
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4.26 of 5 stars 4.26 avg rating — 26,511 ratings
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35 Ella Enchanted
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 234,173 ratings
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36 In the Hand of the Goddess ...
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4.24 of 5 stars 4.24 avg rating — 50,590 ratings
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37 Terrier (Beka Cooper, #1)
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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20 avg rating — 29,057 ratings
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38 Guilty Pleasures (Anita Bla...
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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 83,690 ratings
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39 The Hero and the Crown (Dam...
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4.23 of 5 stars 4.23 avg rating — 30,822 ratings
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40 Lirael (Abhorsen, #2)
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4.3 of 5 stars 4.30 avg rating — 56,202 ratings
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41 Dealing with Dragons (Encha...
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 42,773 ratings
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42 Dead Witch Walking (The Hol...
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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 70,805 ratings
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43 City of Ashes (The Mortal I...
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4.24 of 5 stars 4.24 avg rating — 345,895 ratings
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44 Coraline
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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 200,054 ratings
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45 Wicked: The Life and Times ...
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3.46 of 5 stars 3.46 avg rating — 390,847 ratings
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46 Trickster's Queen (Daughter...
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4.26 of 5 stars 4.26 avg rating — 34,325 ratings
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47 The Summoning (Darkest Powe...
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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 95,631 ratings
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48 Throne of Glass (Throne of ...
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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 60,228 ratings
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49 Green Rider (Green Rider, #1)
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4.08 of 5 stars 4.08 avg rating — 16,354 ratings
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50 Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels...
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4.45 of 5 stars 4.45 avg rating — 30,622 ratings
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51 Harry Potter and the Deathl...
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4.57 of 5 stars 4.57 avg rating — 1,195,172 ratings
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52 The Woman Who Rides Like a ...
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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19 avg rating — 38,429 ratings
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53 A Game of Thrones (A Song o...
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4.44 of 5 stars 4.44 avg rating — 748,243 ratings
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54 Abhorsen (Abhorsen, #3)
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4.28 of 5 stars 4.28 avg rating — 62,200 ratings
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55 The Black Jewels Trilogy: D...
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4.39 of 5 stars 4.39 avg rating — 7,746 ratings
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56 Darkfever (Fever, #1)
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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19 avg rating — 78,988 ratings
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57 Marked (House of Night, #1)
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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 261,789 ratings
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58 Sunshine
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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83 avg rating — 22,601 ratings
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59 Clockwork Angel (The Infern...
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4.3 of 5 stars 4.30 avg rating — 278,096 ratings
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60 Crown Duel (Crown & Court #...
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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20 avg rating — 14,116 ratings
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61 Blood and Chocolate
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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 27,091 ratings
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62 Strange Angels (Strange Ang...
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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 26,936 ratings
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63 The Wee Free Men (Discworld...
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4.22 of 5 stars 4.22 avg rating — 44,379 ratings
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64 Dreamfever (Fever, #4)
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4.47 of 5 stars 4.47 avg rating — 51,816 ratings
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65 Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels,...
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4.5 of 5 stars 4.50 avg rating — 29,832 ratings
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66 The Novice (The Black Magic...
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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 22,142 ratings
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67 Silver Borne (Mercy Thompso...
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4.37 of 5 stars 4.37 avg rating — 50,641 ratings
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68 Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter...
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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15 avg rating — 33,244 ratings
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69 Dead and Gone (Sookie Stack...
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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 126,979 ratings
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70 Some Girls Bite (Chicagolan...
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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 32,146 ratings
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71 The Deed of Paksenarrion (T...
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4.27 of 5 stars 4.27 avg rating — 6,936 ratings
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72 Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega, #1)
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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 50,635 ratings
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73 The Naming (The Books of Pe...
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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 14,379 ratings
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74 Kushiel's Avatar (Phèdre's ...
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4.39 of 5 stars 4.39 avg rating — 19,366 ratings
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75 Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy...
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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 236,701 ratings
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76 The Magicians' Guild (The B...
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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 29,428 ratings
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77 Kushiel's Chosen (Phèdre's ...
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4.31 of 5 stars 4.31 avg rating — 22,055 ratings
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78 Betrayed (House of Night, #2)
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 170,729 ratings
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79 The Golden Compass (His Dar...
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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89 avg rating — 668,611 ratings
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80 Soulless (Parasol Protector...
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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 49,451 ratings
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81 The High Lord (The Black Ma...
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 23,201 ratings
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82 Club Dead (Sookie Stackhous...
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 160,962 ratings
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83 Glass Houses (The Morganvil...
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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 62,999 ratings
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84 At Grave's End (Night Huntr...
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4.34 of 5 stars 4.34 avg rating — 44,802 ratings
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85 Stray (Shifters, #1)
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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 22,232 ratings
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86 Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompso...
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4.33 of 5 stars 4.33 avg rating — 53,755 ratings
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87 Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock...
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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 14,278 ratings
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88 The Reckoning (Darkest Powe...
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4.23 of 5 stars 4.23 avg rating — 70,148 ratings
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89 Son of the Shadows (Sevenwa...
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4.32 of 5 stars 4.32 avg rating — 16,381 ratings
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90 On the Edge (The Edge, #1)
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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 16,433 ratings
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91 Storm Born (Dark Swan #1)
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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 19,752 ratings
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92 The Awakening (Darkest Powe...
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4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 69,933 ratings
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93 By the Sword (Valdemar: Ker...
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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19 avg rating — 13,094 ratings
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94 Dead Until Dark (Sookie Sta...
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 339,185 ratings
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95 Deerskin
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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 12,763 ratings
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96 Talking to Dragons (Enchant...
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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 19,785 ratings
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97 Bloodfever (Fever, #2)
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4.33 of 5 stars 4.33 avg rating — 52,077 ratings
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98 Witches Abroad (Discworld, ...
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 33,828 ratings
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99 The Witching Hour (Lives of...
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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 65,640 ratings
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100 Obsidian Butterfly (Anita B...
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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 42,476 ratings
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flag this list (?)
3,268 books · 8,372 voters · list created October 31st, 2008 by Amy (votes) .
553 likes · like
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Amy
Amy
762 books
104 friends
Jennifer
Jennifer
1490 books
48 friends
Rora
Rora
1136 books
43 friends
Adam
Adam
1113 books
62 friends
I am Bastet
I am Bastet
1865 books
151 friends
Jon
Jon
1666 books
113 friends
Flora
Flora
1663 books
13 friends
Zarakoda
Zarakoda
908 books
17 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-50 of 175) (175 new)


message 1: by arianna (new)

arianna wow, i need to find more of these books... and read more.


message 2: by Mary (new)

Mary Martin Can't wait to read some of these that I haven't yet gotten around to, and it was really nice to see some old favorites too.


Christa (is on top of the world!) Why is only one of Tamora Pierces books on this list?


message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy Christa (call me Chris) wrote: "Why is only one of Tamora Pierces books on this list? "

Two are - Wild Magic and Alanna: The First Adventure. You can add more if you'd like, it's user driven.


message 5: by Marianna (new)

Marianna I've only read a few of these books, I am dying to read the others. Interesting list.


message 6: by Lucille (new)

Lucille I think that Tamora Pierce is perhaps the best author i've read for 'strong heroine' novels.
Graceling was also a really good book with an incredibly strong female lead.
i want to read all of these :)


message 7: by Laura (new)

Laura Christa (is a sleepy kitty...) wrote: "Why is only one of Tamora Pierces books on this list? "

There's actually more than one, I saw a few different ones in the series about Keladry- can't remember the series name currently... lol
Oh, nevermind! The Protector of the Small Quartet. :) And the Alanna books.


message 8: by Laura (new)

Laura Amy wrote: "Christa (call me Chris) wrote: "Why is only one of Tamora Pierces books on this list? "

Two are - Wild Magic and Alanna: The First Adventure. You can add more if you'd like, it's user driven."


They have Lady Knight by Tamora Peirce as well, though



message 9: by Amy (new)

Amy @Laura - yea, this list changes pretty consistently.


message 10: by Ari (new)

Ari I dont understand why you people keep taking Fawcetta out when the voting is legit...Seems to me someone is getting paid to do it..or..there are some real jealous people on this site..eiter way it is wrong and cruel...


message 11: by Amy (new)

Amy @Ari I can't take any of these off the list, or there's a few I'd remove myself. If it's coming off, it's because the people don't agree. (the creator of the list)


message 12: by Pete (new)

Pete Blain Christa (is a sleepy kitty...) wrote: "Why is only one of Tamora Pierces books on this list? "....I don't know...but my friends and other people have voted on Fawcetta as well as I have...and when Fawcetta is up on the top 5...they completly take it out of the list...this has happened three times...this is not fair...maybe they are getting paid...




message 13: by Pete (new)

Pete Blain Lucille wrote: "I think that Tamora Pierce is perhaps the best author i've read for 'strong heroine' novels.
Graceling was also a really good book with an incredibly strong female lead.
i want to read all of t..."
......You should read Fawcetta as well...you want strong female leads...read Fawcetta....promise..you'll enjoy it...




message 14: by Pete (new)

Pete Blain Amy wrote: "@Ari I can't take any of these off the list, or there's a few I'd remove myself. If it's coming off, it's because the people don't agree. (the creator of the list)"....or maybe they are just getting paid to keep the top sellers at front...




message 15: by Amy (new)

Amy @Davlyon I seriously doubt that anyone cares enough about this list to keep the top sellers at the front. If anyone has any problems with the list they can *vote*. Sheesh. It's a fun list designed to help people find other strong-female-fantasy reads out there. Folks need to stop taking it so seriously.


message 16: by Eris (new)

Eris Ari wrote: "I dont understand why you people keep taking Fawcetta out when the voting is legit...Seems to me someone is getting paid to do it..or..there are some real jealous people on this site..eiter way it ..."

I don't think the voting is legit if you are spamming the lists with a book with tons of fake accounts. From what I understand Listopia is for the Readers at Goodreads to get recommendations from their fellow Readers; not for Authors to try to promote their new book.


message 17: by saferia (new)

saferia I'm surprised "Elske" isn't on the list. If you haven't read it, it's a great read (one of my faves). While I don't feel that "Book of a Thousand Days" is in the genre of fantasy, it definitely has a strong female protagonist. =)


message 18: by Kathy (new)

Kathy If you want an incredible cast of characters led by the most incredibly strong woman character ever, read Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel books. You can't find a stronger character (male or female) than Phedre.


message 19: by W.J. (new)

W.J. Howard Huh? I've only read two of the books in the top 100.


message 20: by pop (new)

pop My book, Trouble Starts, Pane Follows, isn't on this list, so it's not a fair listing. My Ash Pane is stronger, tougher, meaner than all these characters put together, if you're on her bad side.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Then why don't you add it? The form to add books to the list is at the right-hand side of the page.


message 22: by Hayes (new)

Hayes Pride and Prejudice (sans Zombies)?


message 24: by Hayes (new)

Hayes #105


message 26: by Hayes (new)

Hayes I guess they were confusing it with the Zombie version, but I think it should go...


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed for not being fantasy:

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen


message 28: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Good, but no Blood Lily Chronicles? No Buffy?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Why don't you add them?


message 30: by Kate (new)

Kate I love the fact that there are a ton of Tamora Pierce books on this list. I just finished the fourth book in The Immortals series, and I must say that Alanna, Daine, and Keladry are three of my favorite characters ever written about.


message 31: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I love most of the books on here Tamora Pierce is the best! I have probably read the Song of the Lioness so many times I can quote it.


Mrs.Vishous-Kattalakis-Belikov :::Para Itch Reviews::: I can't believe the Night Huntress series isnt on here...Cat totally kicks ass!!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads You could add it.


message 34: by Brittany (new)

Brittany Hey everyone I would love it if you voted for the Maximum Ride books. Max is a very strong female character. She's not like all these other girls who whine and mope around. She takes action and stays on top of her game. She tries to stay strong for her flock. She cares for her flock like a big sister/mother. She's always there for everyone and is a great role model.


message 35: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Brittany wrote: "Hey everyone I would love it if you voted for the Maximum Ride books. Max is a very strong female character. She's not like all these other girls who whine and mope around. She takes action and sta..."

But the Maximum Ride series is Science Fiction, not Fantasy, and this list is for Fantasy only. The flying children are genetically engineered and in the original book they are bred and raised in a top secret government compound to be experimented on. When the Wind Blows


message 36: by cacinta (new)

cacinta I added 'Ship of Magic' by Robin Hobb. What's more bad-ass than a leading lady captain who goes a sailing on a magical ship over troubled waters? One of my favourite characters ever


message 37: by Suz (new)

Suz I was a bit confused at some of the entries for "strong female" and found myself wondering how many of these were just popular votes. "Oh! I read and loved that!" without much thought to whether the heroine was strong or not. I saw among some of the most popular (at the time of my voting) selections a lot of insipid heroines that needed to be saved, or silly heroines that use denial/ avoidance as their rule of thumb to blunder into the next harrowing experience. But I also saw a lot of great selections and some I am really looking forward to reading. Good list.


message 38: by Suz (new)

Suz Oh yeah, I added three or four selections from the Dragonriders of Pern series. Specifically the ones where Lessa, Moreta, and Nerilka were the leading females (because they all rock).


message 39: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Hmm... I've only read a few. I adore the Vampire Academy and Graceling series books but I think I'm the only person who finds something annoying about the Mortal Instruments books. Otherwise, I have a lot of catching up to do!


message 40: by Donna (new)

Donna I've read a few books in this list and I am dying to read The Graceling series there said to be really good :)


message 41: by Piyochama (new)

Piyochama Awesome list - I've read quite a few books and am overjoyed to discover the rest :)


message 42: by Farrah (new)

Farrah what a fantastic list! im loving that the authors are male and female. ive really been struggling to get suggestions for anything past the vampire meets girl stories. BRILLIANT!! so many books for me to try out!


message 43: by Lucille (new)

Lucille Jamie wrote: "Hmm... I've only read a few. I adore the Vampire Academy and Graceling series books but I think I'm the only person who finds something annoying about the Mortal Instruments books. Otherwise, I hav..."

I'm not a fan of the 'heroine' of the Mortal Instruments series. She just can't compete with the strong characters written by authors like Tamora Pierce or Kristin Cashore


message 44: by Dolly (new)

Dolly I'm so glad this list exists! Can't wait to read some of these...


message 45: by Dahlia (new)

Dahlia The girl from Evermore is a strong female character? Someone please explain this to me.


message 46: by Lucille (new)

Lucille Dahlia wrote: "The girl from Evermore is a strong female character? Someone please explain this to me."

bleh. as far as inner strength goes she would probably get a beatdown by Bella Swan. Where does Evermore appear on the list? Hopefully there are just a few people who voted for it.....


message 47: by Lazy (new)

Lazy Seagull All of Tamora Pierce's main characters, obviously. Tamir from the Tamir Triad (Lynn Flewelling) is a definite automatic upvote; I'm surprised it's gotten so little recognition. Graceling, Sabriel, The Hunger Games, His Dark Materials, and Liveship traders were where the rest of my votes went.


message 48: by Deena (new)

Deena Carolyn wrote: "Brittany wrote: "Hey everyone I would love it if you voted for the Maximum Ride books. Max is a very strong female character. She's not like all these other girls who whine and mope around. She tak..."

That sounds like an awesome book, though.


message 49: by Deena (new)

Deena How about we add some WoC to the list? I vote for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. VERY much worth reading.


message 50: by Molly (new)

Molly Great list! I would also suggest adding Rhapsody by Elizabeth Hayden to this list.


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Anyone can add books to this list.