The best fantasy books with badass female leads

Natasha Buylding Author Of It Ends With Her
By Natasha Buylding

Who am I?

I’m a Canadian writer who has always had a love for fantasy books. Particularly fantasy books with badass female characters who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, which is why my first published novel, It Ends With Her, is just that. I hate reading books, fantasy or otherwise, where the female lead simply waits around for someone else to fix her problems. Or even worse, lets someone else run her life entirely. No thank you, I’d much rather read about someone taking matters into her own hands and doing what’s right, no matter the cost.

I wrote...

It Ends With Her

By Natasha Buylding,

Book cover of It Ends With Her

What is my book about?

What would become of the world of Camelot if King Arthur and his twelve knights were women? This gender swap of a tale will break your heart and pump rage through your veins.

In the depths of Camelot, 17-year-old Arthelia Pendragon is on the cusp of becoming Queen. In a land once buried under male rule, there are kingdoms still hanging onto the old traditions of the realm. Lords and Ladies fighting to keep their power, family plotting in the shadows, and a barbaric war on the rise, will it be too much for Arthelia and her knights to handle? She’ll do whatever it takes to keep her people safe, no matter the cost. Will she succeed, or will her moral compass land Camelot in nothing but smoke and blood?

The books I picked & why

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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

By V.E. Schwab,

Book cover of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Why this book?

Addie LaRue isn’t the typical badass character you would think of, but she gave off such an independence as she was trying to figure out her situation that really stood out to me. Granted, she had to be independent because no one remembered her existence once she was out of their sight, but still. How she twisted the terms of her situation and managed to pull one over on the main antagonist was, what I’d like to call, a badass move.

Throne of Glass

By Sarah J. Maas,

Book cover of Throne of Glass

Why this book?

Throughout the entire Throne of Glass series, Aelin Galathynius didn’t need anyone to fight her battles for her. She was fully capable of taking revenge on her own and fighting for those she cared about. With every book she grew stronger and stronger; but most importantly, she also struggled – physically, mentally, and emotionally, which is why I believe she is such a badass female lead. And Aelin wasn’t the only one within the series either! There was an array of strength depicted within various female characters, something I took inspiration from when coming up with my own characters for my own book.

A Promise of Fire

By Amanda Bouchet,

Book cover of A Promise of Fire

Why this book?

Cat, or Catalia Fisa, is a badass character from page one. She’s a fighter, and with good reason. Coming from a traumatic family life, Cat draws her strength from the fears she felt throughout her youth. Not only that, but she’s painfully aware of her many physical and emotional flaws. I think it says a lot about a character who knows they have faults that need to be dealt with, faults that prevent them from developing healthy relationships or putting their safety first at times. Throughout The Kingmaker Chronicles, Cat sacrifices herself repeatedly for the people she loves, a trait that every lead should have (to some extent anyway).


By Robert Jackson Bennett,

Book cover of Foundryside

Why this book?

A lone thief, Sancia Grado is great at what she does. To be a skillful thief within the environment portrayed in Foundryside is something amazing in and of itself. This trilogy is heavy with corrupt politics, an unsavoury history, and a fascinating magic system, one that impacts Sancia in more ways than she ever imagined. But she handles them well, and it’s great to see her embrace a leadership role as the story progresses.


By Alexandra Bracken,

Book cover of Lore

Why this book?

For one thing, this Greek mythology fantasy begins with our main character, Lore, beating up someone during an underground boxing match. How much more badass can you get? Throughout the standalone YA novel, Lore tries to navigate a deadly game of the Gods and the constant deceit of those closest to her. But she keeps going, no matter the sacrifices she must make. This is a great story about strength and putting others before yourself for the greater good.

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