The best books with girls and dragons, or girl dragons

Who am I?

I grew up reading and re-reading Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But it always bothered me that there weren’t many girls or women in those books—and most of those that did appear were pretty, perfect, and—well—kind of boring. In college, I studied literature, myths, and fairytales and found that most of the female characters in those stories didn’t reflect women I wanted to be or know, either. So, I wrote my own high fantasy novel and continue to seek out great fantasy, sci-fi, and fairytale-inspired literature featuring strong female characters that are dragons on the inside—and sometimes on the outside, too. 


I wrote...

Dragon's Truth

By Leanne M. Pankuch,

Book cover of Dragon's Truth

What is my book about?

A fast-paced tween/YA high fantasy adventure with a strong female main character, Dragon's Truth captures the spirit of Tamora Pierce's Alanna and a setting that evokes a mash-up of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones.

Fourteen-year-old Rhyan dreams of dragons, wizards, and magic but feels constrained by her ordinary life and overshadowed by her older sister Elspeth. When Elspeth is kidnapped, Rhyan embarks on a journey to save her sister and face the evil threatening their world. She finds friendship—and the magic and power she's been craving but also begins to sense a growing darkness within herself. In order to save Elspeth, Rhyan must embrace the truth of who she really is and harness the dragon’s deadly power.

The books I picked & why

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Dragonsong

By Anne McCaffrey,

Book cover of Dragonsong

Why this book?

Dragonsong is the science fantasy story of an isolated teenage girl who runs away from home when forbidden to pursue her passion for music. She stumbles on a nest of fire lizards—the legendary ancestors of the dragons that keep her world safe—and must stop hiding her identity and use her gifts to aid the dragonriders in their crucial mission. 

This book has the SF/F holy trinity of great plot, characters, and world-building—but what really hooked me was the multi-dimensional female main character that I connected to immediately. I’m a musician and creative thinker, too, so I could see myself in Menolly. This book is for anyone who has ever been told to hide part of who they are—and anyone who loves dragons, of course.

Dragonsong

By Anne McCaffrey,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Dragonsong as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Let Anne McCaffrey, storyteller extraordinare and New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author, take you on a journey to a whole new world: Pern. A world of dragons and other worldly forces; a world of mighty power and ominous threat.. If you like David Eddings, Brandon Sanderson and Douglas Adams, you will love this.

"Anne McCaffrey, one of the queens of science fiction, knows exactly how to give her public what it wants" - THE TIMES
"Do yourself a favour and read ANYTHING by this Author, you won't be sorry" -- ***** Reader review
"A real page turner" --…


The Priory of the Orange Tree

By Samantha Shannon,

Book cover of The Priory of the Orange Tree

Why this book?

The plot of Priory of the Orange Tree centers on the return of an ancient dragon villain known as The Nameless One. Multiple factions in the West—where politics rules and dragons and magic are forbidden—must come together with those in the East—where scholars abound, and water dragons are worshipped—to defeat The Nameless One. 

Priory of the Orange Tree is one of the best epic fantasies I’ve read in the past few years. The unique world-building is extensive, the story is twisty, and the female characters are diverse, strong, and dynamic. The chosen one aspect can be tiresome, but in this tale, it definitely works. Best of all, dragons are an integral part of the narrative—not just mindless beasts or weapons used to melt enemies.

The Priory of the Orange Tree

By Samantha Shannon,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Priory of the Orange Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Hero and the Crown

By Robin McKinley,

Book cover of The Hero and the Crown

Why this book?

This is a beautifully written YA fantasy that has the flavor of a traditional epic—like the Lord of the Rings—but also brings us intimately close to its characters, their individual cares, and their unique world. The story centers on Aerin, the king’s daughter, and her journey from being an outcast at her father’s court to becoming a hero in her own right—at the expense of a dragon, unfortunately. 

The Hero and the Crown is often praised as an example of classic feminist fantasy. It was one of the first stories I encountered where the goal of the female main character wasn’t to be rescued or married. But in my opinion, it’s McKinley’s lyrical and compelling prose and fantastic world-building that truly makes this a not-to-be-missed read.

The Hero and the Crown

By Robin McKinley,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Hero and the Crown as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

By Catherynne M. Valente, Ana Juan (illustrator),

Book cover of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Why this book?

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (TGWCFinaSoHOM) is the story of a girl named September who is invited (enticed/stolen away) to Fairyland and ends up setting out on a quest to steal back a spoon for some friendly witches. Sounds cute, right? This book is anything but.

Categorized as tween/younger YA fantasy, TGWCFinaSoHOM is a modern take on Victorian fairytales, filled with darkness, dragons (wyverns, actually), off-kilter sentient beings/objects (á la Alice in Wonderland), and some fairly mature themes. It’s simultaneously complicated, ridiculous, wonderful, and the stuff of nightmares—picture something like the 1985 dark fantasy movie, Return to Oz. The twists and layers of TGWCFinaSoHOM kept me constantly guessing—and turning pages. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

By Catherynne M. Valente, Ana Juan (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Shatter the Sky

By Rebecca Kim Wells,

Book cover of Shatter the Sky

Why this book?

Shatter the Sky is a quick-read YA high fantasy. It’s the story of Maren, who wants to live an ordinary life with her girlfriend, Kaia. When Kaia is kidnapped, Maren decides to apprentice herself to the Aromatory—the emperor’s mysterious dragon tamer—as a first step in her rescue plan. 

Shatter the Sky features a number of diverse characters and a sapphic romance and has been highly praised for breaking ground in the YA fantasy realm. I particularly enjoyed the Aromatory, the new take on dragons, and a main character who begins by viewing herself as unimportant but progresses to accepting her power and recognizing her value. Maren’s story continues—with ramped-up stakes, more dragons, and a complicated political plot in the meatier second book in this duology—Storm the Earth.

Shatter the Sky

By Rebecca Kim Wells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shatter the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dragons, bisexuality, and lizards?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dragons, bisexuality, and lizards.

Dragons Explore 118 books about dragons
Bisexuality Explore 27 books about bisexuality
Lizards Explore 12 books about lizards

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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