|Image from author's website|
I think young women are playing a totally kick-ass role in dystopians today and I am absolutely thrilled to see that this is so. I’m sure this is helped along by the fact that so many strong, wonderful women are writing dystopian novels right now, so of course they are creating strong characters of both sexes who meet challenges instead of shrink from them. But I also think that the female, dystopian heroine is simply, finally, having her day. We’ve read/seen dystopians with male heroes (Anthem, Brave New World, 1984, Star Wars) for decades and while I love them, I do think it’s kind of fun to see things from an alternate perspective, as well. With that in mind, I thought I’d make a list of my favorite female dystopian heroines of the last few years, and see what you guys thought of it
- Katniss from the Hunger Games—This, I’m sure, is no surprise to anyone. Here’s a girl who has never aspired to be a revolutionary, never aspired to do anything more than keep her family safe, who somehow manages to survive the most dangerous competition on earth. And, not only to survive, but to somehow find love in the midst of a society gone terribly, terribly awry. Though I’m a Gale fan, I still admire everything Katniss is able to do, as well as her ability to see that the new government was leading them right back down the same path that was taken by the government she’d worked so hard to bring down.
- Saba from Blood Red Road—Like Katniss, Saba isn’t your typical YA female character, but I fell in love with her in the first chapters of the book. She, too, never meant to be a hero. She sets off to find her twin brother, who was kidnapped right in front of her, and along the way she learns a lot of truly terrible things about the world in which she lives. And while she doesn’t deliberately set out to change them—her quest is to find her brother—she can’t overlook the bad that’s happening and changes things anyway. She’s strong and smart and, like Katniss, above all a survivor in a world that could so easily crush her.
- Beatrice from Divergent—I, like a lot of others, love Beatrice. She’s brave and smart and strong and insecure and scared and determined all at the same time. What’s not to like? But seriously, she’s a really interesting character, one who—like the others—does what has to be done no matter the personal cost. That’s a thing in my mind, the ability to set self aside in order to do what’s right, even if it means you end up dying .
I love these three heroines and think they are exceptionally strong, well-written characters and I really enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) reading about them. But when I wrote Pandora, my main character in Doomed, I wanted to do something a little different. I wanted there to be nothing textraordinary about her at the beginning of the book—I wanted her to be just a regular girl who is thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Katniss was always incredible with a bow and already knew how to survive in bleak circumstances. Beatrice was Divergent. Saba was incredibly strong. But what would happen if a girl who really was just completely ordinary, who lived in the world we live in today, ends up thrust into a major quest to save the world as she knows it. Would she rise to the occasion? Would she falter? What mistakes would she make?
The great thing about women in Dystopian stories today is there is no one, right character. Authors have created all kinds of different worlds and all kinds of different heroines to live in these worlds. As a reader and a writer, I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Thanks again to Tracy for taking the time to post here! Here's where you can find her on the web:
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