“Comparing lead female characters in books v2”

Updated: Aug 24

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All three of these selections star a female lead who is destined for greatness beyond her beginnings. One is a humble penitent thrown into leadership and two are born from nothing with no prospects who make changes for themselves and have change thrust upon them by outside forces. Delightfully different from each other, each is exquisitely detailed.

Daughter of the Empire

Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts, 1988



The influences of other cultures on the world building accomplished here are beautiful – robes, sigils, drums, rituals, solemn vows. Connected to the Riftwar series (tangentially), the world of Kelewan introduces warriors, sages, tricksters, spies, shrewd negotiators, and foreign species (in the shape of giant ants). When you complete the reading of this first novel, do consider moving further into Mara of the Acoma’s next story, Servant of the Empire, and eventually finish up the trilogy with Mistress of the Empire. Fantasy, politics, action, deceit, and a wonderful level of descriptions help make this work a favorite of mine. Truly, Mara is an intimidating foe.

Personal extra:

Special effects technology is finally at the point where a movie translation of this work might actually appeal. Mmmm, the sublime richness of the colors, the landscapes and vistas, the caverns underground… oh, I WISH this were a movie.

Memoirs of a Geisha

Arthur Golden, 1997



The young character followed along her life’s journey of growing up and establishing her happiness in this work sees everything from dirt-poor fisherman’s village to entertaining royalty as a geisha. The convoluted path she takes meets with several important characters along the way – not the least of which is the Chairman, a man she runs into quite accidentally but who encourages her when no one else would. She takes it as a sign that she will prepare her life to include him one day and works to that purpose.