The fantasy literary genre has no shortage of female authors. However, they’re still a lot less than male authors and are not as popular as them. Only a few, like J.K. Rowling, is famous around the world.
To begin shining the light on them, we’re listing down three of the best fantasy novels from female authors.
Three of the Best Fantasy Novels Written by Female Authors
Ursula Le Guin is one of the greatest fantasy authors. Famous authors such as J.K. Rowling, Margaret Atwood, and Salman Rushdie count her as one of their influences. Wizard of Earthsea, the first novel in her Earthsea series is one of the most compelling works of fiction. It chronicles the adventures of Duny, a young boy born with magical powers. He then learns to harness them at a young age with the help of his aunt. The powerful mage Ogion notices him after he uses spells to help drive off raiders from their village, and takes him under his wing. This wonderful tale of discovery and friendship won the won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1969 and 1973, respectively.
Patricia McKillip’s The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a fantasy opus that combines real-world struggles of females with high fantasy adventures sure to excite you. Its teenage protagonist Sybel lives with magical beasts. Suddenly, she becomes a mother after Coren of Sirle leaves the baby boy Tamlorn under her care. Then together with the witch Maelga, she raises the child as her own. Coren comes back for Tamlorn after more than a decade, prompting Sybel to unleash the fighter – and lover in her. The narrative explores the nurturing and romantic side of female fantasy heroines while retaining her fearless nature. This classic won the World Fantasy Award back in 1975.
Ellen Kushner’s award-winning novel’s title gives away what it’s all about: masculine privilege. The story follows Katherine, who travels from the countryside to live with her uncle, the Mad Duke of Riverside. The city reeks of misogynism, where men control the lives of women. This encourages her to take up training and become a swordsman, even if it’s a source of ridicule for her uncle. The novel cleverly deals with the struggles effeminate humans have with a society that favors toxic masculinity.