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Sarah A. Parker on Her Top Strong Female Leads

Posted on 11th June 2024 by Mark Skinner

With its irresistible story of dragon riders, assassins and forbidden love, Sarah A. Parker's When the Moon Hatched is shaping up to be one of the biggest romantasy novels of the year. In this exclusive piece, the author explains why she loves strong female characters so much and selects some of her very favourites. 

I’m Sarah A. Parker, author of When the Moon Hatched—the first book in my Moonfall Series—a new fantasy romance that takes place in a rich world full of dragons and unique creatures, the story itself centred around resilience, grief, and the eternal power of love.

First things first, I love strong female leads. I find them endearing, inspiring, and thought provoking. As some of you may know, the FMC in my own story is a strong female protagonist with quick wit and a dark past, and writing her has been an incredible journey that has challenged me in the most surprising ways. 

On that note, I’m here to tell you about five other stories with strong female leads! 

Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas 

I can’t make a list about my favourite strong female protagonists without giving a nod to Celaena Sardothien—the main protagonist in Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series. I read this story almost seven years ago, yet Celaena is such a force to be reckoned with, I doubt she'll ever shake from my soul. 

Celaena is a renowned assassin with a dark past. Another great multifaceted character, embodying both strength and vulnerability. Her journey from slave of the salt mines to queen is a bold testament to her resilience and growth throughout the series. The story as a whole is an ode to the power of self-discovery and the relentless pursuit of one’s destiny, pierced in place by Celaena’s fiery spirit. I could re-read this series over and over and never grow sick of it. 

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A modern classic of YA literature and the start of the mega-selling series of the same name, Maas' stellar fantasy debut introduces Celaena Sardothien and the deafly contest she must win to secure her freedom.
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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 

No discussion of strong female protagonists is complete without Elizabeth Bennet—a timeless heroine, embodying intelligence, wit, and an unwavering sense of self. In a society that places heavy pressure on women to conform, Elizabeth shines for her refusal to compromise on her principles, her strength subtle yet so profound. An enduring icon for women past and present, and forever a favourite of mine.  

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Impeccably crafted in flawless prose, the delightfully witty courtship of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy is brimming with Austen's characteristic playfulness and comic irony.
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 

It’s fair to say this story set my heart on fire. Katniss is a blaze of courage, hope, compassion and resistance in a cruel dystopian world, her journey from resourceful to the symbol of a revolution both harrowing and inspiring. Her resilience and fierce loyalty to those less capable help define her as a powerful force against oppressive regimes. 

In my opinion, Katniss is one of the most iconic heroines in contemporary literature.

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With stark, profound things to say about media exploitation and teen disaffection, Suzanne Collins’ now-iconic YA work is a hard-edged, relentlessly thrilling triumph that continues to hold readers entranced.
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The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning 

This gripping urban fantasy had me burning through the pages so fast I barely slept for a week. The story follows MacKayla Lane, a young woman thrust into a hidden world of Fae and dark magic. MacKayla (Mac for short) begins her journey searching Dublin for her sister’s murderer, but soon becomes entangled in a battle between humans and Fae, learning that there is so much more to the world. 

Mac goes on an incredible evolution from a naive, carefree girl into a strong, formidable warrior with the ability to cut down any opponent, but her strength lies not just in her newfound abilities. It’s in her mental fortitude and the way she battles through her trauma one messy bite at a time. I find her resilience and tenacity incredibly inspiring. 

While we’re here, I can’t talk about the Fever Series without talking about Dani—our young mid-series protagonist (High Voltage) with the power to move faster than sound, not to mention her incredible physical strength. I’ve never met a character quite like her before. 

What I love about Dani is her wildcard nature, her lust for life, and her fierce independence. Then she goes through an age jump, and we get to see this vibrant young teenager grow into a fierce, hardened adult so multifaceted she couldn't help but leave a mark on my soul. We learn that there’s so much more to her past than we thought, and although pulling back those layers is painful to endure, it casts an endearing beacon on Dani’s psychological fortitude. 

To me, Mac and Dani are both strong, standout heroines in the realm of fantasy fiction, and I will forever shout their names!  

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A compelling dark fantasy set in an Ireland with paranormal connotations, Darkfever finds MacKayla Lane drawn into the realm of the Fae whilst investigating her sister's murder.
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Sea of Ruin by Pam Godwin 

One of my all time favourites, and a standalone for anyone who wants a smaller read to sink their teeth into. Bennett Sharp is our protagonist—a fierce pirate captain navigating a male-dominated livelihood and the treacherous waters of the 18th century, all the while running from her past. Bennett is both ruthless and compassionate, not to mention her unwavering resolve to protect the ones she loves. When you pair that with her fiery spirit, quick wit, and fierce independence … well. Needless to say she’s wedged in my heart. 

Sea of Ruin left me pinched between the pages after I finished reading the final page, and I have no intention of ever wriggling free. 

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A sizzling love triangle on the high seas, Godwin's swoonsome romantasy pitches a female pirate on the run into the arms of both a dangerous libertine and a cold-hearted hunter.
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