Gender in fantasy – and women’s evolving role – is a tricky but interesting subject. Things have come a long way from heroes in epic fantasies rescuing the princess.
Except, have they..?
In urban fantasy, there’s a divide between the human woman being controlled and ultimately sacrificing everything – even her life – for the paranormal male.
This was explored in my most recent panel on Twilight. There’s a reason my human woman chooses to grow old, rather than be elected into Blood Life in Rebel Vampires.
I’ve always wondered why stories focused on vampire males’ obsessions with teenagers…and never followed their lifelong – adult – loves.
It may be partly because an increasing number of paranormal books are Young Adult, so must have young protagonists.
The other side to urban fantasy..? The kick-ass heroine (look at the covers of the top 20 urban fantasy books). This in itself is a stereotype, especially when they don’t have equality but dominance over men.
In Rebel Vampires I write from the British male vampire’s perspective. This meant I could write powerful women into the book but avoid the ‘kick-ass’…
Kathy is human but she’s never controlled by Light. She’s his equal and although he saves the world, she saves him.
Ruby is Light’s ‘red-haired devil, Author, muse, liberator, guide: my gorgeous nightmare.’ His Elizabethan Author, she’s savage, powerful and offers an all-consuming love.
This reading by K Kantis is taken from Blood Dragons. It’s a rare moment of vulnerability, when Ruby for the first time tells Light about her human life: the fear she has of being ‘caged‘ again, ironically means she cages all men, even though she’s desperate to set Light free.
Escape into Blood Life here…
What do you think about women in fantasy? What books have the most interesting female characters?