Book Reviews





Christopher Golden's Top Ten Kick-ass Female Characters

Today's post is a wonderful guest blog from Christopher Golden - previously of Buffy novel fame and now co-author of new (and brilliant) graphic novel, Cemetery Girl, alongside Sookie Stackhouse creator, Charlaine Harris. Be sure to take a look at the graphic novel here: Cemetery Girl

Over to Christopher...!

My Top Ten Kickass (Fictional) Women
By Christopher Golden

I’m a lover of lists, but I’m also fickle, so I acknowledge right up front that if you’d asked me for this list yesterday, or if I were writing it tomorrow, it might be different. Also, I’ve cheated a bit. You’ll see what I mean when I get to #1.

I should add that it’s only a bit of embarrassment that’s kept me from including Jenna Blake, the star of my own Body of Evidence series, on this list. I wrote ten novels featuring Jenna (including five I co-wrote with Rick Hautala), and I still adore her. And, of course, if I could include Calexa Rose Dunhill, the central figure in Cemetery Girl, my new graphic novel with Charlaine Harris and Don Kramer, I absolutely would.

Now, without further ado…

10) Brienne of Tarth: Anyone who’s read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series or watched HBO’s Game of Thrones knows the honor, dignity, and brutal badassery of Brienne of Tarth. If I needed a bodyguard, you can be damn sure she’d be tops on my list.

9) Sarah Connor: The Sarah Connor in Terminator 2 may be the second baddest Mama Bear in pop culture history, but her arc in the first Terminator is even more interesting. How many of us could rise from our ordinary lives and concerns to survive an attack by a robot assassin from the future, and go on to lay the groundwork for humanity’s survival?

8) Sookie Stackhouse: Though she has impeccable manners and tries desperately to be polite, telepathic waitress Sookie kicks all kinds of ass when she needs to. She’s a better friend than most of her pals deserve, and usually the only one around with any common sense. I’ve read all thirteen of Charlaine Harris’s “Southern Vampire” novels and wanted to cheer at the end when Sookie makes the absolute best decision—and the one that sets the best example. Readers who groused confound me. Sookie’s most appealing characteristic was always that she’s her own woman, and she’s not going to betray herself just to please others. She shares that trait with her creator. Bravo to them both.

7) Katniss Everdeen: I’m not a fan of the Katniss we see in Mockingjay, but the first two Hunger Games novels are terrific. Katniss is fiercely loyal, determined, and thinks on her feet better than anyone. My daughter is a huge fan of the novels, and of Jennifer Lawrence, who portrays Katniss in the film versions…but I read ‘em first.

6) Angie Gennaro: My favorite women are always those who don’t suffer the presence of fools. (My wife is Sicilian—she barely puts up with me.) Angie Gennaro is one of the two main characters in Dennis Lehane’s genre-best mystery novel series, which includes Gone Baby Gone and Darkness, Take My Hand. If you haven’t read them, do yourself the favor and start with the first, A Drink Before the War. Go buy it now. I’ll wait.

5) Ellen Ripley: If I have to explain to you why Ripley’s on this list, I just don’t think we can be friends. Sigourney Weaver’s portrayal of the Nostromo’s Warrant Officer paved the way for Sarah Connor, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and so many other kickass women. The part was originally written for a male actor, but director Ridley Scott’s casting of Weaver broke the mold on smart action heroes.

4) Kathy Mallory: The brilliant main character of Carol O’Connell’s Mallory series—which begins with Mallory’s Oracle—is a sociopath. Adopted by a police detective and his wife, she only understands “right” and “wrong” in terms of whether or not they would approve of her behavior, and what she could sneak past them. The trouble is…she’s a detective as well. A character full of pain and contradiction, and someone you do not want to irritate. Ever.

3) Buffy Summers: Joss Whedon has created some of the best female characters in fiction, especially the women of Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But it’s the original—Buffy herself—who earns the highest marks. A high school girl chosen by the mysterious Powers That Be to fight vampires and the world’s darkness…a girl who leads, with male characters following her without hesitation. Buffy created an example, a paradigm, that has been endlessly imitated but never bettered.

2) Hermione Granger: J.K. Rowling’s seven novels about the students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry each have a title beginning with the name Harry Potter, and sure, I like Harry well enough. Ron, too. But they’d have never survived the first book without the intrepid Miss Granger. Brilliant and wise, the sharp-tongued Muggle-born witch is by far the best character in the series. Argue all you like—it’s my list. If Rowling were ever to write another novel set in that world, I’d hope for it to begin with the words Hermione Granger and the…

1) All of Terry Moore’s Women: Whether you normally read comics or not, you really ought to read the work of Terry Moore. From his current horror series, Rachel Rising, to his sci-fi actioner, Echo, he is not only one of the most talented writer-artists working in comics…he’s also the creator of some of the most three-dimensional kickass women in pop culture. His signature series, Strangers in Paradise—about political, criminal, and romantic intrigue surrounding a FFM love triangle—is my absolute favorite modern comic book series, and it should be yours, too. Katchoo & Francine Forever!

Thanks Christopher! Don't forget that Cemetery Girl is OUT NOW


  1. Yes, yes, yes. Brilliant guest post, I love it.
    Ellen Ripley is possibly one of my favourite badassery and all round 'hell yeah' women, utterly love Alien. And where would we be in life without Buffy or Hermione?
    Gosh their needs to be more posts like these and general kickass women in life.
    Where do we sign up for training?

  2. *joins the sign-up queue* :D I love all the great women on this list, it's a shame it's only a top ten and not a top 100! x