Empowering Female Characters in Fantasy by Malina Douglas – Guest Post

Empowering Female Characters in Fantasy by Malina Douglas – Guest Post

Today we welcome author Malina Douglas to Whispering Stories with her guest post ‘Four Bright Flames: Empowering Female Characters in Fantasy‘. Check out her post below and her book Red Panda Warrior, Jade Mountain. This post contains affiliate links.

Malina Douglas Empowering Female Characters in Fantasy

Malina Douglas weaves stories that fuse the fantastic and the real. She was a finalist in the Blackwater Press Contest and received an Honourable Mention from the Writers of the Future Contest. Her publications include Cast of Wonders, Wyldblood, Sanitarium IV, Diet Milk, The Theatre Phantasmagoria, and Parabnormal. Anthologies include Out of the Darkness by Wolfsinger Publications, From the Yonder IV, Because That’s Where Your Heart Is, The Monsters We Forgot Vol. II, and Gothic Blue Books Vol 6: A Krampus Carol. She is the author of Red Panda Warrior, Jade Mountain and curated the anthology Winter Enchantment.

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Four Bright Flames: Empowering Female Characters in Fantasy

There are plenty of strong women in fantasy, but how many characters would you look up to as a role model? These female characters don’t always start out strong, but set empowering examples as they transform.

Vasilisa, The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Vasilisa has always been different. She has inherited her mother’s power while her brothers and sisters have not, and can see and speak with the creatures and spirits that the rest of her village has forgotten, such as the domovoi in the hearth, the bannik in the bathhouse and the rusalka who climbs trees above the river. In her world of medieval Russia, there are only two choices for women: to marry or become a nun. When her stepmother tries to marry her off, Vasilisa pushes back, embarking on her own adventure to stop sinister forces afoot in her village.

I’ve read the first two books of this trilogy and it’s great to watch Vasilisa grow from one book to the next. Her spunky independent spirit is truly endearing. She jumps like a frog, rides horses with agility and has a sensitivity like no one else.

-Why she’s empowering: Though she’s a misfit in her family, her love for her father and siblings is fierce. It’s thrilling to watch her grow up and assert her will.

January, The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

January grows up sheltered in the opulent house of her guardian Cornelius Locke, surrounded by artifacts her father has brought back from his travels. Curiosity drives her to seek answers about her parents. Refusing to remain silent and well-behaved, she struggles against Locke’s authority. Though at first she feels like she doesn’t fit in, seeking doors to other worlds fuels her adventurous spirit and pushes her to grow into her strength. This book reminds us to be curious and stubborn and keep striving for truth–no matter how outrageous it seems.

-Why she’s empowering: She’s strong-spirited and does what she believes is right, even when it gets her in trouble.

Henrietta Howel, A Shdow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

Henrietta Howel hides her power to light fire from her hands, but must learn to control it as she begins training in sorcery. As Henrietta struggles, she understands that her power is connected to her emotions, but keeping her fiery emotions in check is another matter. Set in an alternate Victorian Britain plagued by monsters, Henrietta’s courage shines as she fights to protect her friends and homeland.

-Why she’s empowering: Not only is she independent, she’s fiercely loyal to her best friend, and risks her life to protect him.

Xiu from my book, Red Panda Warrior, Jade Mountain

Xiu is clumsy and unsure of herself. When presented with her destiny, she refuses to believe it, but through training she grows as she seeks to discover her talent. While Xiu struggles, Qiao glides through every subject with effortless grace. Xiu grows jealous, but must overcome her jealousy and face her fears as she rides into battle. As she gets to know the five other women she trains with, unique personalities and talents emerge. Xiu will discover the power of friendship–as well as the pain.

-Why she’s empowering: Watching Xiu change from clumsy to confident, find her courage and learn to believe in herself is a transformation that will inspire you.

Red Panda Warrior Jade Mountain by Malina Douglas

Red Panda Warrior, Jade Mountain

Author – Malina Douglas
Publisher – Iridescent Words
Pages – 87
Release Date – 25th October 2021
Format – ebook

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Tang Dynasty, China, 637 AD. When dragons were revered and some women became warriors…

Xiu has never left her village and can barely make dumplings, yet she finds herself in a secret training academy on the slopes of the Jade Mountain. She has no idea what she is in for, but the journey will change her completely. When Xiu’s teacher reveals her destiny carved in bone, she refuses to believe it. Put through rigorous training, Xiu must become a warrior, but her movements are clumsy and she is plagued by self-doubt.

Each of the five girls training with her develops a unique talent, but Xiu remains searching for hers. While Xiu flounders, Qiao seems to do everything with effortless grace. Xiu’s jealousy grows until she is propelled to act in a way she will later regret. Though she is not sure how, the red panda holds the key to developing her skills as a warrior.

As an army amasses to invade the Imperial city of Chang’An, Xiu and her elite corps of women warriors must ride into battle. Xiu will have to overcome her jealousy, face her fears and discover her unique strengths, or her enemy will bring the mighty Tang Dynasty to ruin.

How will Xiu uncover her talents? What role does the legend of the Azure Dragon have to play? Embark on a journey of adventure and transformation.

For readers who enjoyed the blend of legend and fantasy in The Celestial Kingdom Duology by Sue Lynn Tan and the historical adventure in Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin. Suitable for both Adult and Young Adult audiences.

An empowering story of friendship and courage in a lush historical setting with a splash of the speculative.

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