Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Urban Fantasy Heroines

So as we covered the more cliched stuff yesterday - what makes a good UF heroine?

Obviously it's different things for different readers, but three of my favourites are Mercy Thompson (Patricia Briggs), Kate Daniels (Ilona Andrews) and Elena Danvers (Kelley Armstrong).

A good Urban Fantasy heroine:-

1) - Is not a Mary Sue. If she gets attacked by five ninja vampires she's either going to:-

a) - run away
b) - know this is going to hurt a lot and end with her getting caught
c) - assume she's going to die, and go down fighting

She is not going to kill them all with her mad fighting skills. I think it was mentioned there are FIVE of them and they are VAMPIRE NINJAS!

2) - Is not too proud that she won't hide underneath a car when chased by a psychopath into a parking lot (Bitten by Kelley Armstrong). Come to that, if she's being chased by a psychopath anywhere. That's not to say her pride won't get her into other trouble.

3) - Doesn't wait for the hero to get her out of said trouble, though that doesn't mean she's not grateful when he does. She might not tell him after all...

4) - ...she knows that sometimes her UF hero is going to behave like an ass. (Lol I was going to use the word 'accepts' here instead of 'knows' but figure that's too strong). Sometimes he behaves like an ass because he's gone into overprotective alpha mode. Sometimes he's just being an ass. Eventually she'll learn to tell the difference.

5) - Makes mistakes. (See #1 - not a Mary Sue). Sometimes these mistakes can be fixed with an apology. Sometimes they can't. She does acknowledge these mistakes even if it's only to herself. Her mistakes sometimes come with a high price. She doesn't get away with not paying that price just because she's the heroine.

6) - She and the UF hero will eventually learn to TALK to one another, though this may take three or four books and half the fun is watching them stumble over various misunderstandings on the way. Initially the trust between them may be fragile and easily broken. After all (see #3) sometimes he's an ass.


Jenre said...

What a great list, Lesley.

I love Elena Danvers. She's such an interesting character. I also like Jaz Parkes from the books by Jennifer Rardin. She has all the qualities you have listed here too.

JenB said...

I really like #4, and I think the ability to discern the difference between the hero's alpha protective behavior and alpha asshole behavior (and then react accordingly) is part of what separates a Mary Sue from a true heroine.

"I won't help you until you back down and answer some questions for me" is waaaay different from "I'm gonna run off on my own and risk my life 'cause you're not the boss of me."

LesleyW said...

Jenre - Thanks. I love the Jaz and Vayl books. Read the first two and think I've got the next two on my TBR pile.

LesleyW said...

JenB - that's it exactly! And I think this is one of the things that helps me separate the UF books that go onto my keeper shelf and the ones that don't.

DonnaB said...

Mary Sue, Mary Sue, let me think. Oh, yes, I know one of those! {eg}

Another thing about Mary Sues -- EVERY man they meet WANTS them badly.

And all the best heroes are asses at some point. It's how we know they're male!

Tracy said...

Elena Danvers is one of my fav UF heroines. I just love her and remember her hiding under the car.

She knows he's an ass....perfect, just perfect. lol

LesleyW said...

Donna - lol yep I think that's a rule as well, the hero has to be an ass at some point.

Tracy - it doesn't matter how many times I read that scene, I'm never completely convinced she's going to get away.

Shannon said...

What a great list! You hit it spot on, the best qualities of UF heroines. I love how they can be strong independent ass kickers, yet flawed and in need of others.

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