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Tim Wildsmith
Culture > Entertainment

Top 3 Books Saga Recommendations With Empowering Female Characters

Updated Published
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

March is Women’s History Month, the time where we recognize the women that have been important, fundamental, or relevant pieces for a group of people or an entire country throughout history. Even if March is technically over, that doesn’t mean that our celebration of women around the world has to be. So, for this article, I would like to take these recognitions a little further. Not only do I want to investigate those women in history that we all know or should know, but I’d also like to give a small recognition to those characters that we readers recognize as an example of representation in the stories we’ve read.

These women constantly stand out for different reasons, and to talk about them, I will be recommending sagas with strong female protagonists that, through their books, show growth and memorable character development.

Throne of Glass

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Sarah J. Maas is one of the most recognized authors when it comes to fantasy sagas. She stands out in many aspects, such as her incredible imagination to maintain a good and entertaining narrative through each book of her various sagas. What I’ve come to highlight though, is her ability to create empowered, leading, and independent female protagonists in each of them. Although she’s an expert on telling stories and presenting situations that hadn’t been thought of before, Sarah J. Mass focuses most of her attention on her female protagonists.

In this case, the Throne of Glass saga belongs to what its readers call the Sarah J. Maas Universe. This world spans across three different series (two of those completed and a third that’s still ongoing) that will culminate in a reunion between all the characters where their respective protagonists must work together.

Throne of Glass is the one that should be read first, in my opinion. The series consists of seven books. However, there are also two extra stories, although only the prequel is considered canonical at the time of starting the saga since the other one is a parallel story. Our protagonist is named Celaena Sardothien, she is considered the best assassin in the kingdom. From the beginning, the book also portrays just how human she is since we also see her fail and make mistakes from time to time. This realism makes it more rewarding to see her achieve her subsequent victories and her evolution as the saga progresses.

The length of the series is an advantage because, although its narrative arc is quite complete, it shows that the end of a book does not mean that the story has ended, reinforced by the integration and development of the different characters. The reality is that each book presents us with more uncertainties, doubts, and mysteries to resolve that we had not even considered.

Celaena Sardothien begins her journey when she’s hired to represent the prince in a tournament to the death against other dangerous assassins and mercenaries. This being her only opportunity to free herself from her life sentence, the young 18-year-old murderer accepts the prince’s job, not knowing that it will be the beginning of an adventure that will span years.

Little Women

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This saga, on the other hand, leaves fantasy aside to show us what it’s like to be a woman from a more raw and realistic point of view. The Little Women series is made up of four books. Luisa May Alcott based the events of this story on her childhood experiences growing up in Massachusetts during the Civil War in the United States. On this occasion, unlike the previously recommended saga, there are four protagonists who, with their courage and determination, represent some examples of empowered women.

The author didn’t plan to make Little Women the first of a series, but its marked success and the reader’s love paved the way for three more books, concluding with the fourth and final installment, Jo’s Boys and How They Turned Out. During these four books, we see how these four sisters named Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, grow and develop in different ways. We see them go from girls to teenagers to adult women.

The story of these sisters and the way in which they overcome the different adversities that life presents them can also be appreciated on the big screen. Multiple movies have been made about this famous story, but the most recent one, made in 2019 and directed by Greta Gerwig, stars well-known actresses such as Emma Watson (Harry Potter Series, 2001-2011), Florence Pugh (Black Widow, 2021), and actors such as Timothy Chalamet (Dune: Part 1, 2021)

Millennium Saga

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As a last recommendation, I’d like to present the Millennium saga. This series of Swedish crime novels was created by Stieg Larsson. The curious thing about this saga is the moment in which they were published and everything that went behind it. Larsson initially planned to write a series of 10 books, but he only managed to write the first three because he died of a heart attack in 2004. These first three parts were only published after his death. 

It was not until 2010 that a publisher hired David Lagercrantz to continue writing the other parts of the saga. However, he did not use any of the drafts that the original author left as a reference.

In these books we are told the story of Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist, and Lisbeth Salandera hacker who has a photographic memory. Although Lisbeth Salander is a woman who has suffered and gone through countless difficult times throughout her life, she shows us readers that it is possible to get out of even the deepest hole if we have determination and resilience. A protagonist who is her own superhero and who makes it clear any time she can that she doesn’t need anyone to fight her battles.

Something else that this saga has in common with the previous one, aside from its powerful female protagonist, is that it was also brought to the big screen. Both Swedish and American production companies were responsible for making this a reality at different times in recent years. Although there is a trilogy of films that was released in 2009, these were also adapted into a miniseries in 2010. On the other hand, in the United States, a film was released in 2011 and its sequel did not arrive until the end of 2018.

Without a doubt, there are many more sagas and standalone books that we can enjoy if we are looking for a protagonist that’s empowered and strong, someone who’s not afraid to fight for what is right and for what she believes in.

Jettif M. Verdejo Rodríguez is a writer at Her Campus at the University of Puerto Rico at the Río Piedras chapter. She oversees the life, career, entertainment, book reviews that include many genres like mystery, romance, and fiction. Beyond Her Campus, Jettif works as a Youth Group Facilitator in the Boys and Girls Club in her community. Currently, she is an undergraduate student majoring in English Education for Second Language Learners (ESL) in the elementary level. In her free time, Jettif enjoys listening to music, reading books and make creative writing. She loves everything related to Star Wars, Marvel and romantic tv shows.