The Fiercest of Females in Urban Fantasy

Posted September 9, 2019 by Kate

hello, lovelies! 

Today, we’re going to chat about Fierce Females in Urban Fantasy. Specifically, my favorite ones! I’ve compiled a list of 11 females in this genre, and it was actually much harder than I thought. Not because I was wanting for any, but to narrow it down! I tried to limit the number of times I could use a certain author… but that didn’t exactly work. It’s not my fault that Ilona Andrews dominates! this genre and is freaking amazing at it. What I finally had to do was limit one book per series. So although Nalini Singh and Ilona Andrews are equals (in my opinion), Nalini Singh’s couples come from the same two series, and Ilona Andrews spreads out the series love. It’s not fair, but that’s how we’re doing things.

This post is part of the Fierce Female Featurette, something that Ashley @ Falling Down the Book Hole put together after the success of Fierce Female February! Please check out her website or the designated twitter @fiercefemreads for more information and to stay up-to-date on the fun!

First, what is a Fierce Female?

This is a hard question to answer. The pioneers for me have always been from the Harry Potter series. It may sound silly, but they were the first hallmarks of what it means to be a fierce female for me. Look at Hermione Granger, Professor McGonagall, and Molly Weasley? They’re certainly caring and compassionate, and aren’t afraid to stand up for their beliefs. But they’re also complete badasses, without eschewing all the qualities that make them feminine.

Celaena Sardothien / Aelin Galathynius are also great examples of this. Celaena was a complete badass – is there anyone more badass than her? – but she also treasured beautiful clothes and was loyal to the bone for those she cared for. She is wild, independent and willful, but she’s undeniably her own person and kicks major ass. Not to say that Fierce Females have to be badasses, but everyone on this list finds a way to do what needs done, what’s necessary for them or their loved ones to survive. 

from Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

The Fiercest of Females in Urban FantasyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity #1, Psy-Changeling #16
Publisher: Berkley
Source: My shelves

Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that's exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater bears, brings with him.
Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence--her mind clear of all emotion--Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That's what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious...and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.
Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed...

Silver Silence was the first book that popped into my head when I decided to write this post. Now I don’t know if you’re familiar with Nalini Singh’s work at all… but it’s masterful. This is the sister-series to the very popular Psy-Changeling series, and dare I say that Singh has done even better this time. The book follows Silver Merchant, a woman deeply ingrained in Silence (a deconditioning program that the Psy, which one of the three races existing on the planet, put their children through to make them incapable of emotion or feeling). She is everything that is Fierce: successful, (eventually) compassionate, gentle, and super bad-fucking-ass. Watching her tussle with Valentin, the alpha of the StoneWater Bear Clan, was hilarious and made this book super fun. 

from Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

The Fiercest of Females in Urban FantasyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Series: The Iron Covenant #1, Kate Daniels #9.5
Source: My shelves

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.
Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.
Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.
Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?
As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”
Hugh and Elara may do both.

Elara was such a fun heroine! She is forced by circumstances into a marriage of convenience with Hugh d’Ambray. And he, by such circumstances, he is forced into one with her. Her choice is an admirable one, as she does it to protect her people. Hugh needs a home, and Elara needs a weapon to protect her people. But it has to be a believable marriage, and Elara is the FIERCEST FEMALE to live in such circumstances. No bother that eventually, I’m sure, Elara and Hugh’s fake marriage will turn into anything but, in the meantime, she’s living with a man she hates and with everyday consequences that have the potential to harm her people. 

from Lover Awakened by JR Ward

The Fiercest of Females in Urban FantasyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #3
Publisher: Signet
Source: My shelves

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other - six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.
Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her…

This was one of my favorite books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series!! Mostly because of Zhadist, I admit, but even just thinking of this story has my tear ducts quivering. I remember reading this book, sitting in the back of my parent’s car on the way to vacation, sobbing my eyes out. ahhh ? But enough about him, we’re talking about Fierce Females. Bella was truly amazing in this one. Being Fierce isn’t just about being a badass, leading armies and kicking some ass, but also about compassion and kindness and helping others. Bella was fierce because she dared love someone who was unloveable. (Alpha Males)

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

The Fiercest of Females in Urban FantasyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense
Series: Mercy Thompson #1
Publisher: Ace Books
Source: My shelves

Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water...

[ My Review ]

Mercy Thompson is honestly my favorite. I don’t mean that literally, but by god. She’s one of the sassiest, kick-assiest, most hilarious heroine’s I’ve yet seen. Reading her story is honestly just straight-up fun. And she is fierce, don’t you doubt it. I don’t even know how to describe Mercy other than seriously fucking fun. She also shape-shifts into an adorable little coyote! And her bantering, flirtatious (courtship) with the alpha wolf next door is endless fun! 

from Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

The Fiercest of Females in Urban FantasyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense
Series: Hidden Legacy #1
Publisher: Avon
Source: My shelves

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…
Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn't sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.
Then she's kidnapped by Connor "Mad" Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.
Rogan's after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she's getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Quite literally, if you looked up “Fierce” in the dictionary, Nevada Baylor would be sitting right there next to it. Nevada is the literal embodiment of Fierce. She is intense, powerful, strong, and aggressively protective of her family. Her family drives everything that she does, which leads her to face Connor “Mad” Rogan, perhaps the most powerful man in their world. Despite Rogan’s influence, stature, and aggressive, insurmountable power, she thinks nothing of giving back just as good as she gets and refuses to back down in the face of his dominance. 

from Three Wishes by Kristen Ashley

The Fiercest of Females in Urban FantasyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Magical Realism, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Source: My shelves

When Lily Jacobs was born, she inherited Fazire – a genie. Her family had three wishes and they’d only ever used one so Fazire was stuck in the human world. This worked since he’d become a member of the family anyway.
Even with a genie, Lily's young life wasn’t perfect. To escape the kids making her miserable at school, Lily buried herself in romance novels. One day, when the teasing was just too much, she used one of her wishes. She told Fazire she wanted to find a man like in her books and she made the most complicated wish Fazire had ever heard. Her wished-for man had to be impossibly handsome, virile, fierce, rugged and ruthless (amongst a dozen other things).
He also had to think she was beautiful and he had to love her more than anything in the world.
Nathaniel McAllister wasn’t born to a life where there were such things as genies granting wishes. His life was filled with drugs, crime and neglect. He was running errands for a gangster before he was in his teens and, even though life and hard work led him to wealth and respectability, he always knew, deep down, he was dirty. When Nate met Lily he knew he was no good for her but as virile, fierce, rugged and ruthless as he was, Nate was no match for the pull of sweet, innocent Lily.
Unfortunately, Lily’s wish included that she and her hero go through trials and tribulations to test their love. And Fazire wasn’t only a good genie, he loved Lily – so he gave her exactly what she wanted.

Lily Jacobs is the fiercest kind of female: a struggling single mom. This book is more of a contemporary romance than urban fantasy, but the presence of an everyday genie in her life lends it to the paranormal genre. So here we are! Lily Jacobs was ripped away from her man and was forced to raise her daughter alone, with little income to support them. By god, some scenes in this book make me sob, every damn time. 

from Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

The Fiercest of Females in Urban FantasyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense
Series: Alex Craft #1
Publisher: Roc
Source: My shelves

Grave witch Alex Craft can speak to the dead, but that doesn’t mean she likes what they have to say.
As a private investigator and consultant for the police, Alex Craft has seen a lot of dark magic. But even though she’s on good terms with Death himself—who happens to look fantastic in a pair of jeans—nothing has prepared her for her latest case. Alex is investigating a high profile murder when she’s attacked by the ‘shade’ she’s raising, which should be impossible. To top off her day, someone makes a serious attempt on her life, but Death saves her. Guess he likes having her around...
To solve this case Alex will have to team up with tough homicide detective Falin Andrews. Falin seems to be hiding something—though it’s certainly not his dislike of Alex—but Alex knows she needs his help to navigate the tangled webs of mortal and paranormal politics, and to track down a killer wielding a magic so malevolent, it may cost Alex her life...and her soul.

Alex Craft is a Grave Witch, which means she can speak to the dead, and raise a person’s “shade” (which is basically a version of a person’s memories) to answer questions and solve homicides. Sometimes, she even raises them just to talk to family members. In this case, Fierce means that she regularly deals with death and corpses, helping paranormal creatures solve cases and regularly confronting the Fae Queen. 

from Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

The Fiercest of Females in Urban FantasyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Series: Kate Daniels #1
Publisher: Ace
Source: My shelves

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate's guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta's magic circles.
The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate's guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she's way out of her league—but she wouldn't have it any other way.
This special edition includes in-depth information about the world of Kate Daniels, with descriptions of its characters and factions. Explore Kate’s Atlanta like never before with answers to FAQ and a quiz to find your place there. And don’t miss the prequel story “A Questionable Client,” as well as scenes of events in Magic Bites from Curran’s point of view.

[ My Review ]

Y’all know how much I adore this series! Kate Daniels is FUCKING FIERCE and there’s nothing more to it. She’s a badass sword fighter, badass private investigator, badass magic wielder, and the sassiest mouth you’ve read. She’s nothing but a good time, and it guaranteed to be an enjoyable read – always! Kate always sticks up for the little guy and fights the good fight, and makes it entertaining as well once Curran gets involved. Or without Curran. He’s great, but she’s hysterical even alone. (My Review)

from King Hall by Scarlett Dawn

The Fiercest of Females in Urban FantasyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Series: Forever Evermore #1
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Source: My shelves

A fresh, meaty, sink-your-teeth-in-and-hold-on-tight new adult fantasy series kicks off with King Hall… King Hall — where the Mysticals go to learn their craft, get their degrees, and transition into adulthood. And where four new Rulers will rise and meet their destinies.  Lily Ruckler is adept at one thing:  survival.  Born a Mystical hybrid, her mere existence is forbidden, but her nightmare is only about to start. Fluke, happenstance, and a deep personal loss finds Lily deeply entrenched with those who would destroy her simply for existing — The Mystical Kings.  Being named future Queen of the Shifters shoves Lily into the spotlight, making her one of the most visible Mysticals in the world. But with risk comes a certain solace — her burgeoning friendships with the other three Prodigies: a wicked Vampire, a wild-child Mage, and a playboy Elemental. Backed by their faith and trust, Lily begins to relax into her new life.  Then chaos erupts as the fragile peace between Commoners and Mysticals is broken, and suddenly Lily realises the greatest threat was never from within, and her fear takes on a new name: the revolution. 

It’s hard to explain what makes Lily fierce without spoiling the book, but I suppose the blurb does that itself. So! Lily was a regular shapeshifter, mated to the future King of Shifters. When he died, the power went to her, and she became Queen. What makes this book interesting is that the four Mystical factions: shapeshifters, faeries, vampires and elementals. We get to watch Lily in this huge transitional phase in her life and though I wasn’t quite sure I would take to her at first, I grew to like her a hell of  a lot. She may have been Queen of Shifters, but she was an awkward young adult just like me, having to take on a hugely unexpected mantle of responsibility that wasn’t supposed to be hers to begin with, all while carrying around a huge secret. An extra caveat into this one is that it’s super fun, because it’s a fun mix of magical powers and crazy mating scenes, all while pushing a subtle but important message of friendship and loyalty. This book is found family at it’s finest, and it’s not to be missed. 

from Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

The Fiercest of Females in Urban FantasyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Also by this author: Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, #1), Rock Hard (Rock Kiss #2), Rock Hard (Rock Kiss, #2)
Series: Psy-Changeling #12
Publisher: Jove
Source: My shelves

Step into New York Times bestseller Nalini Singh’s explosive and shockingly passionate Psy-Changeling world…
A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.A woman whose very existence has been erased.A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.A deadly price that must be paid.The day of reckoning is here.
From “the alpha author of paranormal romance” (Booklist) comes the most highly anticipated novel of her career—one that blurs the line between madness and genius, between subjugation and liberation, between the living and the dead.

This is my favorite book of the Psy-Changeling book. That’s a hard admission for me to make, but here I am saying it. This is the one that I often reach for to reread, and this is the one that I find myself rereading most often. The focus of this one is mostly on Kaleb, and if you’re unfamiliar with the Psy-Changeling books, you don’t know how big a deal that is, but Sahara was hugely influential in this one. Similar to Bella in the earlier example of Lover Awakened, Sahara loved someone who was unloveable (I daresay even more so than Zhadist) and was Fierce because she dared to dream. She loved him in the perfect that accepted him for who he was, but still urged him to be better. Sahara not only literally saved the world for loving him, but gave the world an ally in Kalab, rather than a fearsome, unstoppable enemy. 

from Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

The Fiercest of Females in Urban FantasyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Sci-Fi
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #1
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Source: My shelves

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is...different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.
And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night....Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.
***Notice: This is a special Collectors Edition, trade-paperback volume, which includes Black and White original illustrations. It is a short novel, of approximately 60,000 words in length/227 pages***

Dina is my last Fierce Female in this post, but that certainly does not mean she is the least. Dina is the owner of an interstellar bed and breakfast, meaning it’s a way station for otherworldly visitors (or aliens/space creatures). Earth remains blissfully unaware of the creatures and other planets/communities that live in space, and Dina is responsible for ensuring her guests keep that secret. She’s Fierce because she’s a warrior and a badass magic-wielder, but is cunning and subtle about it. Entering a battle is last resort, if a peaceful agreement cannot be made. But she’s relentlessly intense when it comes to keeping the secret. She is an inspiration.  

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What books have you read recently that feature Fierce Females? Who are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you! 

8 responses to “The Fiercest of Females in Urban Fantasy

  1. I’ve been wanting to get back into UF lately! I used to read it a lot, and absolutely loved Nalini Singh’s characters. I’ve been meaning to read Mercy Thompson for the longest time.

    • Mercy Thompson is so fun! The series goes on a bit past what it probably should have plot-wise, but the characters are just so fun it’s easy to stay invested. Mercy and Adam’s chemistry is similar to Kate Daniel’s and Curran’s (if you’ve read the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews.) I recommend both!

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