In my H post, I uncovered the men of urban fantasy. Today let’s talk about the women. If trapped by a slobbering, fanged monster of any sort, these are the gals I’d want in my corner.
Where would urban fantasy lovers be without the original vampire fighter and honorary founder of the urban fantasy movement? (Bless you Joss Whedon!) Buffy debuted on the big screen in 1992. Director Fran Rubel Kuzui turned Whedon’s script about an blond girl who could fight the forces of evil into a spoofy, pop culture movie about a girl whose cramps warned her of vampires. She kicked vampire butt while maintaining her cute curls and valley girl charm.
Given the opportunity to adapt the movie to television, Whedon was able to give Buffy back her brains. That's when the real Buffy came to play. This girl packed a powerful punch, not just in her fighting but reasoning and tactics.
Now you can read about her in books, written by a variety of authors. A list can be found here. However, the comic books are the true continuation of the series and produced by Joss Whedon.
Following soon after Buffy are the first urban fantasy books by Laurell K Hamilton. Anita Blake is a tough character who can raise the dead and is licensed to hunt and kill vampires. She is a trained killer and, in the beginning of this series, she distrusts any preternatural creature. Anita has a strong moral center and when we first meet her she is a born again virgin—having sworn off sex after being betrayed by her fiance years earlier.
But as the series unfolds, Anita loses her way. As she becomes more entangled with the very creatures she had sworn to hunt, she gains in power but seems to lose her moral compass. By book six we see that she is succumbing to the Ardeur—a sexual power that often overcomes her with need. It changes Anita. She becomes addicted to sex, often with multiple partners.
This turn from a strict urban fantasy book, to a more erotica-based storyline turned off many of the series’ fans. As one fan on the Goodreads group Paranormal Addicts & Newbies suggests, “Anita used to kick ass, but now she can't get off her back long enough.”
A shame, since the early books were so instrumental in shaping the urban fantasy genre.
Cat Crawfield is just itching to kill vampires and exact revenge on what her vampire father did to her mother. Being half-vampire helps her get the job done. After many sloppy kills, Cat meets Bones. He’s a master vampire who talks her into training with him to become a more effective killer. Only problem for Cat is that he’s holding the leash on which vampires she can kill.
But as her talents get honed into deadly killing machine, Cat finds that not all vampires are alike. Bones is sinking his fangs into her heart. Can she maintain her goal to find her father and avenge her mother, while falling for a vampire?
Cat is an incredibley complex character who is torn by many conflicting emotions. Above all she's not afraid to stand her ground and fight. In fact, she relishes it.
Even as a human, Anna Strong was a badass. Instead of being a teacher, like the rest of her family, she decided on becoming a bounty hunter. It was on the hunt for a bad guy that Anna is attacked. Waking up vampire, she is taken in by her doctor, Grant Avery, who also happens to be a vampire. Anna soon discovers that not all the vampire myths are true. She can walk about in the sunlight and live a (somewhat) normal life.
However, her handsome doctor is not the man he appears to be. Anna’s life gets more complicated when she finds she must hunt down the one man who can help her get a grip on her new existence.
Probably my favorite kick-butt heroine. Kate Daniels has a secret. She’s the daughter of a powerful demi-god. But since he kills any child he fathers, Kate is not eager for a family reunion. Instead, Kate is a hired mercenary, using her skills in a way that won’t out her blood ties. She lives in Atlanta, but the world is far different than the one we know today. Set about twenty years in the future, Atlanta (and the rest of the world) has taken over by magic.
Magic acts like electricity in a third world nation. Sometimes the magic is up and its power destroys anything mechanical. Computers, phones and cars refuse to work during the magic time. When the magic goes down, lights come back on and electrical items work again. But the magic has released all kinds of creatures into the world. Kate is an expert at hunting down the bad ones and making them bleed.
Into her life walks the king of the local shapeshifters, a werelion with an ego as big as his roar. He might be the only creature strong enough to handle her and smart enough to tame her heart.
Now before any of you cry out that I’ve forgotten a beloved character, I raise my hands in surrender. There are a lot of kick ass women of urban fantasy. These are just some of my favorites. If you have a favorite, tell us about her in the comments below.