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Kick-Butt Heroines: How Tough Is Too Tough? ~ Talkin’ ’bout Books Tuesday Discussion #10

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“Talkin’ ’bout Books” is a meme for weekly book discussions.


About the meme…

Each Tuesday, we will post a discussion about a book-related topic. Sometimes, we will gear this toward writing books rather than reading them.

If you’re a blogger and you would like to join in on the fun, you don’t have to post about the same topic, but you are welcome to do so if you want. Just post a discussion and leave your link in the comments. If you’re not a blogger, that’s okay too. Just leave a comment with your answer to this week’s question.


My topic for this week is:


I’m a big fan of heroines who can kick butt and be self-reliant. Based on reviews I have read, I think most readers agree. I don’t know anyone who likes wilting flowers or TSTL heroines.

In my opinion, a female character should be able to take care of herself. I don’t like it when the heroine has Daphne syndrome and has to be rescued repeatedly.

However, I think there’s a fine line an author can cross where the heroine becomes too tough. I think there are times when it is okay for a heroine to rely on others.

Also, I want the heroine to show emotions other than anger.

Often, I feel empathy and compassion are missing. For example, if it’s an urban fantasy, I don’t find it realistic if the heroine never contemplates the death she’s dealing, even if it’s to monsters, or the death others are causing.

Or, if it’s a detective story, I have a hard time relating to a character who is all clinical and detached. Stoicism has its purpose, but I don’t want to see it all the time. I think everyone has a breaking point, and I’d like to see characters crack occasionally.

I know a lot of people like the Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter. I have only read one book in the series (the third one). When I read it, I thought Jane lacked emotions. I wondered if the author intentionally sacrificed introspection for the sake of keeping the book action-packed. I’d love to hear what other people who have read this series think. Does Jane ever say or think that she cares about anyone else? Or, is it more of a matter of showing what she feels through her actions?


What do you think about kick-butt heroines? Have you read any books where the heroine came across as too tough? Do you ever wish kick-butt heroines would show a larger range of emotions?

Can you think of an example of a character who does have a softer side but still manages to defeat the bad guys on her own?

This post is part of the 2017 Discussion Challenge, hosted by It Starts at Midnight & Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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Jen Schaper
I am a mom of three kids, a wife, and a wannabe author. For Books That Hook, I review books, create features and discussions, design the website, and do all the administrative stuff.

6 Replies to “Kick-Butt Heroines: How Tough Is Too Tough? ~ Talkin’ ’bout Books Tuesday Discussion #10”

  1. I agree, and I’ve talked about this in discussions and book reviews before too. I feel like many authors have taken this too far and, in their attempt to write “strong female characters” they’re making female characters cold and emotionless. And I can’t connect to emotionless characters and usually end up not liking those books.

    The first series that comes to mind for me is the Les Corbeaux series by Emma V. Leech because the MC is super emotional but also can hold her own against baddies and becomes especially bad*ss as the series goes on without becoming emotionless.
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Book Review: Sparrow Man (Sparrow Man Book 1) by M. R. PritchardMy Profile

    1. I’ll have to look up that series. I haven’t heard of it. It sounds like a character I would like, though. I’m with you on not being able to connect to emotionless characters.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Sam! I couldn’t think of many characters at the time I wrote the post, either. I just knew that I’ve encountered them in the past.

  2. This is a really good post, and I agree with you 🙂 Every character needs to have dimension, and that’s especially true of main characters! I kinda agree with you about the Jane Yellowrock series — I’ve enjoyed the couple I’ve read well enough, but something has kept me from really getting engaged, and I think it’s exactly what you said. Similarly with the Elemental Assassin series.

    I’ve actually started to turn away from Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance more in recent years for this kind of thing. Some characters are SPECTACULAR, but so many are exactly the same from book to book, even across different authors, and I just stopped finding them quite so interesting. It’s still a sub-genre near and dear to my heart, but not something I read nearly as often as I used to. It’s now maybe 30% of what I read (the other 70% being other fantasy sub-genres) where it used to be 100%.
    Michelle @ FaerieFits recently posted…Ten of My Favorite Antagonists to Love to HateMy Profile

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