#TheBand – Women in SFF BLOGGER TAG
This year, we’d love to see more blogs get involved in Women in SFF, so we’ve come up with blogger tags!
So far, we’ve had fun with:
#TheTagTeam tag, a trope/theme-association chain.
#TheBookWouldBeBetter, checking out what series we’d love to see adapted and who we’d cast in them.
This week, we’re going on a quest.
That’s right. We’re getting the band back together.
A dark lord has arisen, except this time around they’re a little less lordly and a lot more ladylike. As such the utterly useless gentleman heroes of the kingdom are defenceless against her, due to chivalry’s recent return to fashion, and we must rely upon the ladies of fantasy to fend off doom, disaster and dark ladies.
So, help us find female characters (from books by the fairer sex) to fulfil the following role…
The Brains behind this operation
Someone’s going to have to be in charge of this band of miscreants
Theo: General Gabriella Oriz from Stark Holborn’s Ten Low a genetically engineered child soldier of incredible acuity and arrogance. Has to be the brains, because (a) likely to be very good at it and (b) unlikely to accept anyone else being in the position.
Julia: Vintage – Lady Vincenza de Grayson from Jen Williams’ The Ninth Rain! Keeping everyone in line, while also keeping a clear eye and studying some of the things on the way…
Beth: I’d second Vintage, but I’d also throw Cassandra Harwood into the ring, from Stephanie Burgis’ Snowspelled. She’s a properly smart cookie who can think outside the box.
They may not always be the smartest in the bunch, but you’re going to want their bloody big sword on your side
Beth: It’s going to have to be Lovis from Timandra Whitecastle’s Queen of the Wyrd, right? I can think of some pretty kick-ass warrior women (Tara, Phalue, Lidan, Misaki, Rin …) but I’d have to go with Lovis’ expertise and track record on this one. She knows her way around a quest, has faced down the most epic of Nordic baddies and beasties, and can do some serious damage!
Theo: I’m going with Glory (aka Lady She Wolf) from Scarlett Gales’ His Secret Illuminations One of the joys of the book is that, despite Glory’s undoubtedly muscular physique and combat prowess, they solve several encounters without resorting to violence. I guess the point is that – the more muscle you have, the less you have to use it.
The Healer sorry MAGIC USER (geez…)
People with a propensity for magic can be so touchy. Still, if they do know some healing spells they could come in handy JUST SAYIN’
Asha: I propose Mika Moon from the upcoming The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna. Not only is she an accomplished witch with a great line in potion- and tea-making, she’s also a relentlessly sunny person, so she’ll keep the party’s spirits up for sure!
Theo: I’m sticking with the healer theme and going with Juanita, wife of Guillermo who is leader of the Spanish Los Nephilim in Teresa Frohock’s In Midnight’s Silence. Juanita is an angel who has taken mortal form to be with Guillermo. In some ways their relationship echoes Melian the Maya marrying the sindaran Thingol in The Silmarillion (Can’t wait for the November buddy read, Nils!). However, Juanita is a more active presence than Melian was, wielding ampules of morphine and taking the field to support her daughter and her husband as angelic and demonic forces rage against the backdrop of surging facism (which is starting to feel more topical than historical).
Beth: She probably wouldn’t be great at healing, but I’m sure someone else can administer plasters whilst Shade Nox from Sarah Daley’s Obsidian rains down absolute havoc on all…
Nils: I’ll choose Nahri from S. A. Chakraborty’s The City of Brass. Nahri is a healer but doesn’t even realise it’s a magical ability at first, which I just loved about her. She would have been a good choice for The Shifty One too though, so keep an eye on her.
The Shifty One
We all love them really, and we’re not going to lie, their lock-picking skills can come in super handy. Just don’t make them the Treasurer of the committee, yeah?
Julia: Maybe Sable from the start of Dragon’s Reach by J A Andrews. Not really shifty, but willing to steal for her sisters safety, and quite good at it!
Theo: I’m going to suggest the eponymous hero of Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory – living in a steampunk re-imagined western. Karen works in a house of somewhat questionable repute that might colour her reputation in some eyes, but she is more sinned against than sinner and with her mastery of combat sewing machines is certainly one to trust in a tight corner.
Beth: My absolute favourite rogue of all time will always be Wydrin from Jen Williams’ Copper Cat trilogy. We cannot go on a quest without Wyd. It would be far too boring, for a start.
The Woodsy One
We’re probably going to end up in a forest at some point right? At which point this character will know all about which tracks to avoid, and which mushrooms are the good kind and which ones are the really good kind.
Asha: Marian (no longer “Maid”, thank you very much) from Jaime Lee Moyer’s Brightfall is definitely someone you want on your team if you need to navigate the woods. She’s got all the knowledge of how to survive, whether that means finding the right plants, finding your way home, or finding a way out of a slippery conversation with the fae…
Theo: I’m going with Agnieszka from Naomi Novik’s Uprooted – although she ends up apprenticed to a cantankerous mage, Agnieszka’s rural upbringing is in the shadow of corrupted wood and I figure if you can deal with a malevolent forest, you are definitely woodsy enough for me.
Look, you’ve worked with them in the past and something bad happened that you both keep alluding to and which drives the rest of the party crazy until right at the end when we find out it was your fault all along and they’re actually not all that bad…
Nils: I’m going to choose Eleanor from The Splendid City by Karen Heuler for this! She makes mistakes, acts rashly, doesn’t consider consequences but underneath it all her heart is in the right place. She just needs to learn to think a little! Oh she’s a witch by the way, so no matter how unpredictable she can be, her magic could come in handy. Especially if we need to turn someone into a talking psychotic cat!
Theo: I’m picking Luna Masterson from Nameless: The Darkness Comes by Mercedes M Yardley. This hard swearing motorbike riding young woman sees demons and they and chaos tend to follow her around. Here’s the last line of my Goodreads review of the book to help explain my choice. “We do not always like Luna – like those around her we find her headstrong and frustrating at times. But she is always true to herself and she, unlike so many of the creatures around her, is always human”
Beth: This role just screams Cari Thomas’ Effie to me, from her magical Threadneedle. Effie’s the girl in school with the reputation, she has an onyx shell and walks like trouble, but will pull things out of you you never knew were there.
The Animal Companion
You have to have an animal companion! Why? Because Nils will kill me if you don’t.
Nils: So how can I not choose Mephi here? Throughout Andrea’s Stewart’s Bone Shard series, Mephi has shown himself to be the most loyal protective companion there is. Also, we may get some magical powers from being bonded to him too. Also, also, very entertaining. The only downside is he’ll eat the company’s fish.
Theo: I’m going with the Snail from Laura M Hughes’ Danse Macabre (tbf Hughes’ heroine Blue could also feature in the band in her own right) But the snail is such a brilliantly unexpected counsellor in a little novella that not so much defies convention as warps it, with its irregularly numbered chapters and mobius strip of a plot.
The Wild Card
The last member of the band can be anyone of your choosing! But do let us know why you’re dragging them into this mess.
Theo: Thalia, from Anna Smith-Sparks Court of Broken Knives. She is the high priestess of the Lord of Living and Dying and – like her lover Marith – unpredictable, more random act of god, than priestess, and that perhaps is just the kind of injection of chaos that any band needs in order to succeed.
Beth: Good shout Theo! I’m going to drag along Tara from Anna Stephens’ Godblind, because she’s an excellent fighter and tactician, she’s super smart and cunning, and she’s my favourite and I love her ok??
What did you think of our band? Think any of them will survive?
Who would you have in your mercenary band? Let us know either in the comments, on our socials, or by using the hashtag #TheBand and #WomenInSFF. We can’t wait to see what your choices!
A huge thank you to Nils, Beth, Julia, Asha, and Theo for playing along, and to G. D. Penman for coming up with our quest!