As the first 10-episode season of Margaret Atwood’s seminal feminist dystopian work The Handmaid’s Tale comes to an end on Hulu this week, we thought it only fitting to pay tribute to Offred alongside twelve of her ass-kickingest sisters ever to kick ass across the printed page. Our selection criteria were simple: The women in question needed to appear in book form before they appeared anyplace else — yes, Leia Organa rocks the house in all those Star Wars novelizations, but she was in the movies first, so…DISqualified! — and we had to like them a lot. That’s all.
Unfortunately, 13 is not that big a number, so a lot of worthies were left out. If our incomprehensible and unjustifiable omission of Kerowyn/Daenerys/Diamond Mask/Paksenarrion/Lyra/Irulan/Miri/Dianora/etc. makes you sad, by all means drop us a line and tell us about it, but know that we love them, too. We just ran out of space.
And finally, to those of you troubled by the complete lack of any comic book, graphic novel, or manga characters on this list: Take heart! A Top 13 Genre Heroines, Comics Division is planned for the future (not to mention Television, Film and even Video Game editions). So keep reading!
And now, our Top 13 Genre Heroines, Literary Division, are…