Hi there! This week's TTT topic is an interesting one that invited creativity! Unfortunately, my creativity declined this invitation - it's feeling a little introverted these days - but despite that I do love the topic idea which is:
Top Ten Books I Wish Had (More/Less) X In Them (the original idea came from Andi who suggested top ten books I wish had more kissing which I thought could be fun but also realize it might not be everyone's thing! Could also be top ten books I wish had more diversity in them or top ten books I wish had less violence in them or less romance focus in them or top ten books I wish had more dragons in them. IDK! Have some fun with this one!)While I do like me some kissing and I originally started making a list of books that need more romance, it was feeling pretty random and uninspired. Eventually, I hit on a topic that is near and dear to my heart, being a lady and all. The below are all good books/series but they would have been even better if they a) had a few more of the lady kind and/or b) used their females characters in a stronger or more realistic role. This is just my opinion of course and I am, admittedly, a little biased. Here goes!
Armada by Ernest Cline
Really liked this book about a gamer saving the world but the women were both hard to find and not very well-developed. Overall, I felt this was a book that could have used a little room to breath and I think well-developed female (and really all secondary) characters was one of the casualties.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
I LOVE this series but this first book really has a dearth of females. The second book is a smidge better in that respect (Lady Pirates!) and while I (for SHAME) have not yet read book 3, I'm pretty sure it introduces a main character that is female.
Nathaniel Cade Series by Christopher Farnsworth
This is a pretty enjoyable paranormal action adventure series about a Super Secret Agent Vampire and his human handler. There are a few VERY secondary female characters - there is a female vampire Cade has some very uninspired dalliances with - and while I enjoy Cade and Zach's bromance, this series would definitely move up a notch in my estimation with some strong female secondary characters.
The Richard Jury Mystery Series by Martha Grimes
There are certainly many one off women that appear in these mystery books but the two main recurring characters are Scotland Yard Detective Richard Jury and bored aristocrat Melrose Plant. Melrose's Aunt is a secondary recurring character but her main job is to be SO annoying. I kind of wish Jury's D.C. was a woman or that Melrose had a female friend or something.
The Peter Wimsey Series by Dorothy L. Sayers (at least up through The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, #5)
I'm pretty sure that the lack of strong recurring female characters is going to change in book 6 and I am really excited about that. It's one of the reasons I've flown through the first five books - they were fun AND I can't wait to get to Harriet Vane. Interestingly, depending upon who you are talking to, they either think the introduction of Harriet Vane is where the series starts to go down hill or else it is the best thing to happen to the series:).
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
A classic book which follows the changes happening in Nigerian culture in the 1950s by telling the story of a highly respected village man, Okonkwo. The female characters in this book are mostly very side-lighted and I would've liked to know more about them or have this same book from their perspective.
Timothy Wilde Series by Lyndsay Faye and Matthew Corbett Series by Robert McCammon
I put both these series as one item because despite being by different authors and set at two different times, they have a similar set up. They both have young, smart, adventurous men as their protagonists and they both have a love interest who is particularly smart and spunky for the time period which is great. However, I want MORE of these female characters which end up not being used to their full potential.
The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne
I like this series about a 1000+ year old druid living in New Mexico but throughout the first three books, as a female reader, I felt pretty unengaged - it has this very masculine slant and voice. It read like geek boy wish fulfillment. Absolutely nothing wrong with that approach but it alienated me and kept me from really loving the series. More realistic female characters would be a start.
P.S. I should definitely point out that this series owes a measure of its style, whether consciously or unconsciously, to Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. The same complaints could be made about that series and yet I dearly love it and did not include it here for one main reason: Karrin freakin' Murphy.
The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
Pretty much ditto the above but a little less harsh in the judgment. This series is for the most part hella engaging and I love it but it could use a few more realistic female main characters. There are are a few female secondary characters that are written well and interestingly and when they are on the page that's when this series shines the most for me.
That's my list! Do any books come to mind for you, that you liked but thought they would be even more awesome with some kick-ass women characters? Any of the above that you disagree with?