Top 5 female characters in fantasy books as chosen by Ellen Renner

From junior witches to magical librarians, Ellen Renner shares her top picks of female characters in fantasy books

Howl’s Moving Castle
Diana Wynne Jones

Sophie Hatter must become a crone (bewitched into old age by an evil witch) in order to find her own power and save a reprobate wizard. Funny, with a twisty-turny plot. A brilliant book for all ages about the dangers of dreaming and the realities of loving.

The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle number two)
Ursula K Le Guin

Tenar is a priestess – a living sacrifice to the gods of death. Entombed in perpetual darkness, her youth is devoured year on year. Tenar’s heroism lies in her refusal to surrender her humanity to the malevolence of the soul-devouring labyrinth. Her desire for light is renewal itself.

The Changeover
Margaret Mahy

A supernatural coming-of-age story. To save her little brother and defeat the terrifying Carmody Braque, Laura must ‘changeover’ from a girl on the cusp of adulthood into a witch. An atmospheric, chillingly beautiful tale.

Garth Nix

You have to love a book where the protagonist is a librarian whose sole companion is a magic creature called the Disreputable Dog. Ancient evil, epic journeys, a lonely young woman’s search to belong plus swashbuckling danger. Adventures come no finer.

The Wee Free Men (Tiffany Aching series)
Terry Pratchett

In Tiffany Aching, Pratchett created a brave, sometimes naive and always humane heroine – a junior witch who will, in time, surpass even Granny Weatherwax. Simply … hooray!

Storm Witch by Ellen Renner is out now (Nosy Crow, £6.99)