A late Ada Lovelace Day post is better than no Ada Lovelace post at all! Ada Lovelace Day is in dedication to all of the lovely ladies out there in science/ mathematics/ technology/ engineering, and is named for who is considered by many to have been the first computer programmer. Yeah, so chances are I wouldn't be writing/ typing this if it wasn't for Ms. Lovelace, so no doubt I should write a post in her honor.
Seeing as this is a book blog, I'm putting a different spin on things though, and instead of listing actual ladies here's a list of my top five favorite (in no particular order):
5) Clove (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins)
Her part was incredibly short, but Clove is still one of my favorite characters in the series. What really struck a chord for me with Clove was her brutality, namely in her scene attacking Katniss. It really defined, at least to me, what the Hunger Games was all about. Collins didn't want us forgetting that love doesn't fuel the hunger games, pain and anger does, and Clove defines that perfectly. Katniss and Peeta weren't the rule, they were the exception.
4) Offred (The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood)
Offred's narration of the life of a handmaid, flashing back now and again to her former life as a wife, mother, and working woman, is cold, tragic, and haunting. I think that almost every woman can see at least a little of themselves in Offred, whether we've been in a place similar to hers or not. She has a very observant and intelligent nature, something that is a crime for women in her world, and her thoughts on her new everyday life demonstrate that. She shows that you don't have to kick doors down, guns a'blazing to be a strong female protagonist.
3) Georgia Nicholson (Series of the same name by Louise Rennison)
Has she saved babies from a burning building? No. Has she jumped from helicopters or lead nations to revolution? No. Has she stalked boys at the local grocers with her best friends and stuffed lunch foods in her beret just to mess with her teachers? Yes, and that's why I love her. Rennison's books never fail to make me laugh out loud, and the snarky, teenage voice of her protagonist is spot-on and hilarious.
2) Holly Short (Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer)
One of the few women in her line of work, fearless, has a good head on her shoulders, strong, along with a bajillion other reasons are why Holly is always at the top of my favorite character lists. Her being an elf is irrelevant to me; she's a woman who I'd love to grow up to be like. Juliet Butler (same series) is in my top ten, for a lot of the same reasons as Holly combined with the witty teen girl quality that makes me wish she had shown up in the series more often.
1) Stephanie Edgley (Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy)
I hope that I'm not getting ahead of myself, seeing as I'm in the middle of book two of six, but I have a strong feeling that I'm not. I listened to the first SP book on my iPod while at work and loved it (along with the fact that the male narrator did three different voices for the three female characters, and did a pretty good job), and since I'm only through the first that's the one I'll be referring to.
The reason she makes number one sounds surprising, but I mean it in an honest and respectful way: I like her because she needed to be saved throughout the book. Before you flip tables in a Mary-Sue induced rage, I'll explain. The first book takes place over just a few days, where Stephanie goes from twelve-year-old, average, Irish schoolgirl to being thrust into a strange, magical world that she doesn't understand, full of things that can/ want to kill her. Instead of taking the route that many books seem to follow nowadays, and dumping a crazy-ton of magical powers in her lap and telling her to go to town, Landy sat down and thought for a moment: "Hmm. You know, granting a twelve-year-old supreme, ultimate power in two days is almost as unrealistic as my talking skeleton. Better scrap that idea." Stephanie needs saving, on more than one occasion, because she's a normal girl (well, mostly), and only after time and training does she hone her abilities.
Don't get me wrong, she has her time to shine (and definitely does, more than once), is witty, quick, caring, eager to help out where and when she can (despite her very-human setbacks compared to her magical counterparts), and has a thirst for knowledge relating to the new world that she's found herself in. Having been an average, magical-world-loving twelve-year-old myself, well, it's been a while since I've been able to relate to a character like I can Stephanie. As the books progress, so do any abilities of Stephanie's, so in a way the reader grows along with her, and it feels good knowing that I've only scratched the surface of the series.
*It's worth noting that, though they didn't make the list so that it didn't become clogged with characters from the same books, China Sorrows and Tanith Low of the SP series are two very powerful, important characters who've put years into their training and are respected in their world. Just because Stephanie is a fledgling to magic doesn't mean that the series lacks in ladies who can save themselves.
I hope that your Ada Lovelace day was a good one, and that soon I'll stumble across more great ladies to fill blog posts with!