Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Short Break

Hey Everyone! Happy Tuesday!

So I'm taking a brief brake from the blogosphere. I'm moving into a new place this week. Plus I've got a deadline for edits to get back to my publisher, and I'm trying to get out book 2 of Street Games, Desolate Mantle. (I was aiming for having it out the end of February, but it's looking like it'll be about another two weeks.)

So, as you can see, I'm swamped. I won't be on much of the rest of the week, and depending on how my weekend goes, next week is up in the air too. 

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But, no worries. I'll be back after that to normal blogging schedule. Wish me luck! And have a great week! :D

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Walking Dead Recap, Episode 12: Remember



Episode 12: Remember

These recaps are just a discussion tool and a chance for me to geek out about my favorite show and do some over-analyzing. Maybe throw out a few theories. Remember, spoilers run rampant below. Don't read if you haven't watched!

The episode begins right where the last one left off, with the group at the gates of Alexandria, preparing to enter. As they do, Karl sees a strange girl in a nearby window, but she's there and gone, and he doesn't say anything about it. As the door slides open, Daryl hears something and turns and kills a possum. He picks it up, announcing they've brought dinner. This obviously unnerves Aaron and another guy who meets them at the gate named Nicholas, who both look vaguely panicked.

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The group enters, the door closing behind them, and are immediately asked to surrender their weapons, which they refuse to do. Rick says they aren't sure if they're staying, and Aaron tells Nicholas to let them keep their weapons for now, until they've spoken to Deanna, who is apparently their leader. 

Next we see Rick looking around a very clean, pre-zombie-apocalypse-looking house. Deanna is a middle-aged woman with a very calm, no-drama presence. She asks Rick if she can film their talk. Seems a little creepy to me, but she tells him that she films everyone who comes in, in the interest of transparency. Rick agrees. Actually, I think he just doesn't care one way or the other. On film, he sticks out against the backdrop of the house as very grubby. Almost rougher in appearance than Daryl, like a caveman in a modern mansion.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Memory of Light Read-Along, Week 7


Welcome to week 6 of our A Memory of Light Read-Along! This week we read Chapters 37 (That's right: only one chapter this week, but it was double the number of pages we usually cover in a week. I know, right?!). Remember that everything in this section as well as everything that's come before is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk. Eivind Fonn is hosting this week and will probably post his answers over at Dab of Darkness. Hop over and check out his answers there!

1.  What did you think of the structure?  That is, one huge chapter with no breathers.  Was it appropriate for the battle, or did you find the difference from before jarring?

I didn't mind the structure. For most stories/books it wouldn't have worked, but given the frenzied, epic nature of this battle, and how long we've been hearing about the looming Last Battle, I think it was a great way to put the reader inside the story. All the characters are surrounded on all sides by the battle, totally mired in it with no way out. Doing the chapter this way kind of gave the same feeling to the reader as we experienced the battle with them.

2. 
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Tuon orchestrates a fight with Mat, and decides to return only after some careful deliberations.  Ice-cold gamble or foolhardy move by Mat?  Am I the only one who thinks the Seanchan have gotten away with very little fighting so far?


Definitely a gamble, but I think if it pays off, it will pay off big. Militarily, I think it was genius, but because he isn't entirely sure of where he stands with Tuon, that makes it a little scary. Will she come to his rescue or leave him to his battle? So yeah, definitely a gamble.

As for the Seanchan, I agree that they've done very little fighting, though the Forces of the Light have made good use of some of the sul'dam/damane pairs on different fronts. Let's hope with Tuon heading for the battlefield once more that they live up to their reputation as Artur Hawkwing's descendants.

3. 
Androl and Pevara (Don't they look super-excited! :D)
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Androl and Pevara spends much of the battle behind enemy lines to recover the seals, practicing telepathy and other fascinating effects.  Why not another lava trick?  Logain also challenge Demandred.  What do you think of his motivations?  Where will his glory come from?


I love these two! They're so great. I love how one of them will gasp or feel a spike of panic, and the other one goes, "What?! What's wrong!" That would be so hard to get useful, but it's also kind of charming. (I think these two need a couples name. Peverol? Andra?) Myself, I'd totally be down for another lava trick. I also loved when he would open a gateway to the trolloc army whenever anyone sent balefire his way. That's totally genius. If only he could have taught Egwene that trick. :(  

I believe it was said last week that Logain is still nursing quite an ego. I think his glory and his humility may end up going hand in hand. I won't say more (and I only vaguely remember the details anyway) but I remember really liking Logain's story line here. 

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  In the meantime, Rand and the Dark One exchange visions for the future.  What do you think of all these?  Can Rand really kill the Dark One now?


I thought this was really interesting and well-written. I know that most of the very end of this book was actually written by Jordan before he passed. (Sanderson did some re-writes and editing, but the most of the ending was already written.) I don't know the details of what was and wasn't written by Jordan, but I think this part may have been. When he said he'd had the ending figured out for years, I think this is what he was referring to. It was never going to be a straight forward slaying of the DO by Rand. It was way more complicated than that. 

Basically, Jordan understood that their had to be opposition in all things and people have to have free will (and something to choose between) or else they cease to be human. Despite Rand's heroic intentions, his way of thinking was flawed. He wants to defeat the DO (and we want that too) but he has to find a way to do it that doesn't mess with free will. Hmm...

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Some choose not to fight for various reasons.  What do you think of Ila's thoughts on violence, now, at the Last Battle?  Did you expect the gai'shain to fight?  Any difference between them and the reluctant mercenaries from the prologue?


I have really mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, if someone really can't or doesn't want to fight, I don't judge them for that. There are other ways to contribute and as long as they are doing something to contribute to war effort, I don't have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is them judging others for deciding to fight, especially if those people are keeping them alive. When Ila's husband even looked at a weapon, she went into this I-can't-believe-he's-even-considering-this mode, as though she might decide not to love him anymore if he did. Really? I was a little bugged by that.

With the gai'shain, I'm not surprised they won't fight, given their history and how rigid they are in their traditions. Because Rand has more or less fulfilled their toh and changed the need for that kind of servitude, I think it would be perfectly okay for them to shed the white and take up weapons without losing honor, but the Last Battle will probably be over by the time you explain that to all the gai'shain, so you might as well just let them contribute in another way. 

The mercenaries are worse, in my opinion, because they have been fighters of some sort their entire life. They don't have any beliefs or religion that would keep them from it. Which means they're just being lazy.

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Faile and Co. make it to the battle, only to be betrayed by Aravine.  Do you think anyone other than Olver made it out (Faile, especially)?  What did you think of Bela's heroic death?  Where does the Horn go from here?


The Aravine thing was pretty sad. I felt for Faile and how hard she took it. Poor Olver is trapped beneath a trolloc talon, and everything's pretty much gone to hell. (What else is new?) And poor Bela! I'm so glad they gave her a part in the Last Battle, given that she's been with one or another of our heroes since book 1. I loved that she rode like the wind to help save her rider before her heart gave out. I think it was a fitting (if tragic) end for the loyal, shaggy little mare. Loved her! Will totally miss her. (While Nynaeve is my fave character and I disagreed with the results, I must say I had to smile when I saw a pole for 'your favorite WoT character' where Bela actually got more votes than Nynaeve. :D)


7. 
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Gawyn, Galad and Lan all decide to challenge Demandred.  Gawyn pays the ultimate price: foolish move, or a reasonable gamble to remove the most dangerous enemy on the field?  Galad tries to avenge him, and fails, only for Lan to do the deed and finally fulfil his series-long death wish.  What do you think of these events?

Oh this whole thing was so sad! It may not have been the best decision on Gawyn's part, but I thought he was heroic all the same for trying. Then Galad tried and failed as well. I remember reading it the first time and thinking, I can't believe Demandred got both of them. Both brothers! So. Stinkin'. Sad! 



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The part where Lan runs up there is probably my favorite moment of the entire book, and quite possibly the entire series. I loved that Loial had to go bear witness to it. I loved that before heading toward his death, he sent Nynaeve his love through the bond. I loved his line: "I didn't come here to win. I came here to kill you." Only someone who wanted to kill him more than he wanted to live could have prevailed. Gawyn, and also to some (if a lesser) extent Galad, were in it for the glory as well as the triumph over a Forsaken. Lan wasn't. The evil needed to be killed, even if he died trying. End of story. Lan is just a freakin' BAMF! 

Best. Part. Ever!






8.
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  Egwene, having lost her warder and husband, slays M'Hael (WITH a sa'angreal) and then lays waste to the Sharans, and kills herself, Lews Therin style.  Did you expect Egwene to be the first out of the original crew?  Was her fate sealed already when Gawyn died?  What will her legacy be, as Amyrlin?  And what of this new weave---the Flame of Tar Valon?


I was SO shocked by this the first time I read it. It was always implied that she would be a legendary Amyrlin that would take the world into the next Age of Legends. Legendary? Yes. Survive the Last Battle? I guess not. This is the second time I've read this and I cried both times. It was so epic and inspiring and sad and just... *sigh*

I actually do think her fate was sealed, not when Gawyn died, per se, but when he decided to leave her. One of the dreams she had was of a kind of door closing on her. Gawyn was on the other side of it and she knew the interpretation: that if Gawyn let that door close, she was dead. I didn't even remember that reading this final book the first time, but re-reading it, I read that dream and went, "Omg. The door's gonna close! That's why she dies!" But of course I didn't want to say that back then. So yeah, really sad. 

I think the new weave will be a big part of her legacy. She will always be the Amyrlin that healed the schismed Tower, saw the world into the Last Battle, killed the M'Hael (thank goodness! Somebody needed to! I so wanted to smack him when he did the whole how-dare-the-Amyrlin-defeat-me thing. What a doofus!) and discovered this weave, which pushed back the darkness, perhaps just long enough to allow Rand to succeed? I mean, because of the balefire, the Pattern was actually unraveling and she stopped it! She found the opposite of balefire which will be a way to counter it from now on. Go Egwene! 

This will always be a very sad twist for me, even if it was very inspiring. I so wanted Egwene to survive! I also thought it was tremendously sad when Rand felt her die, relived some of things he said to her back in book 1 when he still thought he'd marry her, then xxxxxxxxxxxxx. (Yeah, I wrote something there but it was from a later chapter. I read ahead one chapter so I deleted what I said. I'll put it in next week. :D) Like I said, I cry over this part a lot. 

9. 
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Elayne, having suffered huge losses for the whole battle, is taken by Mellar, threatening to cut her babies out.  What will come of this?  Is Birgitte now permanently dead, or is she just waiting on the other side for the Horn to blow?


Holy World War II-level war atrocities! Somebody kill Mellor! There isn't a name bad enough for a guy who threatens to cut babies out of the womb. And Brigitte! I was so shocked by this when it happened. As we near the end, I suppose we ought to expect things like this to happen, but it happens so suddenly, after we're so used to having Brigitte around, that it totally takes your breath away. I won't say anything else about this story line, but keep in mind that Brigitte was a hero for the Horn before she was Elayne's warder, and Olver is trying desperately to get that horn to Mat...

10. Anything else you feel I missed?  Ogier?  Dragons?  The beautiful Shendla?  Demandred's approach to the battle?  All the minor deaths: Hurin, Mr. and Mrs. Bashere, Bryne and, dare I say Siuan?  Min's spy-hunting?  Leilwin?


I love the Ogier! I love that Loial and Erith are fighting side by side. It was so sad when he said he was still deluding himself that he would get to write his book. He totally thinks he's going to die. Poor Loial! The dragons are holding up better than anyone had any right to expect. (Go Aludra!) 

The Last Battle (Source)


The beautiful Shendla smacks of another aspect that Jordan wanted to expound on more, but obviously didn't get the chance. She's interesting, but very brief. 

I thought all the minor deaths were terribly sad too, but I liked the way they were handled. It would have been too wordy (already an 800 page book!) to go through each death in individual detail. Having Rand see them from afar and pass over them quickly might have actually packed a heavier punch in a way. I loved that. Siuan and Bryne were super-sad too. Like Egwene and Gawyn, if one of them had to go, I'm glad they went together. 

Two of the four Great Generals are gone. I think the fate of the battle rests squarely on Mat's shoulders now. 

And Leilwin. She's already done great service to Egwene, but now Egwene has left her in charge of breaking the seals at the right moment. (No pressure or anything.) Obviously keeping Leilwin close was not only a smart decision, but absolutely necessary.

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Extras:

Don't have much to say here. (Shocking, I know.) But I think we covered everything pretty well. Just, I loved this whole chapter and cried. A lot.

What other bloggers thought:     Dab of Darkness     Coffee, Cookies & Chili Peppers

What did everyone else think of this gargantuan chapter?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Follow Friday: Books on Fire + Friday Funnies

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!



Your house is burning down and you have time to select three books you own to take with you. What three books? - Suggested by Alison Can Read. 


Okay, this is kind of a tricky question and I'm going to be super-nerdy about it. First of all, no matter how much I love my books, I don't think they are what I'd think about if my house was on fire. I'm first dive for my 4-year-old niece and sisters (whom I live with). But, assuming everyone is safe and that I can get to three books without risking any lives...

Yeah it's still a tricky question. The obvious answer is to save my ipad because it has hundreds of books on it, and I can always download and read my faves there, even if the print versions get burnt up.

Beyond that, because I'm religious, I'd probably save my scriptures. I've had the same set since I was eight years old and they have literally hundreds of annotations that couldn't be recovered. 

After that, I don't know. I have some collectible classics. They're still replaceable, but more expensive than most of the other hard or paperbacks I have. So, I guess those would be my considerations. In that order. :D

How about you? What books would you save?



Welcome to Friday Funnies! Because everyone needs a good laugh on Friday.

Just some random things that made me laugh this week. Enjoy! :D



(Yeah, definitely NOT!)






(The comments are what make this so hilarious!)





(I think all writers can relate to this on some level.)





(Probably only funny to TWD fans and--as with all TWD memes--extremely insensitive, but I spit out my water when I saw it, so had to include it.)



Hope some of these gave you a laugh. Everyone have a safe and wonderful weekend!

3 Things You MUST Remember When Establishing a Villain's Arc

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Villains are some of the most fun, complex characters to write. Depending on your story, your villain can be deep, shallow, funny, creepy, or just about anything in between. Unless we're writing very simplistic children's stories, most of us prefer complex villains, because that makes them more compelling. The more flawed and human they are, the more relatable, which we all know makes for better writing. 

So, here are three things every writer MUST consider when planning a villain's character arc.

1. Villain Psychology -- Here's the thing about villains. They actually want all the same things as heroes and regular people who don't engage in evil and/or douche-baggery. They want love, happiness, peace, justice, etc. The major difference is that villains, unlike heroes, no longer have the hope that they can obtain these things. They have a very negative outlook on the world, so they try to force people to give them these things in various, nefarious ways (i.e. violence, deceit, scheming, etc.)

Another thing to keep in mind is that, despite all their swagger, pride, self-confidence, etc., at their core, they actually have very low self-esteem, a very negative outlook on life and, more often than not, they hate themselves. The more evil your villain is, the more deep their self-hatred. That's important. If a person truly has awesome self-esteem and self-love, they don't feel the need to dominate and hurt others. 

(Keep in mind that the villain will generally not admit any of this, even to themselves. They themselves may not realize this. Also, none of this nullifies their free will. They still have to be held accountable for their actions, but it's important to understand their psychology.)

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2. Why they do what they do (OODs). I have an entire post about Objects of Desire, or OODs HERE but the gist is that every character, villain or not, needs at least two: one tangible, one intangible. The tangible one is the thing that they are actually trying to obtain in the story. The intangible one is a more general life philosophy. 

For example, your villain may want money, revenge, power, world domination, etc. That's his or her tangible OOD. But the one I want to talk about that most writers fail to take into account is the intangible OOD. So what is it for a villain? 

As I said above, it's really the same as for heroes, at least up to a point. But here's the rub: really bad villains can reach a point where they no longer want those good things. They no longer want to be saved. They can get to a point where they hate themselves so much, they wish for annihilation. 

I started thinking about this while re-reading Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson's A Memory of Light. Check out this line:
Rand (good guy): "If my victory is not assured, neither is your fall. Let me pass. For once, make the choice you know you should."
Moridin (really bad guy): "Now? Now you beg me to return to the light? I have been promised oblivion. Finally, nothing, a destruction of my entire being. An end. You will not steal that from me...By my grave, you will not!"
Keep this in mind when crafting your villains. Of course redemption is always a possibility, but the more evil they are, the more likely they have given up on redemption all together and wish only to be nothing. 

3. The Arc and Where They Are On It


On the left of this arc is a villain who actually borders on good. You'll find people like anti-heroes and very sympathetic villains here. Their motivations might change throughout the story to where we hardly consider them villains anymore at all.

On the right are the really far-gone bad guys. We're talking Mister Kurtz (Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness), Hannibal Lector, and other seriously evil baddies who are nowhere near redemption. Quite the opposite.

When planning your villain, place them somewhere on this arc. Do they still have a great hope of redemption? Are they too far gone to want anything but oblivion? Are they somewhere in the middle, straddling the precipice between the two?

What do you think of the Villain OOD Arc?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Roth

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I was so glad to finally be able to read the third and final installment of this trilogy. I loved the first two books and have been looking forward to reading Into the Still Blue for some time.

Plot: Into the Still Blue picks up where book 2 left off. Aria and Perry have lost a lot, including friends and family. They're surrounded by enemies and trying to find a way into the peace of the Still Blue. It's hard to describe the plot without giving spoilers, especially for those who haven't read the first two books, so I'll just say it's more of the same. But I don't mean that in a bad way. The story goes where you want to see it go and we get more adventures with this world's favorite power couple. :D

Characters: I liked that the characters stayed very true to themselves and each other. The two main characters, even more than the world are what makes this trilogy worth reading. Book 3 does not disappoint in this regard.

Writing: As always, Roth's writing is very good. I always kind of wish that her imagery was a bit more vivid. I can always visualize the action, but not always the setting. That said, her writing is easy to read and you just fly through it.

Ending: I won't spoil, but I thought this was a very fitting ending to the trilogy as a whole. I didn't see any glaring holes or spot any major elements that were unresolved. I was highly satisfied with how it ended. More so, I will say, with how the Divergent series resolved. This just fit.

Overall: Okay, one thing I will say is that I had a hard time getting back into the story. I don't think this had anything to do with the story itself or the characters or the writing. It was just me. Perhaps if I had re-read the first two books (I really didn't have time) to re-familiarize myself with the story, it would have been better. As it was, I just couldn't get super-excited about the final installment of this series, despite how good it was. But I have a hard time with most YAs anyway, and I think I was just kind of over it. But if you like YA, if you liked the first two books, if you're big on dystopian, you'll probably love it. I really liked it, but it wasn't my favorite.

Has anyone else read Into the Still Blue? What did you think of it?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Heroines + Teasers

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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This week's teasers come from Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. I was supposed to read this last week, but couldn't get around to it. Excited to read it now, though! :D

"...The two armies stood facing each other, tense and alert, each biting their promise between their teeth. 
Or their lie. 
Akiva realized he'd been expecting this success, because he was unsurprised by it. He was pleased--or a greater word for pleased. Moved. Grateful, to the full reach of his soul. The detente held. 
Until it didn't." (pg. 114)

What are you reading this week?


Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Top 10 Favorite Book Heroines from Books, TV or Movies 

This is gonna be hard. Not because I can't think of any, but because there are too many awesome ladies out there. How to confine it to ten?



10. Michonne, Carol Peletier and Beth Green of The Walking Dead - I had to give a shout out to the heroines of my favorite TV show. Keep in mind I love these characters in the show, not the comics. (I'm sure they're awesome in the comics too, but I've never read them and I know there are major differences.)





9. Kaylee Kavanaugh of Soul Screamers - I loved this series! Had to love Kaylee! :D


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8. Tris Prior of Divergent - Though like many others, I was a bit underwhelmed with how the trilogy ended, I still loved the journey and I loved Tris!


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7. Hermione Granger of Harry Potter - Yeah, I know we'll see tons of Hermione and Katniss today, but for good reason. They both gotta make my list. 


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6. Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games - Ditto #7.





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5. Daenarys Targaryen of A Song of Ice and Fire - Repressed and abused, she still became strong. When she lost everything, she fought back, raised an army, and decided to take back her kingdom. Love her!

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4. Arya Stark of A Song of Ice and Fire - Ever adventurous and brave to a fault, you just can't help but always turn the page to see where her heart will take her.


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3. Aviendha of Wheel of Time - She embodies every good quality of a strong woman. Warrior, courageous, kind, honorable, nurturing (sort of) and, you know, total badass. :D





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2. Egwene al'Vere of Wheel of Time - Down to earth, smart, a leader. The way her story line ends always makes me cry, but I just love her!



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1. Nynaeve al'Meara of Wheel of Time - Perhaps my favorite heroine of all time, I'll always love her character and her story arc.





Who are your favorite heroines?