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3 Female-Positive Classic Fantasy Novels Worth (Re)reading

Danielle Loewen
7 min readFeb 28, 2021

For me, one of the delightful side-effects of weathering 2020 has been delving into the books I already had on-hand. As an avid reader on an unusually tight book budget, I was pushed towards ransacking my backlog of unread books and revisiting some of my all-time favourites from my teens and twenties.

Hello old friends, it’s been a while, I thought as I combed the stacks for likely reads. A few I re-read and decided it was time to discard them, despite having moved them across the country more than once. Time had done them no favours, and their magic had soured. Their settings or their characters could not keep up with changing tastes and paradigms. It was time to clean them out and open up space on my perpetually overflowing shelves.

A few gems, I was happy to find, had actually aged well: their characters remained compelling, their themes remarkably relevant — even if their covers were sometimes charmingly cringe-worthy.

Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight (1968)

As we all know from GoT, what could be better than flying on the back of a dragon? Flying on the back of your very own telepathic dragon, that’s what. McCaffrey’s novels are a staple of science fiction/fantasy by women in the 70s and 80s, when there was only a handful of ladies writing and succeeding in the genre. I distinctly remember picking up one of her novels at a library book-sale, where they were getting rid of tattered and much-loved copies. It turned out to be a godsend for fantasy-loving, 14-year-old me. I’d already read my way through the meagre selection available in my school’s library (two whole shelves!!) and I knew I’d found my niche but not my tribe. I’d even read the whole Silmarillion, which was great for my nerd-cred but did nothing for my soul. And then I found The Dragonriders of Pern.

What it’s about:

Dragonflight primarily follows the story of Lessa, a crafty and intelligent woman robbed of her birthright while she was still a child. She’s been in hiding for years, biding her time until she can uproot the greedy…

Danielle Loewen

she/her | reader | queer feminist | recovering academic | body lover | gamer | poet & fabulist