Oct 17 2011 12:30pm

Open Letter to Kick-Ass Heroines: I Don’t Want Your Life

Friday Night Bites by Chloe NeillI love strong heroines. Whether it’s romance or urban fantasy, if the main character can’t hold her own, we’re not friends. Generally, they’re people I identify with or want to be more like. That said, some of my absolute favorite main characters—the ones who embody inner strength—I would never want to swap lives with.

You know those wicked plot twists that leave you chucking the book or crying? These heroines have run the gauntlet and get hit with one trauma after another. So, while I love them, here are my top three heroines I would never switch lives with.

And to explain why, I have to talk plot. So, spoiler land lies ahead.

Merit (Chicagoland Vampires series)
Early on I might have said I’d step into Merit’s shoes. She’s turned vampire, and she’s pretty kickass at it. She has good friends and a hot-though-asshole boss in Master vampire Ethan Sullivan. Maybe I could swing that. I wouldn’t have complained about the abrupt life switch in Some Girls Bite… probably.

But as things progress, Chloe Neill has thrown one curveball at Merit after another. Maybe Ethan has to put up a front. Maybe the other guy she dated, Morgan, was only into her for political reasons. Someone’s trying to kill her all the freaking time, and those she’s supposed to be able to trust she can’t. And, really, I wouldn’t want to have to experience the end of Hard Bitten ever. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. As a matter of fact, I’d like to hug Merit. For days. She’s strong, and I love her for it.

Vampire Academy: Frostbite by Richelle MeadRose Hathaway (Vampire Academy series)

I read a lot of Richelle Mead. (OK, she’s an auto-buy and I’ve read all of her books.) She’s known to make things hellish for her heroines, while she balances this out with moments of extreme happiness, one couldn’t pay me enough to swap shoes with her heroines. Particularly Rose. (I know you Mead fans are thinking, “But what about Georgina at the end of Succubus Dreams?” Rose has it worse.)

This strong, feisty protector of Moroi (good, living) vampires finds herself in love with her mentor. He refuses her for numerous (and very good) reasons. Eventually, though, it just can’t be denied and they give into each other. It’s glorious. It’s what everyone was waiting for and then he’s turned Strigoi that same night. He’d said he hoped someone would kill him if that ever happened. So, Rose, having lost her lover the same night she truly gained him, sets out to find and kill the one man she’s ever loved. She finds him and he’s beautiful and charming and tries to keep her with him. And she still has to try and stake him.

Things continue to be a big romantic mess as the series progresses. It’s an achingly beautiful tale, but not even for Dimitri would I swap shoes with Rose.

Shadowfever by Karen Marie MoningMacKayla Lane (Fever series)

The heroine of Karen Marie Moning’s much-beloved urban fantasy series transforms from a naïve party girl type in Darkfever into a tough, save-the-day kind of woman by the time we hit Shadowfever. She’s resilient, she’s feisty and you can see why young sidhe seer Dani is drawn to her. But becoming Mac 2.0 involved death, pain and big-time trauma.

We may all want to see Barrons’s possessive stare, or be whisked off to a beach in Faery with V’lane, but let’s be honest, the other 95 percent of MacKayla’s time in Ireland sucks the big one. It’s a fascinating reading, but the tortuous steps Moning puts her characters through brings one assault on Mac’s psyche after another. Can’t blame the girl for wanting to stay Pri-ya.


All that said, I’d still likely be happy to jump into the shoes of Katherine “Kitty” Katt from Gini Koch’s series of the same name. And I’d slip into Sookie Stackhouse’s shoes if only to make fur babies with Alcide, then spend happily ever after with a certain Viking (I could make it happen. Let me pretend.) Power and ability to solve more problems than really anyone should have to make Anita Blake’s one I’d be willing to swap with for a bit—but I also have only read up to Obsidian Butterfly, so maybe my tune will change?

What about you? Which main characters would you never in a million years swap lives with? And is there one out there you’d be willing to go all Freaky Friday with? Do tell.

While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. She may also have a crush on Ian Somerhalder. He’s her off-season Alexander Skarsgard.

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Carmen Pinzon
1. bungluna
I enjoy reading about kick-ass heroines and alpha heroes but I wouldn't swap lives with any of them, except maybe Ms. Katt. Really, they are fun to read about, but very hard on a woman. Plus, I would end up on death row from murdering some of those alpholes!
2. McJane
I really want to step into Cat's shoes (Jeaniene Frost is my hero). Cat reaps many Bone-uses!!!!!
3. ChelseaMueller
@bungluna - That's exactly right. These heroines are incredibly fun to read about, but brutal lives to live.
Megan Frampton
4. MFrampton
I would absolutely not want to step into ANY UF heroine's shoes, but that's 'cause I'm a wimp. But especially not Merit's, even if it meant one night of fab nookie with Ethan. Because later? WAH!
Synde Korman
5. SyndeKorman
I would never ever ever want to step into the shoes of Rachel Morgan from Kim Harrison's Hallows Series, but I wouldn't so much mind tripping and falling into one of Sherrilyn Kenyon's heroines shoes. Maybe Tabby or Katagera????
great article.
6. Read Phoenix
Thou I have not read the ShadowFever series, I LOVE the other 2 series here. I am pretty obsessed with these, and you are right about both, they are strong! One can only hope in times of trouble that you (me) can only be half as strong.
Love this post,
8. Marina_roumpi
I wouldn't want to change places with Merit! I can take hardcore situations but loss of a beloved one leaves a deep scar (even thought I may be reversed, I don't know for sure I'm just saying)!

But I would love to change places with Kate (Kate Daniels series), Cat (night huntress, specifically during chapter 32) and I would give my right arm to switch places with Mac (fever series) being BARRONS Pri-ya just for a small amount of time would be great!

Oh and Chelsea I have a suggestion! since I'm reading Kate Daniels series and I'm absolutely and irrevocably in love with Kate (is that even possible?!) and maybe in love with Duncan (is that even legal?!) why don't you write a article with female characters we totally love?! My vote is for Kate! Thanks!
Hayley Hunter
10. Bookworm-at-Starbucks
Same, I wouldn't trade my life but there are a few I would but becuase their life isn't that bad, like Rachel from the Argeneua series but other than that, I wouldn't trade my life especially with Merit's or Rose's since I don't want to be a toy yo-yo to my boss or be known as a world-class slut to my student body when I'm not. Though I wouldn't mind taking Dimitri Belikov off her hands...
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