Originally Answered: Strong women in fantasy books suggestions?
There are actually a number of great high fantasy books with strong female protagonists. Before I list them, you should check out the works of Sherri S. Tepper and Octavia Butler, respectively. Tepper is a definite feminist, and she explores a lot of female-as-leaders themes, especially in The Gate to Women's Country. For Butler, check the book Kindred. Outstanding. Now for the high fantasy, with summaries from teenbookapocalypse.blogspot.com:
Alanna, the First Adventure: Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce - Alanna and her twin brother are sent to school, he to be a knight and she a convent lady. Neither of them happy, they switch roles. Soon Alanna, disguised as a boy, is earning the admiration of all for her work ethic and thirst for knowledge. However, a recurring vision of a black stone city that emanates evil plagues her. A four part series, the adventures of Alanna are a great read for younger teens, and a good introduction to high fantasy.
Dealing with Dragons: the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede - The author plunders various fairy tales in creating the story of Cimorene, princess of Linderwall. Always slighted because of her tomboy behavior, Cimorene willingly chooses to be the prisoner of a dragon rather than suffering as a second-class princess in the castle. Soon, her intelligence and compassion prove make her an invaluable ally to the mostly kind but misunderstood dragons.
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley - Aerin is a disappointment to the kingdom: a princess whose "witchwoman" mother bewitched the king and died without leaving a male heir. Aerin upholds her poor reputation with wild behavior. Unexpectedly, though, the long-dormant powers of her mother call Aerin into duty to her homeland that she can't refuse. Rollicking action and a sympathetic protagonist move the story along.
Into the Land of Unicorns: the Unicorn Chronicles by Bruce Coville - I know what you are thinking. Unicorns? Well these unicorns don't exactly eat clouds and fart rainbows. Cara falls into the land of Luster with a magic amulet, which she must deliver to the unicorn queen. Accompanied by various inhabitants of the land, she makes the journey, overcoming one deadly obstacle after another, including attacks by a dragon and her deadbeat father. Coville creates very compelling characters and smooth dialogue which drive the story.
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley - The Arthurian legend is re-told from the point of view of the women behind the throne. Gwenwhyfar (Guinevere) and Morgaine use Arthur as a puppet to promote their respective world views - Christianity vs. Faery, God vs. Goddess, progress vs. the old ways. Ms. Bradley's gift for moving dialogue and descriptive action moves the story along in a way the reader will not forget. Another reminder that men may hold the power, but women often control the men.
Poison by Chris Wooding - Poison is a black-haired girl with violet eyes who lives in the Black Marshes, a remote human settlement on the edge of the Phaerie Realm. When the girl's baby sister is kidnapped, Poison sets out with her mentor, the elderly Fleet, to rescue her. Foul weather, nasty fairy tale creatures, and horrific situations stand between Poison and a final confrontation with the Lord of Phaerie. A relentlessly dark story that will appeal to those who love Gothic fantasy or horror.
Sabriel by Garth Nix - In a mystical land, Sabriel takes up her father's duties as a necromancer who returns troubled souls back to the land of the dead. This duty requires her to travel to the realm of Death where she faces all manner of evil beings wishing to escape to the land of the living to wreak destruction. As a bonus, she finds unexpected romance along the way. The way Nix melds a recognizable modern world with one of magic sets this series apart from everything else.