It’s time, ladies and gents. Who’s the baddest MF in the Fantasy world this month?
The previous Baddest MFs on the (Fantasy) World entries were male. I figure that it’s time to shine a spotlight on the ladies. I’ve reviewed many works that spotlight awesome female characters. But, because I’m a manly man, I’m going to spotlight one of the most powerful female characters that I’ve ever encountered in a fantasy work: Corinn Akaran.
Corinn’s a tough cookie (as are all four of the Akaran children. Her sister Mena is just as viable a candidate for this series). A “deceptively shallow” youth, Corinn seems to be more concerned with appearances than substance, which draws comparisons to Sansa Stark. But, where Sansa just kind of does that Bella Swan thing, Corinn grabs her situation by the hair and shakes the hell out of it. Sure, she’s a teenage girl and subject to all the whims of being one, but she’s also a princess, and is possessed of all the willpower and smarts of a girl who had been educated and prepped to hold a position of power one day. All of the carefree princess stuff changes when her father, King Leodan Akaran, is the target of a successful political assassination. As a result, all four of the children are spirited away to a hostile volcanic island, where the younger sister Mena discovers the slave trade that is the legacy of the Akaran line. The other three children are matched with guardians and sent to fulfull their separate destinies: Aliver as an adopted member of a fictional African tribe (the Talay people), Dariel as a swashbuckling pirate, and Mena as a faux eagle goddess/sword girl.
But Corinn’s guardian betrays her, and returns her to the now enemy occupied kingdom of Acacia, where she is forced to consort with her father’s killer and watch her adversaries destroy her town and distort her culture. Despite herself, she falls in love with the leader of her captors, and has a son by him. During her time as captive, she puts many plots into play that allow her to single-handledly reclaim her kingdom’s capital city.
Not done yet, she gains access to a text that contains the language that a human stole from a god, the language that the god used to create, oh, just everything that existed in the world (The Song of Elenet), and settles into the task of learning it like it’s a pastime that every young noble enjoys. Her single-minded determination and shrewdness allows her to learn the language while fending off political attacks from allies and enemies alike, and she soon teaches everyone not to mess with her. You don’t believe in Queen Corrinn’s policies? That’s cool, just don’t try to incite a popular revolution or she’ll turn your eyes to stone.
In later books, Corinn maneuvers her allies and her enemies with such political dexterity that you wonder whether she was ever that naive, beauty-obsessed child. She uses the Song of Elenet sparingly at first, working bits of magic for her son Aaden, but when it’s time to come out, decides on a display of exactly how much of a BAMF she is by restoring water to the entire Talayan population.
As if that isn’t enough, she also brings her older brother back from the dead, and destroys an entire group of the war-loving Numrek race, killing them all hundreds of different ways with just one song. Each move that Corinn makes is to further her political goals and cement the Akaran family as rulers of the empire for a 23rd generation. Despite her awesome power, she feels remorse at manipulating her siblings, and often seems like she’s acutely aware of her own fallibility. She’s complex, the nearest thing to all-powerful that I’ve seen, and POC to boot.I can’t wait to finish The Sacred Band so that I can see what other kinds of ridiculous power displays she has up her sleeves.