When I’m asked to give recommendations for Young Adult books that have a strong female lead character, my go to, since I first encountered Richelle Mead’s writing, has always been Rose Hathaway. Rose is the only daughter of the infamous Moroi mobster, Abe Mazur, and the well-known Dhapmir Guardian Janine Hathaway.
Lost yet? Here’s a quick breakdown for you:
Dhampirs are half-Moroi, half-human, and are usually trained to be guardians of the Moroi, against the Strigoi.
Moroi are benevolent vampires, who are alive, mortal and born (as opposed to made)
Strigoi are undead, immortal, and are made as opposed to being born.
Rose is the narrator and heroine of the Vampire Academy books, and makes subsequent appearances in the Bloodlines series, although to a much lesser extent. She’s of Scottish and Turkish decent, and is seen as somewhat of an semi-exotic desert beauty at St. Vladimir’s Academy. Her best friend, Vasilisa ‘Lissa’ Dragomir is a Moroi Princess, and the last surviving member of her family. At 15, Rose and the Dragomir family are involved in a horrific car accident that kills everyone, except Lissa. Tapping into her power of ‘Spirit’, she is able to save Rose’s life; but it comes at a cost.
At the beginning of the series, Rose and Lissa have been on the run from St. Vladimir’s in order to protect Lissa from the demons that haunt her; the demons of her magically ability – Spirit. Upon their return to the Academy, Rose is forced to attend regular training sessions with Dimitri Belikov, one of the Guardians who returned the girls to St. Vladimir’s.
Rose happens to be one of my favourite female leads, because she’s a well-rounded character. She’s aggressive, protective, confident, sexy and is a smart-ass to boot. She comes across as being a real person, dropped into a fictional world. People can relate to Rose and her struggles, because these are struggles that young adults face on a daily basis. Problems of fitting in at school, or being an outcast, are all addressed throughout the novels, and as the novels progress, the characters continue to grow and expand, just like teenagers do.
Being so well written, Rose is a very relatable character, especially for young women. Yes, she parties and drinks and there are boyfriends in the picture, and Rose often seems to go looking for trouble, but she also has a very strong moral compass. She’s flirty with other males, and is occasionally seen as promiscuous, but she does not sleep with anyone except her future partner. She becomes more responsible and grounded as the series’ carry on, and finds herself weighing the information before rushing into things.