I'm happy to welcome Riella to my notebook today. Riella is a character in Tom Stacey's Exile and she's got a lot to say about women in historical fantasy. I should have my review of the book up soon.
Historical fantasy used to be something only men did. Only men wrote it or only men read it or only men enjoyed it. It used to be that women were relegated to helpless perfumed maidens in castle towers or filthy old hags that had only wisdom and stink to offer. Sure, sometimes we were allowed to fight: we got given elegant looking blades and revealing armour that was more likely to kill you through cold than stop a blade. If we were allowed to stand up for ourselves at all it was only on their terms, as objects for them to gawk at.
Perhaps more men do read historical fantasy than women. After all, they’ve always been obsessed with maiming and killing,...