The girls-disguise-themselves-as-boys trope has always been one that appeals to me.
Every writer handles this differently, of course, but the situation is generally pretty fraught because it adds the question, What happens if she gets found out? to the question, How can we save the world? And, of course, generally the girl is found out before the end of the story and generally this does lead to a crisis.
So, today Gail Carriger has a post at tor.com: Five books in which girls disguise themselves as boys.
Alanna, of course — Tamora Pierce’s Alanna from the Lioness quartet. It would have been astonishing if Carriger hadn’t included Alanna.
Sword Masters by Selina Rosen, which to me sounds a bit like a Mulan story — not that there’s anything wrong with that!
The Price of the Stars by Debra Doyle & James D. MacDonald, which is space opera.
To Play the Lady by Naomi Lane
Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix
As it happens, I haven’t read any of those except Pierce’s Alanna series. But I can sure think of quite a few more stories using this trope that I definitely loved, plus a couple of others that I haven’t read yet but have on my TBR pile. Let’s count ’em off, in no particular order:
Hunting by Andrea K. Höst. This is one story in which the woman’s masquerade is discovered, but everyone handles the discovery with fair to good aplomb.
Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett. I’m laughing just thinking of this story. Actually, this would be a pretty good introduction to Pratchett’s work. But you could hardly say anything about it without giving away too much.
The Thousand Names by Django Wexler. One of my favorite books from recent years. I’m so much looking forward to the 4th and last book coming out next year. I’m going to re-read the first two and then go one with the series.
Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley. I do think it’s impossible to do a truly successful ending to the Robin Hood legend, and I don’t think McKinley pulled it off. But I like the book quite a bit.
Mairelon the Magician by Patricia Wrede. The sequel didn’t appeal to me nearly as much, but this was one of my favorite’s of Wrede’s stories.
Beacon at Alexandria by Gillian Bradshaw. I’m departing from SFF here, but this is quite possibly in my personal top ten list for favorite books of all time.
The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer. One of the first books of Heyer’s I read, and such a charming protagonist. I can’t quite sympathize with the male lead’s problem at the beginning of the story, though. I mean, he was just going to marry this woman because of quite mild pressure from her family, explicitly to let her family sponge off his wealth. Baffling. Maybe that kind of thing made sense at the time Heyer was writing?
A Free Man of Color by Barbara Hambly. The woman who dresses as a man is not the protagonist, but I like her a lot.
Okay, and that’s all I can think off right off, but here are a couple on my TBR pile:
Wild Orchard by Cameron Dokey.
This is a Mulan re-telling. I’m looking forward to trying it!
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen.
As in, Will Scarlet. So this is another take on Robin Hood. I wonder if Gaughen will pull off a really satisfying ending?
And, of course, I can hardly leave the subject without mentioning The Floating Islands