Are you a fan of captains Kathryn Janeway and Susan Ivanova? Think Rey may be the best new character in a galaxy far, far away? Then there are books to keep you occupied between installments. These are the newest in the tradition of female derring-do among the stars.
K.B. Wagers' Behind the Throne stars Hail Bristol, heir to the Indranan Empire, but until recently employed as a gunrunner. Hunted down by a superb team of Trackers, Hail is dragged kicking and screaming home to assume her responsibilities. She quickly befriends her Trackers, as it rapidly becomes apparent they are the only ones Hail can trust. Hail has to deal with her ailing mother, conniving relatives, violent revolutionaries, and an impending war before she can take the throne. With great world building involving a matriarchal society based on Indian culture, Wagers provides space opera with political machinations that would impress Machiavelli himself. The first book in a promised series, Behind the Throne is great entertainment.
The first book in another series, Lightless by C. A. Higgins, involves Althea, the caretaker of the experimental spaceship Ananke. When two revolutionaries hijack Ananke, Althea has to protect her ship and herself from both the interlopers and her own totalitarian government. This is suspenseful hard science fiction that raises questions about autonomy and freedom. If Lightless pleases you, the recent sequel, Supernova, follows Althea, now the last live human on Ananke, who has developed great powers and the AI personality of a teenager. As Ananke looks for the man who made her what she is, the two become involved in a revolution to take down the tyrannical Earth-based political system. Suspenseful and thoughtful at the same time, these books are for those who like some intellectual exercise with their fun.
Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention David Weber and Elizabeth Moon. Weber's Honor Harrington series is large and wildly successful. Consisting of the exploits of a daring spaceship captain, this is military SF in the tradition of C.S. Forster. Moon writes a number of series, all featuring strong female protagonists. Plenty of action interspersed with reflective moments explain her appeal.
Got other commanding women who run the universe? Let us know in the comments.