The Blacksmith Queen (The Scarred Earth Saga, #1) by G.A. Aiken
Adult High Fantasy published by Kensington on August 27, 2019
The Old King Is Dead
With the demise of the Old King, there’s a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king’s sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it’s all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.
Luckily, Keeley doesn’t have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned …
I have been waiting not so patiently for this book since it was announced and I was not disappointed! I love the zaniness of the author’s Shelly Laurenston urban fantasy/paranormal romance books and am just now making my way through her fantasy romance Dragon Kin series as G.A. Aiken. The Blacksmith Queen has family squabbles and insults aplenty like the other series. To me the silliness is a little dialed down from the Dragon Kin series or the Shelly Laurenston books but the book is still funny and overall delightful! There are plenty of battles and fantastical creatures although it’s light on kissing and sexy times in case that’s something you’re after!
There are a lot of players in the book. The primary main characters are Keeley and some of her family and then Caid and members of his family. There’s a kingdom/crown at stake, so there are royals as well. And then clans and groups of the other factions like the witches, centaurs, elves, and dwarves. And the gods are in the mix as well.
Keeley is a blacksmith, comes from a long line of blacksmiths on her mom’s side, and loves being a blacksmith. She’s so great! Caring, no nonsense, just wants everyone to be happy. But will do anything (a hammer might be involved) for family and friends (even of the non-human variety). I love her flaws and all. She steps up when she needs to, doing the difficult tasks. I definitely got Thor and his hammer Mjolnir vibes when she talked about how much she loved her hammer.
At first Caid doesn’t know what to do with Keeley because he doesn’t talk much or want to care but she’s persistent. I liked how their relationship developed over the story. Much of it they’re just friends then progress holding hands (aww!). But once they kiss (and more, finally!) towards the end that’s it, they’re all in.
There’s lots of fighting—both good versus evil battles and then family squabbling (usually in a loving way). Keeley’s huge family (her parents have 12 kids!) is awesome and full of surprises! I’m excited to learn more about them in future books. I sense there’s way more to her sister Gemma in particular and she’s already super interesting in The Blacksmith Queen.
I don’t want to give too much away about the fight for the crown. It’s not resolved in this book and I expect it to take a few more books to get there. Chess pieces are moving around on the board at this point. Keeley and her crew do have a base of operations and she and Caid are for sure together at the end of The Blacksmith Queen.
I loved this book. I laughed out loud several times—always a sign of a good Shelly Laurenston/G.A. Aiken book to me! Violence, family drama, humor, mythical creatures, and kissing?! Totally my jam! My one little complaint is I wanted more time with Keeley and Caid after they get together. More kissing, more sexy times! Also, this is the start of a new series so no need to have read the Dragon Kin series although there are some little Easter eggs for those who’ve read those books.
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