Author: G.A. Aiken
Release: August 27th, 2019
Received: Goodreads Giveaways
Warnings: Animal death, hints at sexual assault
I received a copy of The Blacksmith Queen through Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Blacksmith Queen is the first novel in a new series by G.A. Aiken, the Scarred Earth Saga. This is admittedly a very evocative name. Between that and the cover, I just knew I had to give this series a try.
The series itself fits into Aiken’s Dragon Kin series – but you honestly don’t need to be familiar with that world in order to understand or appreciate this tale. I had no troubles, and G.A. Aiken is new to me (clearly I’m going to have to check out the rest of her works now).
The novel follows Keeley Smythe – a brilliant blacksmith and a woman unceasingly loyal to her family. Keeley is a rare gem. She’s strong, confident, and always willing to do whatever it takes to protect her family. Even if that means picking up a crown and going to war.
Warnings: The Blacksmith Queen has a few heavier moments, including some animal death (one most notably, and you can almost see it coming). There are also some hints to rape and sexual assault, but nothing overly detailed.
The Blacksmith Queen was a fun and fast-paced read. I ended up losing an entire night to this novel, having made the mistake of picking this one up at eight pm, and not putting it down until I was finished. But it was worth it.
I absolutely adored Keeley and (most) of her family. She was such a unique character. She didn’t fit into the stereotypical fantasy female description – and that was fantastic. Keeley was her own character, through and through. Her toughness was balanced out perfectly with her love. Her love for being a blacksmith. Her love of her family. Her love of animals.
As for the plot she found herself thrown into? I loved that as well. The Blacksmith Queen takes the idea of a prophecy and turns it upside down, resulting in chaos. Though there were some amusing times as well. The plot was intense at times. But it also allowed for breaks in the tension – laugh out loud moments that I really appreciated.
G.A. Aiken used repetition to help solidify the characters, and give a semblance of order to the world. It was quite clever. There was one reference in particular (involving Keeley’s cousin) that I swear got funnier every time it came up.
Everything about this novel was slightly atypical, from the main character right down to the romantic subplot. And honestly? It was so refreshing, I can’t even put the proper words in place to explain how it made me feel. I love how different and unique this telling was, while not straying too far from what I was hoping for.
I haven’t read any of G.A. Aiken’s other works, so I can’t really make any comparisons here. Nor can I say how well it fits in with her Dragon Kin series. But I will say that I loved this novel, and am looking forward to digging through her back catalog of books. So I hope that says something to her fans about The Blacksmith Queen.