The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken
Series: The Scarred Earth Saga #1
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
When a prophesy brings war to the Land of the Black Hills, Keeley Smythe must join forces with a clan of mountain warriors who are really centaurs in a thrilling new fantasy romance series from New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken. 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 ...
Keeley is a blacksmith and loves what she does. She comes from a long line of female blacksmiths and doesn’t plan on ever doing anything else. She has a large loving family and loves taking care of them as well. When she finds out that her bookish (and she feels, not too smart) younger sister, Beatrix, is prophesied to be the next Queen, Keeley is a little skeptical, but totally supports her sister. When one of the sons of the recently deceased king shows up to execute Beatrix (they want no one on the throne but themselves), Keeley protects the family, along with her War Monk sister, Gemma, and four Centaurs called the Amichai that show up to protect Beatrix as well.
Keeley and Gemma get their family to safety after being attacked, and then make their way to the Witches of Amhuinn to verify with their seer that Beatrix is in fact the true prophesied queen. When their Seer stands before Beatrix she states that yes, Beatrix will be queen, but then she points to Keeley and states, and so will she. Beatrix isn’t happy about this additional prophesy at all. She takes off and no one knows where she goes after trying to take matters with Keeley into her own hands. After the witches stronghold is attacked, an injured Keeley is taken to the Amichai’s homeland to heal.
Keeley doesn’t want to be queen but after much deliberation and arguing she finally resigns herself to the fact that this is what needs to happen to save their lands. She then heads out to drum up an army.
This book was a good one. Set in Aiken’s Dragon Kin world yet far removed from the dragons. In fact Keeley had only heard rumors about dragons being real. I liked the characters and the beginning of what I hope will end up being a fantastic series.
I liked Keeley a lot despite the fact that she was rude at times and completely vicious when it came to fighting. Besides that she was a pretty darned happy person and liked to smile. People would underestimate her because she was a blacksmith and a fighter, and happy, thinking she was dumb, but she was actually quite brilliant.
During the course of the book Keeley starts falling for one of the centaurs named Caid. He falls for her too and endures endless teasing from his siblings. It’s hilarious. While they “get together” in this book there’s only a tad bit of what would be considered romance. Neither Caid nor Keeley are the romantic type so take that into consideration.
Overall I liked the story. There was quite a bit of action in the book (read: fight scenes) but it worked for what the characters were trying to accomplish. The Dragon Kin series books were definitely romance, with each book having its own hero and heroine – which was what I was expecting with this book. Despite my disappointment in not getting a true romance, I thought it was good. This book ended without a conclusion, so we’ll have to wait until the series continues before I can find out what happens to Keeley as queen and with her and Caid.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5