The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken

Have you ever read a book where you just could not decide if it was for you or not? Then it won you over right there at the very end? That’s how it was reading The Blacksmith Queen.

This book is about a woman named Keeley who is prophecized to become the new queen after the Old King’s death. To make it brief the Old King has died and his bloodthirsty sons are killing each other off to claim the throne. Keeley and her sister are both prophecized as the potential queens. In a wild twist of event Keeley’s sister turns against her and Keeley is faced with battling not only the King’s sons but her bloodthirsty kin.

I have got to say that this book is a little cheesy and I had a hard time getting through it. The main character, Keeley, her last name is Smythe, can you guess what she does for a living? Yes, she’s a blacksmith, hence The Blacksmith Queen. If that doesn’t make you cringe just a little her father’s last name is Farmerson, and yes, he is a farmer. The names in this book were not everything that made it cheesy, there is campy humor spread throughout the books and sometimes the dialogue is a bit off-putting. Here is an example between Keeley and a centaur named Quinn about a horse who’s offspring was killed in a previous battle.

Quinn studied the gray mare and the saddle on her back. “If she’s not your horse, then what is she?”

“A mother looking for justice.”

I just thought this was a little over the top and reminded me of a really bad action movie. I pictured Tom Cruise holding patting the horse while dramatically proclaiming the horse’s desire for revenge.

There’s also an awkward sex scene that I found off-putting. I honestly really don’t want to go into it, here is a weird quote from a romantic gesture between the two. Sorry, it might be a small spoiler so if you’re interested in the “mysterious” love arc to skip this quote and the following paragraph.

A hand pressed against his hindquarter and he recognized Keeley’s touch.

Yes… the romance is between Keeley and a centaur. It’s a little strange but also pretty cute. I am not going to hate on the love story, it felt a little awkward to me but maybe that’s just the way I interpreted it.

Okay now that I have gotten that off of my chest let’s move on to what endeared me to this story. The characters are badass. Keeley is awesome, her sister Gemma is stone cold, and their cousin Keran is a drunken disaster that I enjoyed every second of. This book is extremely explicit when it comes to the battle sequences, punches are not held and there will likely be scenes that turn your stomach a little.

Keeley is such an interesting character. She loves her family above all and is capable of making friends with the strangest of beings and animals. This includes demon wolves, a vengeful mare, and grumpy centaurs. Her ability to be likable while also being stubborn and flawed made her feel very well rounded and interesting. She is the kind of character you want to win because she doesn’t want the power she just wants to help those she cares about.

I struggled to read this book in the beginning and I don’t want that to deter anyone because it gets better. The cheesiness and oftentimes awkward dialogue are worth it because the characters are loveable and the plot is quite interesting.

I was originally going to give this book 3/5 stars but after reading the ending and doing some reflection I have deemed it worthy of 4/5 stars. This book captured my attention and with the flaws taken with a grain of salt, it is quite funny and ambitious. It seems that this is the debut of a series and I look forward to the next installment.

As always thank you to NetGalley and a big thank you to and Kensington Books for giving me access to this book.