*ARC Review* The Blacksmith Queen by G. A. Aiken 👑

Theme: a hilarious fantasy romance novel with the war and violence of Game of Thrones, but in a category of its own with its comedy gold and unique characters.

Nature of Review: I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for a review!

Release Date: The Blacksmith Queen is set to release August 27, 2019 and is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Chapters Indigo for my fellow Canadians.

Warnings: Graphic violence, mature themes including sexual content and language, and down right evil bitches. No doubt an Adult Fantasy, but good for those fantasy-loving New Adult readers, too.

But family is all. That’s what my father taught me. That’s what he taught each of us. But does it matter? Siblings don’t always get along.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Keeley Smythe has two loves in her life: her family, and her blacksmithing. Coming from a long line of female blacksmiths, Keeley is strong and savvy with her hammer- and not just in a work sense. Give her a person in distress, and she will slam a few faces in with her handy tool.

So when one of her sisters is fated to be the next Queen, to win the crown above the Old King’s remaining sons, Keeley’s first order of business is to protect her sister and fight by her side. Along with a few mythical Centaurs warriors, a War Monk, and Keeley’s drunk but deadly cousin, the fated Queen’s Court is ready to fight for the good of all lives in their kingdom.

But when betrayal and treachery reaches the Smythe family, Keeley will stop at nothing to save them and secure their people a better future. Even if it means risking her life for new alliances. Even if it means becoming a unlikely saviour. Even if it means dying on the battlefield in the bloody war that awaits.

“By the way, we’re not sacrificing this one for your gods. In case you were wondering.”

“I wasn’t wondering actually, but feel free to fuck off,” Gemma shot back before stomping off after their guests.

Keran glanced at her. “You know, I could be wrong but . . . it seems that nuns have changed since my day.”

The first thing I want to say is: this book is so damn hilarious. Yes, it’s set in a fantasy world with centaurs and dragons and dwarves. Yes, it’s based around a regular family that is pulled into war. Yes, it’s got gory battle scenes and bloody deaths. BUT the hook and sinker for me was the comedic writing that makes this such an entertaining read.

If this is starting to get your attention, then definitely read on!

The women in her family. They were amazing. And insane. Because you needed to be both if you wanted to survive this world the way they did. Making their own choices and rules and ignoring all the men who tried to tell them no.

The plot in this story was pretty original- and feminism, hell yeah- although some twists weren’t exactly surprising (but I don’t think it was a downfall), with a world that kept you guessing on whatever danger is going to come next. Will it be mage dragons? Will it be a deadly soldier? What about a stampede of centaurs or an army of wood elves? Every page keeps you on edge and waiting for the next development in this fantastical world.

“I’m not just anyone. I’m Keeley Smythe, best blacksmith in the Hill Lands.”

“I . . . am not sure that will impress them.”

“Typical. No one thinks they need a blacksmith . . . until they do. Then we are the most important thing anyone can think of.”

He loved how indignant she was. Because Caid had never known anyone who loved their job as much as Keeley.

The characters were also refreshing, each completely different from each other yet having things that brought them together as a loveable Court for their Queen. They were so endearing and each had hilarious quirks that kept them realistic.

“The world is filled with all kinds. Can’t go around ignoring the suffering of others simply because someone looks different from what I’ve seen before.”

I loved how Keely was not perfect in every way, but she was loved by her friends and her romantic interest because of how she treated them and her bubbly, kind personality. I loved how the evil characters weren’t just evil for the fun of it, and actually might not be evil exclusively, but they are antagonists in every sense of the word.

Usually, I’d criticize a book for having dialogue carry the story, but in this case with it worked so perfectly. The humour carried the plot and saved it from being boring, and the characters showed their intentions and personalities with their individual dialogue.

It was official now, Caid realized, when Keeley winked at him as she tortured his father with affection and then got her sister and cousin to join in. It was official that he loved her. How could he not love a woman who purposely tortured his father?

Also- I shipped the banter between Keeley and Caid so damn much. Their romance was so fun to read, and I loved their slow building tension. Agh, I need more! And, for anyone who reads this book, please tell me you ship Laila/Gemma too! These ladies were so badass and such strong, influential side characters and their chemistry made me ship them almost as much as Caid/Keeley. But is it weird for siblings to date siblings? 🤔

I really don’t know how to end this off, so I’ll just say: I loved this book. I loved these characters. I loved this storyline. And I need book two!

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