ARC REVIEW The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken

The Blacksmith Queen (The Scarred Earth Saga, #1)The Scarred Earth Saga #1,  I'm no stranger to Shelly Laurenston but this is my first time reading her under the name Aiken. I'm picky about the fantasy genre I read and I was hesitant to pick this one up fearing it would be overly dramatic, long winded, and full of political backstabbing bs but then I remembered who the author was and read it........And loved it. The beginning of the book with The Old King dying and the sons all killing each other off kind of reminded me of Stardust except less humorous and way more violent. I didn't dislike all the violence, because this book is full of it, I was surprised by how gorey it was described, again not a bad thing for me I just wasn't expecting it. True to form Aiken writes her female characters full of snark. With Keeley you see many sides of the strong fighter standing up for those who can't and when she's around her family you see a funnier side but overall she is protective. But when it comes to her sister, Gemma, you see a more childish side like picking fights doing things she knows bug her. Gemma and Keeley are both head strong and very similar which causes them to butt heads and argue at the drop of a hat but you see throughout the book they are starting to trust each other more and more and that there is love between them. Keeley has plenty of depth. Aiken wasn't gratuitous with the sex either, like some others, for which I am grateful. I loved how the story played out and how the narrative switches to other characters so you get the full picture, one reason I prefer third person I must know everything. I liked the characters everyone has quirks that make them unique and memorable. Caid, I really like, he's a good strong warrior and you can see the gradual change in him the more he's around Keely.

It all started as a simple journey protecting her sister, the girl who would be Queen, but turns into an all out war with Keeley in the lead. Keeley must now find allies to fight with her against The Old King's remaining sons. Overall, it was a fun read. There is no cliffhanger there is a definite end to the book but it's far from over.