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The Scarred Earth Saga #1

The Blacksmith Queen

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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 …

304 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 27, 2019

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About the author

G.A. Aiken

54 books4,201 followers
A.K.A. Shelly Laurenston

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author G.A. Aiken, Originally from Long Island, New York, lives on the West Coast and spends most of her time writing and making sure her rescued Pittie doesn’t love everyone into a coma. When she’s not writing about sexy dragons, she’s writing about sexy wolf, lion, tiger, and other fang-filled predators under the name Shelly Laurenston. Find out more about this New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors books at www.shellylaurenston.com.

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5 stars
4,417 (44%)
4 stars
3,096 (31%)
3 stars
1,509 (15%)
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1 star
323 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,593 reviews
Profile Image for Corina.
778 reviews2,111 followers
May 26, 2020
OMG OMG OMG OMG - a new series by the queen of crazy shifters ♡

I'm counting the days...

4.5 stars

The Blacksmith Queen is the FIRST book in a brand new series. And I was elated when I realized that EVERYTHING I loved about the Dragon Kin series is incorporated into this new series.

The awesome and rambunctious characters. The over the top family dynamic that makes me crack up. The action. And the strong women that really are the center of it all. Everything I love and adore about this author's books was there. The guys that can't stop but fall in love with these women, including their crazy antics - this book had it ALL - and I was in heaven!

I'm so damn happy that the author started this new series. I have no idea what the next book is about, I hope it's still about Keely and Caid because their journey, at least Keely's, has barley started BUT I also can see so many future books about the other characters, especially the women.

The cast was amazing, very similar to Dragon Kin which will delight the fans.

There are still many secrets to uncover, and I mean not only plots but also backstories of many of the characters. The author built an incredibly entertaining and promising cast around Keely, and the possibilities are endless.

Even better, the world of the Scarred Earth Saga plays in the same world as Dragon Kin, and I'm a bit excited about a possible cameo.

I thought Keely and Annwyl had a wee bit in common, which delighted me even more. Like I said - this book made me very happy.

So, long story short, if you love fantasy, strong but also at times crazy heroines, witty dialogues, and lots of action, you'll enjoy this story for sure. You'll get sucked into a fabulous and rambunctious fantasy tale with centaurs, dragons, dwarves and elves. It's bloody and gory at times, but boy it's also entertaining from beginning to end.

ARC generously provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find more reviews and book recommendations on my blog.

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Profile Image for Zainab.
382 reviews483 followers
September 15, 2019
ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I hate using the word 'disappointment' for a book (I don't know why) but this was a disappointment.
One thing that matters a lot to me about a book is the dialogues. The dialogues were just so... bleh. I mean honestly they kind of felt childish considering the MC is above 20 (I'm not even sure what her age is tbh)
I really wanted to like this but unfortunately I did not.
March 21, 2021

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DNF @ 31%

Ahhh, I feel so bad, but this just wasn't for me. There is something about this book that has a definitive YA feel only with more swearing and bloodshed (but the violence is very cartoon-y, so it's not too bad). I loved the girl power elements and the flouting of typical stock fantasy tropes-- especially ones pertaining to gender-- but the constant bickering between the characters wore on my nerves because it felt so juvenile to me. I think people who enjoy Kiersten White and Sarah J. Maas will like this a lot. It just wasn't for me.

I buddy-read this with my wonderful friend, Maraya, so be sure to check out her review. I'm sure it will be much more positive than mine!

2 stars
Profile Image for Natalie  ~ The Biblioholic.
2,492 reviews1,206 followers
August 27, 2019
Shelly Laurenston... where have you been all my life? You gave me a story I could REALLY sink my teeth into. The Blacksmith Queen is full of non-stop action mixed in with colorful characters, witty banter, obnoxious silly fun, hilarious hijinks, and plenty of OTT moments to leave me quite entertained. I love when I try a new-to-me author and instantly become a fan. This story had swords clashing, magical elements, centaurs, dwarves, elves, and a mighty hammer. The women were fearless and the men WEREN'T intimidated or acting like fools. In fact, female independence was not only encouraged, it was NORMAL!! I even got to watch two of these wonderful characters fall in love amidst the constant battles, the infighting, the betrayals, the danger, and the quest for peace.

If this is what I can expect from this author, I've definitely been missing out! If you love strong characters, an emotional and moving story, along with a fast-paced, suspenseful and bloody plot as much as I do, you DO NOT want to pass on this book. It's got it all and I'm beyond excited to get my hands on the next installment.

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Profile Image for Aisling Zena.
633 reviews454 followers
September 5, 2019

4 stars

This was bloody and gory and fantastic. Keeley Smythe was a great heroine and one that I will love following. Her and her family made for some very entertaining reading. Shelly Laurenston/G.A.Aiken keeps faithful to her formula with multiple POVs and quirky characters.


The book takes place in the same world as her Dragon Kin series and I loved the way SL/GAA connected the two. The introductions of Centaurs, Elves and Dwarves made me feel like I fell head first in a more fun and gory version of Lord of the Rings.


The only thing that let me down was the romance aspect. The author paired the chaotic, strong Keeley with the grumpy, sour faced Caid which is her usual formula but I didn't feel any chemistry or heat or major attraction between them. The sex just felt like an afterthought towards the end of the book just to roundup all the bases. Other than that I loved the plot and the characters and cannot wait to read the next one!


Loving the premise of this! A prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne, fierce warriors that are really Centaurs, a badass female blacksmith protecting her family and an excerpt that makes me wanna read more. What else could I want? Oh yeah, this book in my library,right this minute!


Profile Image for Angela (Angel's Guilty Pleasures).
1,539 reviews861 followers
December 23, 2019
Audio Dec. 2019: Narration: Mia Barron did a fabulous job on all the voices. We shift through many different POV's in this novel. Which can be confusing, but Ms. Barron alters each character’s voice for the dialogue, making adjustments based on gender, age, species, etc. I liked Ms. Barron. She kept the tempo and silliness. Jason Culp did a the prologue which features the male scribe of the old king. I felt that wasn't necessary, but oh well. The audio was AMAZING and so much fun. It felt like the first time reading The Blacksmith Queen. I can't wait for the next book.

The Blacksmith Queen is book one in The Scarred Earth Saga by G.A. Aiken.

It’s in the same world as her Dragon Kin series, but with new characters and locations. We get demon wolfs, centaurs, dwarfs, and a verity of characters.

I love G.A. Aiken’s Dragon Kin series, so when I heard we where going to be visiting the Centaurs well I was ecstatic. I love the crazy over the top characters created and couldn’t wait to dive into this new series. Many say this is different from her Dragon Kin series. To me this series has some of the same undertones with the outrageous characters, snark, humor, and great world building. It does have more battles and violence then her Dragon Kin series.

I loved how we got multiple POV’s in The Blacksmith Queen. Aiken uses secondary characters to share the experiences and it offers something different and gives us a more menacing light on some.

Our heroine Keeley is a blacksmith. She’s rude, surly, and violent, but she’s fun, very protective of her family, totally selfless and thinks outside the box. She’s all woman and you know she deserves a big tough hunk.

The story was interesting yet simple. After a huge betrayal Keeley suddenly finds herself the next rightful Queen. She never wanted to be Queen and still she takes on the challenges set forth in front of her. Things aren’t ok! War has broken out with the late Kings children vivifying for his thrown and then theirs the issue with her younger sister. Then we have Caid and his fellow Centaurs who can only gird their loins for what might happen next.

As for the romance Keeley and Caid’s grew steadily, culminating in a steamy love-scene.

The Blacksmith Queen was so much fun. I can’t wait for the next installment nor can I wait to listen to the audio. It’s full of magical creatures, humor, and crazy family and friends.

Rated: 5 Stars

Profile Image for NAT.orious reads ☾.
833 reviews331 followers
October 8, 2019
2 unroyal ★★✩✩✩
This book is for you if… you find dialogue-driven and silly new adult fantasy novels appealing.

Anybody checking out my updates on this book should know I tracked this book a while ago already on here and then realized that what I was actually fawning over was this Realm of Knights fantastic NetGalley read.

[EDIT: I just found out G.A. Aiken has a dog on her Amazon profile and now I'm crushed I don't love her book. Dog people unite.]

’What the fuck,’ he muttered to the mare behind him ‘did I just see?’

Same, bro, same. This book was ridiculous, and not in a good way.

I had a hard time getting into this and the plot felt very forced and ungenuine. At one point I told somebody else that this book comes across like the dialogue-driven mocktail version of a proper original I didn't know of yet. I didn't notice how heavily G. A. relied on dialogue and that it seriously messed with the quality of this novel until another reviewer on here pointed it out. It hits the nail right on the head, though. Not only was there too much dialogue but it was also very bad and silly. What could have been a humorous book, just felt forced and annoying right around 25%. In general, there are some really funny lines in there but the overuse just makes it bland and exhausting:
Quinn stopped bellowing and looked at Keeley. ‘Yes, my lady?’ he asked calmly.
‘Your brother said to pull back.’
‘But he’s not my queen.’

I was also very disappointed that the author depicted all of the female characters she deemed powerful and righteous as violent warriors/blacksmiths. I notice and appreciate trying to give a wider range of powerful women roles to the readership - it's great - but this did not turn out well. While the villains all seemed like intelligent and resourceful vicious ladies, the good characters just pulled their axes to call it a day.

I agree that physically strong women with visible muscles and all are important. MY exboyfriend is one of these petty creatures stating women shouldn't have six-packs because it's not feminine, all the while sporting a beer belly himself [facepalm].

If the overall tone of the book went a little bit more like the following instead of just smashing heads left and right, that would have been great.
’But the thought of human men telling me what to do set my teeth on edge, so … you know …’ ‘As a human woman, I have to admit, I feel the same way.’

What’s happening.
The great king had barely taken his last breath before one brother took the head of another.

And this is when a wild and merciless race is kicked off. The witches have prophesied a new queen and the brothers will do everything to either kill her or instrumentalize her. Keeley will not let her sister be the puppet or murder victim of a bunch of entitled tosspots, but that is not quite as easy said as done
several royal brothers, all of them hostile and ruthless
traitor sister is super annoying
family can't stay serious for half a minute

sexy new allies in the form of changeling creatures
dire wolfs and wild horses totally kick ass
many shiny weapons and powerful women wielding them

Writing quality + easy of reading = 2*

pace = 2*

plot development = 2*

characters = 2*

enjoyability = 2*

insightfulness = 2* (it is possible, to mess up strong female characters)
This eArc was provided by Kensington Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much!
Profile Image for Mindy Lou's Book Review.
2,640 reviews609 followers
August 4, 2019
This was totally my jam! What a fun book. I just recently learned that G.A. Aiken is another penname for Shelly Laurenston, so I was thrilled to dive into this book.

It had everything I know this author provides. Her specialty in that quirky sense of humor she has, as well as an entertaining cast of characters and storyline.

You are getting quite the variety of characters in this book. Just in book one there were witches, Centaurs, Dwarves, dragons, elves, demon wolves and more. I have a feeling this is just the tip of the iceberg in this series.

The Blacksmith Queen is pretty brutal and bloody, what with a war for the Kingdom going on but I have to admit, a lot of that battling was more humorous because of the way this author writes.

This is not a standalone series but doesn't end on a huge cliffhanger, more of a stop to breathe moment. I had a lot of fun reading book one and I can't wait for the rest of the series!
Profile Image for Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨.
1,062 reviews611 followers
August 25, 2019

Actual rating: 1.5⭐️

I read a lot of fantasy. It was the genre that first made me fall in love with reading. So I might be a bit biased. This book seemed to make a joke of the fantasy genre and that really bothered me. I am all for trying something new and expanding the genres in innovative ways. But this one just piled bad on top of bad.


Dialogue: About 85% of this book was dialogue. There were no passages that weren't dialogue driven. First of all, that leads to a lot on confusion because actions, surroundings and settings aren't described properly. Secondly, it just feels static and monotone.

World building: Partly because of the dialogue driven plot, the universe of this book was so poorly explained and built that I hard a terrible time trying to get into it. There is no background story, no explanation of anything, just a cluster of strange fantasy-elements with no attachment to anything. Might just be the worst world building I have ever encountered.

Swearing: Now, I am not against swearing! I swear myself. But the amount of swearing in this book was simply off putting to me. And felt really unnecessary!

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Profile Image for Heidi.
1,201 reviews129 followers
January 6, 2020

This is the book in a series I had hoped Caraval was going to be (minus the YA level of violence).

The entire time I was reading this, I was casting characters, thinking of upcoming plot lines and wondering what story twists and backstabbings were around the proverbial corner.

Great world building, fantastic creatures and a family of humans to enjoy getting to know.

But as much as I loved all the action (beware this is bloody and very much rated R— mostly for language), I have to deduct half a star for modern language that just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the ambience. Dropping the F-bomb on a regular basis and using what is clearly modern sarcastic witticisms pulled my attention— basically unnecessary.

Regardless, I’ve found a new author to catch up with!! Hopefully the new one will be written sooner than later!!
Profile Image for Ivy Deluca.
2,144 reviews274 followers
August 25, 2019
The Sitch
This tale begins when the old King dies, his family immediately splitting into different factions, killing each other and anyone unfortunate enough to be close to them in the quest to become the next ruler. However, a prophecy foretells the rule of a new Queen. A commoner. Someone who’s going to be facing some big, big, deadly problems….

Anyhoodle, Keeley, our blacksmith heroine, is a caretaker by nature. Her parents depend on her to help them on their farm, run the family forge (a tradition that runs through her mother's side of the family for generations) and to raise the family - yes, all twelve siblings and counting. She’s all about her family and protecting them, bickering with some of them, but in the end, family is all to her. Her journey centers this tale and what happens when that prophecy decrees that her sister Beatrix is to be the next Queen. As you can imagine, there’s a whole bunch of people (and other creatures) not happy with this and it becomes very clear when the killing starts. While fighting, Keeley meets an envoy of Amichai, kilt-wearing centaur shifters, including Caid, a warrior who’s tasked with protecting the potential future Queen. Keeley and the Amichai, along with her sister Beatrix, set out to meet with the Witches of Amhuinn, the ones responsible for the prophecy. Along the way, alliances are tested, betrayals are inevitable, everyone’s in danger, snarky banter abounds and a (very little) bit of romance happens.

The Good
G.A. Aiken, aka Shelly Laurenston, aka my favorite author, has certain hallmarks to her writing. Her stories center around relationships, some romantic, some familial, all with a mix of biting humor and deep affection, even when those relationship insist on testing you. I adore her action sequences, because she’s great at setting the scene and she doesn’t hold back with the violence when necessary. Her heroines are typically strong, take charge, occasionally vicious, always smart, and best of all, willing to go ovaries to the wall to do what they have to do. Her heroes have their own strengths, appreciate a heroine who’s equal (or greater) and are not diminished in the least if they are occasionally the ones who need saving. Both fight for themselves and for what they believe in, and there’s usually some shifting involved, like lions, tigers, bears, dragons, or in this case, centaurs. So, I appreciate the way her mind works, the way she structures her stories, and her humor is very much in line with mine. Let me tell you, with the start of this new series, I wasn’t disappointed.

The ‘verse that she’s created here is set adjacent to her Dragon Kin series, but it is absolutely not necessary to read that series to enjoy this. Her worldbuilding unfolds in an interesting way, bringing the reader into this story by beginning with a minor character’s POV. It gives a bird’s eye view of the big players in this saga, and sets up the overarching storyline, if that makes sense. *blinks* If not, let’s roll with it. I loved getting to know Keeley and her motley crew of kin, as well as the herd of Amichai. Their interactions made me laugh, made me like them, made me invest in them, and by extension, in this story. Plus, I just enjoy road trip romances, since the potential mix of adventure and romance in close quarters is so high. Speaking of….

The Bad(ish) and Everything in Between
This is all about personal preference - I’m a self-professed romance junkie. It’s the thing that lures me in and keeps me hooked to a series. The romance in this story is NOT the focal point, but more incidental. If you are looking for a strong romance element to the story, this may not be for you. Personally, the story itself is intriguing enough to keep me interested, but the lack of romance is the only thing that I wish I had more of.

Now, I loathe cliffhangers, it is no secret, but I do not mind an “unfinished” type of ending in a fantasy series, which is what this is. I was happy with the way things end, because it’s not a sharp cliffhanger that would make me throw my kindle. It gave me a sense of resolution for this chapter of the story and left me wanting more. That’s all I ask for.

Yes, I loved this. I really enjoyed the fantasy elements, the humor and the strong action in this story. The dash of romance was nice, even if I wanted more of it. While I feel there is an “ending” of sorts, it is clearly only the beginning of this series and I can tell you now, I’m all in for this bumpy ride. If you like fantasy series, you may enjoy this. I definitely did.

**ARC provided by publisher via netgalley for review**

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Profile Image for Sentranced Jem.
1,059 reviews568 followers
August 11, 2020
Dwarves! Elves! Centaurs! Mages! …… Say what?! My first G.A. Aiken book and I am now officially HOOKED!
The Blacksmith Queen was an absolute delight!
I love the fantasy genre and G.A. Aiken has introduced me to her new universe and I am officially itching for more.
Where have I been all my life because I loved Aiken’s style of writing.

Keeley was such an amazing character. I really enjoy reading books with kick-ass, awesome female heroines and boy did she deliver. I think Keeley has become one of my new favourite fictional fantasy characters.
She is not your typical heroine… nah uh…she’s a Blacksmith. And her favourite weapon of choice? Her Hammer.. She can swing that hammer just like any veteran. She has broad muscled, strong shoulders that gives off a complete opposite vibe to her true nature of personality. Keeley truly is a kindhearted soul with an amazing witty sarcastic humour.

I won’t call Keeley humble per se hahaha She is an amazing Blacksmith and she is not ashamed to tell anyone who sneers at her profession. She is confident, I’ll give you that. Despite being such a strong character, I loved how vulnerable she could be especially when it came to her family.
Speaking of her family! I am completely obsessed with Keeley’s crazy chaotic family and I can bet that you will love them as well.

G.A. Aiken manages to capture my undivided attention with her story telling ability. When she describes the war scenes, the way Kelley swings her hammer with such ease, you can’t help but be completely enamoured by the scenes unfolding infront of you.

Caid is the PERFECT love interest for Keeley. The complete opposite yet so perfect: He is the calm to her storm, the voice of reason to her ranting moments, her silence to her non stop chatter 😂 But most of all, he is her protector, her partner and he lets Keeley be Keeley. What’s not there to love. Oh I forgot! He’s a Centaur 😮 ❤️

The Blacksmith Queen has an stunning cast of characters! The secondary characters deserve all the attention just as much as the main protagonists. The storyline is addictive. The humour is PERFECT! Oh! I laughed so much while I read this book (The author manages to insert moments of pure unadulterated humour without it feeling forced and unnecessary).

With mythical creatures, amazing storyline of warfare, betrayal, love and let’s not forget the hilarious humour, The Blacksmith Queen is an epic adventure and I am dying to read more!
What an awesome fantasy book!
You guys need to get this book ASAP!! You will not be disappointed at all!
Profile Image for Bex (Beckie Bookworm).
1,913 reviews1,218 followers
September 2, 2019

3.5 Stars.
I have read this authors dragon books and enjoyed them a lot so had high hopes for this new fantasy series and was pleasantly optimistic.
This was set in the same fantasy world but also completely separate so no need to have read that series before.
So this was told from multiple POV's and was set amid a civil war and power struggle by the son's for the human throne after the death of there father the previous king.
This is, in my opinion, is not really a love story it's predominantly a fantasy with some romantic elements and it is very slow burn at that.
This didn't really bother me but just thought I would put it out there so your aware.
So this is all about a prophecy made by the witches of a future queen.
Keely Smyth a blacksmith and the oldest of 12 is the older sister of this prophesied monarch and there is no way shes allowing her younger sibling to leave her family without her going along for added protection.
I adored Keeley and her larger than life personality, she loves all creatures including her demon wolf friends, is honest and straightforward, a complete chatterbox with a heart of pure gold who will do anything for her family.
Alongside members of her family, Keeley is also assisted by Amichai Centaurs who have come down from there home to protect the future Queen.
Caid of the Scarred Earth Clan was such a lovable bad-tempered grouch he also took a shine to Keeley along with members of his family these warrior Centaurs join her rag-tag group as they help deal with all sorts of creatures and plenty of magical mayhem along the way.
This had it all Centaurs, Witches, Elves, Dwarfs and dragons this really was a rich fantasy hotpot.
This had great characters plenty of humour and really was an intriguing start.
Be aware this also contains a lot of language and vivid violence throughout.
This is the first book in the series and though this doesn't end on a cliffhanger the story hasn't yet reached a conclusion.
So yeh I didn't rate this quite as highly as the dragon series I still enjoyed it I mean Centaurs hello! how could I not?
I voluntary reviewed a copy The Blacksmith Queen (The Scarred Earth Saga, #1).


Reviewed By Beckie Bookworm
Profile Image for boogenhagen.
1,981 reviews667 followers
September 8, 2019
I had a really great time with this one and laughed myself silly. Tho I can't wait for the sister to try to take on Anwyl- that made me laugh even harder.
Profile Image for Stacey.
1,447 reviews1,158 followers
September 12, 2019
I want more...NOW!!

The funny thing about listening to audiobooks is that you can lose track of where you're at. When you hold a book in your hand, you can see how many pages are left. You know by how many pages are left whether you're going to get a rushed ending or, heaven forbid, a cliffie. A few times, I can admit to getting to the end of an audiobook and sitting up in shock in a *what...what...what...where's the rest* feeling. The end of The Blacksmith Queen felt a bit like that for me. Sure, it ended off well with a happy for now vibe, but it definitely left me hungering for more.

G.A. Aiken is a wonderful storyteller and I was sucked in from the very first word until the last. The characters were original, funny and a wee bit uncouth. The amount of swearing was a wee bit OTT but I did get a laugh out of it. I am a huge fan of this author's Dragon Kin series and I feel like this had a similar vibe.

I absolutely loved Keeley and found her completely refreshing. She's strong, capable and very protective of those she loves. When one of her family is in danger, Keeley will do whatever it takes to keep them safe...even if they don't deserve her loyalty.

Caid is Keeley's love interest but, to be honest, the love story is not the focus of The Blacksmith Queen. In some ways, this made Caid even more appealing to me. We get to see him when he's not leading the battle or taking control. His appeal is in how he observes Keeley and is on hand to help and support her when needed.

I've always wondered how I'd go with having a hero that's a centaur. I mean...four legs and a big butt does not make me shiver in delight. I'm not saying horses aren't beautiful animals because I've always loved horses but stick a human torso on one, not so much. Well, somehow, it worked for me and I had no problems finding their appeal.

Again, I'm completely baffled why a male and a female narrator are cast when the majority of the story is narrated by a sole narrator. In this case, Mia Barron does the majority and I think she did a fabulous job. Her voice was easy to listen to and I had no problems working out when the characters changed. Even when a conversation happened with Keeley, her sister, mother and cousin it was easy to differentiate between them all.

I really enjoyed listening to The Blacksmith Queen and I will definitely be going on in the series. Whether I listen or read? I can't decide. In some ways, it was at times hard to follow because we are introduced to a lot of different characters. I did have to backtrack a few times because we had jumped scenes and I had to try and work out who was who and what was what. But...it was really good. I'm almost tempted to read it first and listen to it after.

If you're looking for a new para-fantasy romance, don't mind a wee bit of swearing and enjoy seeing the heroine take charge, I highly recommend giving The Blacksmith Queen a try.

Profile Image for Carrie.
3,085 reviews1,510 followers
October 14, 2019
The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken is the first book in a new fantasy series The Scarred Earth Saga. G.A. Aiken was a new author to me so I was not familiar with previous work but have read this series is set in the same world as an earlier series. Most readers are saying you do not need to be familiar with it however I felt a lack of world building in here and wondered time and again if I had missed something.

The story is this fantasy is told from multiple points of view during a time when after the death of the king their is unrest. A prophecy has come into play in the kingdom that a queen will be the next to take the throne which of course is not news the sons of the king wish to hear.

One thing I walked away from thinking after reading The Blacksmith Queen was the old saying not to judge a book by its cover. This one felt way too modern than I had ever expected it to be from the description and cover which really threw me off right away. There also was a ton of cursing in this one that also made it feel completely off from the type of book I expected it to be and while I’m not one that is opposed to it being f-something er other every paragraph it just added to my disconnect. In the end I’d say this was just a case of wrong reader since most seem to enjoy the story.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,080 reviews215 followers
October 9, 2019
I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


The Blacksmith Queen was such a fun book to read. I honestly couldn't put it down once I started (which is really hard for a fiscal year end close). Ever since the first sentence in this book, I was in love. I couldn't wait to meet all the characters and fall even more in love with this book.

Yeah, it happened. I fell in love.

Even after an interesting beginning (which was quite humorous) we meet our main girl Keeley. Now, she was lovable all on her own. She was like a bad ass Snow White or any other type of Disney princess - maybe Pocahontas? She loves animals and her family.. yet she is a strong ass independent black smith. #BADASS

There's a lot happening in this kingdom, besides the brothers going at it with one another. Long story short, a LOT happens in this book. From predictions to meeting some very unique and interesting characters along the way. I loved every second I spent reading and I can't wait to dive back into this book when the second one comes out.

Overall, so freaking happy that I got this and I really need the next one to come out right now.
Profile Image for Marta Cox.
2,544 reviews191 followers
July 24, 2019
When I choose to pick up a book by this author no matter what name she uses I know it's going to be a wild and hilarious ride. So discovering this is set within her Dragon Kin world had me positively salivating ! Does she include a Dragon I wondered and oo is this author sneaky because she not only expands the universe I absolutely love but adds Centaurs !
Ok the important things you should know are our heroine is Keeley and she's rude, she's a bit surly and she's very violent. Ok I'm not exactly selling her right now but she's also dedicated to her family, totally selfless oh and did I mention has the ability to think outside the box meaning she can run rings round those who get in her way ! Keeley might not be some pretty, young, nubile thing but she is most definitely all woman and you just know that she deserves a big, tough hunk of her own !
The story is a simple one in that following a huge betrayal Keeley suddenly finds herself as apparently the next, rightful Queen ! All would be ok but the late Kings children are set on removing anyone who gets in their way and then there's the slight ( who am I kidding ?) problem of her younger sister who is also prophesied as the next Queen. Keeley needs an army and luckily the Centaurs are set on helping her but no matter how far Keeley travels she will always be drawn back to her family who I have to say are totally bonkers.
If you pick this up expecting a hot and steamy romance you might be a tad disappointed but stick with it because this is only the beginning of what I predict will be a fabulous series.
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair

Profile Image for Carvanz.
2,037 reviews691 followers
August 11, 2020
This was so much more than I expected!

With lots of great world building, without being heavy handed or bogging the story down, the characters are introduced and the plot-line is set up. However, as things evolve more is revealed and some of it is absolutely shocking.

Lines are drawn but scrambled again as this heroine does her thing which is never what you’d expect. I loved her unconditionally. She’s so tough, strong and wickedly capable and yet she’s got a heart of gold and a soft spot that made her pretty perfect in my opinion.

Pin by Sherry phillips on trees | Anime wolf, Fantasy wolf, Angry wolf

The romance is definitely on the back burner but I didn’t feel it’s loss as there is so much happening that I was constantly turning the pages. Secondary characters were developed and given their fair share of page time which I hope means they’ll be having a story based on them as well. There is also a charming amount of humor throughout which this author is known for in her Shelly Laurenston books.

This sets up what promises to be an amazing series and I read it in preparation for book 2 so I���m able to quickly move forward and see if the promise continues.

Multi POV
Profile Image for Andrea.
877 reviews132 followers
August 4, 2019
Where has this author been all my life??? This was so deliciously dark and twisted, one amazing, hysterical ride from start to finish.

The old king is dead. His sons start fighting for the throne. But then they hear a farmer's daughter is prophesied to become the next queen - and so is her blacksmith sister. What follows is a wild and brutal battle for the throne - alliances are formed, trusts broken, and only one can have the throne...

I adored both the strong (slightly crazy) heroines at the center of the story and the lovely (slightly crazy) guys who fall -and I'm guessing will fall- for them. It was really awesome to have truly strong, female characters in the center of a story who have an actual bond and can co-exist without the usually cliché backstabbing. The bickering between the characters was hilarious, and the snark and sarcasm is just my kind of humor. I especially loved that whenever someone started wallowing in self pity (something I just loathe), someone else would stand up to them and tell them to stop being such a baby. I cannot say how much I enjoyed that, it was such a nice change!

I liked that for the most part, this was a really dark and bloody fantasy novel, and the romance happened gradually and didn't overshadow the actual plot. There was one sex scene towards the end, and it felt natural in the small break the characters got.

But, if you have a problem with over-the-top characters (i.e. parents pulling their grown up children by their hair, name-calling, shouting, and insults thrown around all day), this might not be the book for you. If you get squeamish at characters being torn in half by dragons and spitting out limbs, proceed with caution.

I can't wait for the next book in what promises to be an awesome series!!!!

*I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Al *the semi serial series skipper*.
1,654 reviews651 followers
October 31, 2019
Stop everything you're doing and read this book!

This was amazing! I got this book when it came out and then completely forgot about it. I started it last night and I had to weigh the pros and cons of sleep because I couldn't stop reading.

It was hilarious. I have read some reviews saying the humor bordered on annoying especially since some of the things were serious, I didn't find it so. I loved every bit of the humor. The constant bickering of Keeley and Gemma, Keran constantly sleeping off and even crazy Quinn was nice.

I also love that it featured strong and able-bodied women, when people saw Keeley's shoulders they knew this was was a strong, especially with her holding that hammer. Chunky Gemma's theatrics with the nun habit was hilarious every time she did it.

I usually hate multiple POV's in a book because I find myself only enjoying a select few but I didn't have that problem with this book. I felt everything flowed as it should. There was never a time I got tired of one person's POV and that in my book almost deserves a star by itself.

I love the Smythe/Farmerson family even though one of them is super evil the rest are pretty awesome. Archie and Angus were hilarious as well.

I really can't wait for the next book.
Profile Image for ♠ TABI⁷ ♠.
Author 15 books478 followers
Want to read
June 29, 2019
the blurb: 'a clan of mountain warriors who are really centaurs'

me, who adores oddball fantasy: yEssssssSsss

sees the author's bio & various shirtless covers of the other books she's written:
'When she’s not writing about sexy dragons, she’s writing about sexy wolf, lion, tiger, and other fang-filled predators'

me, who prefers to avoid "sexy" books: . . . yay
Profile Image for Michele.
1,174 reviews
August 27, 2019
4 1/2 "fantastical" stars!

The Blacksmith Queen delivers a new fantasy series, complete with a kick-ass heroine and a full slate of supporting characters, including a love interest that is perfect for her, a crazy family and some freaky, demonic wolves.

Keeley is an unlikely choice to be Queen but apparently she's destined for it. Not only that, the people need her to be Queen since all of the royals preceding her have been evil and self-centered and the current Queen is the worst yet. To accomplish this, Keeley has to recruit an army and other supporters so she is launched on an adventure which leads to non-stop action. Along with the world building and introduction of characters, there was always something happening. It was pure entertainment!

Seriously, what more could you want? This book is full of magic, mystery, betrayal, centaurs, dragons, dwarves, elves, witches and so much more. I enjoyed every mystical minute of it. To make it even more fun, there is some humor thrown in which alleviates the impact of the blood and gore of battle. I can't wait to see what this series brings next. I hope there is more on tap for Queen Keeley and Caid as I love how their relationship has developed and it will be interesting to see how that works out with her trying to become Queen over the entire kingdom.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Publishing for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kate.
2,053 reviews310 followers
August 27, 2019

The great king had barely taken his last breath before one brother took the head of another.

With that sentence I was hooked and boy did it get bloody fast. The Old King is dead and his sons are fighting for the crown and they are brutal, cruel and have no mercy.

Keeley is one of the kindest heroine’s I have met who really knows how to swing a hammer and is so oblivious to everything that you can’t help but not love her. She has her demon wolves with eyes of flames, the wild horses are her friends and she goes around saving strangers.

The centaurs of the Amicahi Mountains are sent out to find the queen and bring her to safety or the witches of Amhuinn to verify that she is the foreseen queen. Only the so called seer choses to queens. You can guess where this is going right?

While helping the stranger, Keeley is helped by the centaurs specifically Caid. Gosh, how I love the Hero who thought centaurs could be sexy.

I really have a bit stuck on how to review this book as well I don’t want to give anything away as it is awesome. It is well written, there is an extensive plot with so many possibilities. There is the typical banter and great secondary characters. I have read some of this author‘s books but under her other pen name. But this was truly fantastic for me at least. I highlighted at least half of the book. So that says it all really.

I mean we have a seer, dwarves, barbarians, elves, dragons and a frigging war monk. So cool.

My verdict read the bleeding book it is so worth it.

 photo New ARC_zpsdpyxs3wn.jpg
Profile Image for Annie .
2,428 reviews807 followers
August 28, 2019

G.A. Aiken, one of my favorite authors of Fantasy Romance, has a brand new series out! I’m so excited about this because I love her humor and worldbuilding style and I was curious to see what this new series is about.

Since I know many of you will ask, I think it’s very different in style and tone to her Dragon Kin series. I would say that this book kind of falls in line with her more recent Laurenton books which tend to be more violent. I’ve kind of grown used to this because all the characters here have that tendency to them.

The biggest surprise for me about this book was that it wasn’t as humorous or sarcastic as Aiken’s books have been in the past. Since this is one of the things that I expect in a Aiken book, I was a tiny bit disappointed. However, I still found this book to be very enjoyable overall. I especially like the way Aiken utilizes multiple POVs to narrate her story. But the catch is, she uses secondary characters to share their experiences. These are characters who might not be considered important to some, but if offers something really different to her writing and paints her characters in a more menacing light.

I am definitely looking for to the next installment of the series and if you haven’t already read any of Aiken’s books, I would highly suggest reading her Dragon Kin series. It’s amazing and full of fun twists and turns.
Profile Image for Choko.
1,175 reviews2,568 followers
March 27, 2022
*** 4.66 ***

Violent, brutal, over the top, ridiculous, and absolutely fabulous in that way only G. A. Aiken can do it!!! If you are a fan of the Dragon Kin series, than you will love this new series in the same world as well. Keeley Smythe is a blacksmith, from a family of blacksmiths, and her sister, who is quite different from her siblings, has been prophesied to be the future Queen... However, the children of the now dead Old King have a different opinion about that and the world as the Smythe family knows it is about to change for ever.

Did I mention the centaurs, dwarfs, elves and dragons??? 😎❤️😎❤️😎👍
Profile Image for Natalie ❀.
69 reviews12 followers
December 31, 2021
This is a multiple POV book, I think each character in this book had a POV somewhere along the way (and I thought the amount of POVs in SJM's TOG series was crazy). Usually I dislike reading such books. There's always this one character you do not like or you have to force yourself through the other character's chapters to get to the good stuff, or two characters "sound" almost the same and you can't tell which POV you're reading. So imagine my surprise when I couldn't put this book down and stayed up until 4AM reading it.

It is not your typical fantasy story, some may love it, some may find it 'over the top'. This is a story of a very peculiar family, some sociopathic villains, a tribe of centaurs, plus lots of dialogue and swift pacing.

And now to the good stuff or 3 reasons why I liked this book:

Centaurus, this was my main reason to pick this book, because sexy people-horses.

Keeley the main character is 'I Have An Axe For Every Problem' kind of woman, and literally a brunette version of Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones.

The romance between Keeley and a certain centaur. It's good, it's a slow-burn and definitely not a main focus of the book.

This book is a part of a series, but can be read as a standalone.
Profile Image for Lady Heather .
1,290 reviews700 followers
August 27, 2019

Publication Date: August 27, 2019

"5 - Just when you think you've seen it all, Stars!"

Holy Hell G.A. Aiken writes paranormal romance like no one else!

This book was WICKEDLY funny, OUTRAGEOUSLY over-the-top, and VISCOUSLY violent.

I found this book was a mixture of Stardust, A Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings

It was extremely entertaining and I absolutely loved Keeley's character. She was strong, kind, loyal, and compassionate.

This is who I pictured when I was reading her character.

Except instead of yielding a sword, Keeley uses a hammer that she LOVES.

The world G.A. Aiken has created is wonderful.
Her characters are strong, loyal, funny and well written.

I loved the dynamics and bantering between Keeley and her sister Gemma, but Keeley's relationship with Caid is what makes the story so good.

One of my favourite quotes in the book.

"Ahhhh. 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."

What a great start to a new series!
I had such a good time reading this book!

WARNING: This book does end with a cliff-hanger so be prepared.


"I voluntarily read an ARC of this book which was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review."
Profile Image for Kelly.
1,310 reviews501 followers
September 9, 2020
2nd time reading this book and I have to say I think I enjoyed it a bit less this time around. If I had to rate it, I would put it as a 3,75 stars but I'm not going to change it since it was still pretty good. I mainly re-read this to make sure I didn't forget anything. I'm happily surprised that my memories were pretty good for this one which is rare for me. Now I'll be able to dive into book 2 which I was lucky to get an arc of, without feeling lost and without missing any information. I loved being back with that crazy family and I can't wait to read Gemma's book and see how things go after the end of book 1. Again, this book is not for everyone. It's ridiculous and all over the place but I kinda love it too.


This book was AWESOME. And I can't wait for the next book in the series. If you're looking for a funny Adult Fantasy with great badass female characters, then you might love this book like I did.

I had absolutely no expectations when I first started this book and right from the start, I knew this book was going to be a four or five stars for me. I loved the humor in it and it left me a smile on my face for a while. I listened to the audiobook even though I had an e-ARC but I have no regrets because it was the perfect format to read this book. (It's available on Scribd, by the way)

The Blacksmith follows Keeley, a strong blacksmith who loves her family more than anything. She also love creatures and animals of all kind which made me like her even more. She lives in a kingdom where the old King died and the sons are fighting each other for the throne. There is also a Seer who predicts a Queen to the throne and it is Keeley's sister Beatrix. However, things will develop in a way I don't recall ever reading in a book.

In this book, there are Centaurs, a war monk, dwarves, even a dragon so it didn't have a single boring moment. Keeley's family is amazingly funny, crazy and loving and I ended up loving (almost) all of them.

I hope you'll give this book a chance because it deserves it!

(Thank you so much to the publisher for letting me read and review an ARC via Netgalley)
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