My name is Kimberly and I'm the reader/reviewer behind Wit and Sin. Wit and Sin is a website that provides honest reviews and publicity. I primarily read and review Romance titles, but I also review Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult, Mystery, and Non-Fiction titles. In addition to Wit and Sin, I am a reviewer for Joyfully Reviewed (pen name: Shayna) and Romance Junkies (pen name: Lily).
Reviewed for Wit and Sin
The Blacksmith Queen is a fantasy tale brimming with potential. A cheerful, caring blacksmith heroine, a staid but true centaur hero, witches and warriors, elves and dragons, battles and betrayal…there’s a lot in G.A. Aiken’s first entry in the Scarred Earth Saga that is of interest. With a bit more order, development, and breathing room this book really could have been engaging. Unfortunately, the actual story is choppy and overwrought.
Caid and Keeley have enjoyable chemistry, but their romance felt like an afterthought tacked on at the end, which was a pity. Keeley is a fun heroine who is loving, protective, and strong. She comes from a large and boisterous family and she tends to them all. Caid, in turn, is the calm in the story, a serious warrior who gives the audience a breather from the constant noise of the supporting cast. And the supporting cast does take up a lot of space in the book, but not in a way that felt organic to world building. There are dozens of viewpoint changes – not all of which felt necessary – and at times the plethora of oversized personalities detracted from the plot.
I admit I almost stopped reading The Blacksmith Queen because the first part of the book felt like a lot of flash and bang that didn’t have much substance. However, around the halfway point things take a turn and the book gets interesting, even if it doesn’t always make sense. I generally don’t put spoilers in my reviews, so unfortunately I have to be brief and vague. This is the kind of book where you just have to roll with whatever happens and believe the entire realm will agree with what they’re told without question or it all falls apart. For my part, the longer I think about it, the more I question the world and the barely-defined rules it operates on. Given their circumstances, there is no way the main villain could plot, arrange, and accomplish even half of what they did. The entire concept of the prophesy, the backing competing forces gain…none of it seems to hold weight. Even in fantasy literature, there needs to be a whisper of believability.
While reading The Blacksmith Queen I spent a lot of time feeling like Dennis in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. So why two stars instead of one? Well, for all its flaws there’s something compelling about this world. I want to learn more about the Scarred Earth centaurs, I want to see what happens to Keeley, and I want to discover what happens next in this bizarrely entertaining saga. So while I felt the story lacked development, what is there on the surface is interesting and holds enough promise that I want to learn more. And sometimes that’s enough.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.