★ ★ ★ ★ FOUR STARS
CURSING, FEMINISM AND A HAMMER TO RIVAL THOR’S…THIS BOOK WAS A PERFECT MIX OF HUMOUR, DEATH AND KICK-ASS HEROINES.
It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed the crazy, witty humour of G.A. Aiken. This book did not disappoint. As a fan of her earlier Dragon Kin series, I was holding high hopes for this book. It’s not often you find an author that can spin a tale of deceit, civil-war and love with a resounding dash of humour and characters you cannot but hope will surmount the insurmountable odds. In The Blacksmith Queen, Aiken managed this and so much more!
KEELEY – Easily my second favourite character. As a loyal, kind and gentle soul Keeley was very easy to like right off the bat. She had an innate goodness that extended to strangers, animals and friends alike. Despite this, her strength in wielding a hammer was impressive – as anyone who dared to threaten her family would know first-hand. The eldest daughter in a long-line of matriarchal blacksmiths – Keeley upheld the traditions of her family with pride and a personal love for the forging of steel in to weapons. What really endeared me to Keeley was her loyalty to her family. Not everyone with eleven siblings would make the effort to spend time and get to know each and every one of them. Keeley’s steadfast nature and kindness made her the quintessential heroine that we could all easily fall in love with! While facing insurmountable odds, Keeley’s optimistic dedication to free her family from being caught up in a civil war for the crown gained my affection and respect. How can you resist a strong, independent woman willing to fight wars for the good of the Kingdom and her family’s safety?
CAID – Loyal and constantly grumpy – Caid was easily my favourite character! I might have mentioned (oh…half a thousand times) in the past how much I ADORE brooding male characters. There’s just something about their deep well of annoyance at everyone and everything that gains my affection. As a warrior and son of the Amichai clan leader, he played a pivotal role in protecting Keeley’s sister after the witches proclaim her the future Queen. What really set my heart racing in this book was the gradual affection Caid began to have for Keeley. His gradual affection for Keeley was sweet to read. A brooding, warrior male paired with an optimistic, independent female was a tumultuously perfect read-at-first sight match. I couldn’t wait to see how their friendship and budding slow-burn romance would unfold!
SIDE CHARACTERS – This book had an abundance of side characters that I slowly began to adore. Caid’s sister Laila, and brother Quinn’s respective strength and craziness only made me fall in love with the Amichai’s even more! The craziness in this book only increased with the presence of Keeley’s cousin and sister. While her cousin Keran and sister Gemma were not characters I necessarily liked during the first half of the book, they slowly grew on me. I love reading about strong female characters and this book had a tonne of them! It was refreshing and highly enjoyable to read. The jokes and bickering between Keeley and her family were hilarious at times! They really knew how to get on each other’s nerves in a way that only family can achieve.
The use of multiple alternative narrations in The Blacksmith Queen made it interesting to read. I’m not always a fan of books that alternate between many characters but I was pleasantly surprised by it in this case. Aiken managed to cover a variety of concurrent events in a manner that left the ending slightly unpredictable, but also created a well-rounded story that was believable. She also gave an insight in to all of the characters, which helped me to understand some of the motivations of the less likeable characters – namely Gemma and Keran. I enjoyed reading about the influence past events had on their current perspectives and how this culminated in the decisions that would ultimately define them.
My only issue with this book was the abundance of swearing. I understand that while in a civil-war in which your family has a glaring target on their backs, you’d be inclined to swear but it felt a bit much throughout the book. The same effect could probably have occurred without such vulgar language. But then again, maybe I’m just a bit of a prude when it comes to harsh language. To each their own!
// what are your favourite books with alternative narration? does it add to character development or hinder it? //