ROMANCE

The Blacksmith Queen

Kensington. (Scarred Earth Saga, Bk. 1). Sept. 2019. 352p. ISBN 9781496721204. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781496721228. ;. fantasy ROMANCE
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In the Land of the Black Hills, the Old King has died, and each of his sons is ruthlessly battling for the throne. The Witches of Amhuinn, however, foresee a queen ruling the kingdom, not a king. Keeley Smythe is a renowned blacksmith who typically delights in the business that war brings to her forges. Yet this time, she will wield the weapons instead of making them, as it’s revealed that her younger sister, Beatrix, is the one prophesied to become queen. Luckily, the family is more than ready to fight the angry royals, and Keeley has a few surprising aides to help her bring Beatrix to safety. Among them a small group of Amichai, mysterious mountain warriors sent to protect the incumbent queen and their neighboring realm from the power-hungry heirs. Caid, a taciturn member of the Scarred Earth Clan with a reputation for roughness, is amused by Keeley’s outlook and antics and agrees to join her to face the oncoming threats.
VERDICT This new series opener from Aiken (“Dragon Kin” series) is a bit bumpy in its worldbuilding, but readers looking for a fantasy romance that doesn’t take ­itself too seriously will enjoy.

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