The Blacksmith Queen
If you’re familiar with Aiken’s straight up PNR Call of Crows series (written as Shelly Laurentson) then you kind of know what you’d be getting into cracking open The Blacksmith Queen: busty, strong, caring heroines whose romantic interests are in turns amused and bemused by them.
There will also be more than one deadly warrior, probably a couple of crazy berserker types, and lots and lots and lots of smashing fists and bickering. Lots of bickering.
The Blacksmith Queen basically takes these tropes and transplants them to a fictional fantasy world where the death of a king is causing political uproar as the sons jostle for power.
Unfortunately for Keeley, who would love nothing more than to continue working in her beloved forge, take care of her numerous siblings, hang out with wild horses, and continue to garner the favor of dangerous creatures (such as hellspawn hounds) by taking thorns out of their paws– the uproar comes her way when she saves a boy from being hanged by soldiers for hire.
Some witches have proclaimed Keeley’s sister the new queen, and now all the old King’s sons are headed her family’s direction.
Luckily for her, an estranged sister with secrets of her own appears, as well as band of warriors from the mysterious mountain country bordering the kingdom who seem intent on protecting the new queen.
Aiken mixes in dwarves, elves, centaurs, and mathematical witches. There is lots of banter, lots of siblings both loving each other and hitting each other, fights where the good guys basically wade in and make it a blood bath outdoing each other with their ability to take down human soldiers, and a little bit of falling in love.
This is really more of a Paranormal romance with D&D trappings then anything else, although I for one wished for a bit more of the romance. Still, its Aiken/Laurentson at her bickery/brawn best, so it’s a fun ride.