ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Princess Knight by G.A. Aiken

Thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! The Princess Knight goes on sale November 24, 2020.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Scarred Earth Saga #2
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

Gemma Smythe dedicated her life to the glory of battle. With her fellow War Monks, she worshipped the war gods, rained destruction on her enemies, and raised the dead when the fancy took her. Until her sister Keeley became the prophesied Blacksmith Queen, and Gemma broke faith with her order to journey to the Amichai Mountain and fight by Keeley’s side.

The Amichai warriors are an unruly, never-to-be-tamed lot, especially their leader-in-waiting, Quinn. But when the War Monks declare support for Gemma’s ruthless younger sister Beatrix, the immaturity of her key ally is the least of Gemma’s problems. She has to get to the grand masters, dispel their grudge against her, and persuade them to fight for Keeley and justice. If her conviction can’t sway them, perhaps Quinn’s irritating, irreverent, clearly unhinged, ferocity will win the day . . .


* * * Content Warning: serial rape and sexual abuse by a religious authority * * *

My ReviewThe Princess Knight wasn’t quite what I expected and had some bumps in the road, but was still an entertaining read. The Monty Python-like humor that amazingly colored the first book continues in this sequel.

As I’ve come to expect, love and admire of any Smythe woman, Gemma is unapologetically herself. She is self-sacrificing to a fault, odd, brash, and fights as fiercely as she loves. A woman of faith who’s brittled with faults, Gemma owns up to them, her past, and works hard to overcome the unexpected challenges she and others face in this book.

I liked getting to know her better, what drove her from home, what she had been up to for the decade she was gone training to be a war monk, and why she went home.

The arc covering her return to the co-ed monastery was the best, saddest, darkest, bloodiest part. There are great characters we get to meet; good, bad and crazy. I wish there could have been more scenes with Gemma’s mentor and her battle cohorts.

We get to know another Smythe sibling named Ainsley. The poor young woman. She just wants a purpose and to be useful and her siblings always forget about her or treat her like a child. You really feel for her plight. But I enjoyed Ainsley’s storyline and wouldn’t be surprised if she gets her own book. She is very much a Smythe with her own brand of sass and skills to throw around.

Gemma and Quinn’s relationship is like oil and water. It’s a comical clash of stubbornness, ridicule and teasing – mostly by Quinn. I adored all of their interactions.

I was surprised by the threats Gemma and company face and the effects of dealing with these conflicts. It was interesting to see different sects altogether; a sometimes amusing hodge-podge of colorful characters.

I enjoyed the previous book more than this one. Some parts stagnated but, as I mentioned before, The Princess Knight is still a good read. The ending of book 2 really opened the overall story up to really exciting possibilities for the next installment.

The Scarred Earth Saga series
The Blacksmith Queen (#1)

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