Justice was a god, and Ayla didn’t believe in such childish things. She believed in blood.
This book worked for me in so many ways, and I can’t wait to boost it forever and always. Though I had some minor complaints, it was such a solid and strong debut. Definitely look out for this book when it comes out!
Also, thank you so much to Karina @ Afire Pages for letting me be part of the blog tour for this book!! I’m so honored and grateful for the opportunity to boost this amazing fantasy f/f.
Originally, Crier’s War wasn’t on my list of anticipated 2019 releases. But then it grew super big around the middle of the year. Maybe thanks to a few early rave reviews and the author’s Twitter account being amazing? I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m so, so happy that this book is getting the hype that it one hundred percent deserves.
Crier’s War is set in a fictional world ruled by Automae, Made humans who are naturally stronger, faster, and better than real humans. They were originally created by a human alchemist, but in the War of Kinds, Automae usurped the power, so now, most humans are treated with discrimination, because they are seen as the inferior Kind.
We follow two third person perspectives in this book—Crier, Automa daughter of the Sovereign of Zulla, and Ayla, a human girl hell-bent on avenging her family’s deaths at the hands of Crier’s father. In the beginning of the book, Ayla gets a chance to serve as Crier’s handmaiden, providing a perfect chance for them to fall in love *ahem* Ayla to exact her vengeance.
- Crier and Ayla’s relationship—it was the definition of slow burn! A lot of stories are marketed as enemies-to-lovers, but fail to deliver on the enemies front. This doesn’t occur with Crier and Ayla. Though the two somewhat grow to care for one another in this book, it’ll take a lot to unpack their shared prejudice and animosity.
- Crier and Ayla as individuals. Crier starts the story out as a very arrogant and ignorant Automa. She is innocent but passionate, and her personality creates a nice contrast with Ayla’s, who’s anger and desire for revenge is palpable on the page.
- how descriptive the writing was, from the appearance of Zulla, to the plight of humans under Automae. Varela also does such a good job of describing the tension between Ayla and Crier—the gradual and reluctant development of their romance.
- the concept of Automae. At first, I was a little confused about what exactly the Automae were, but I think that I was meant to be confused. Interspersed between the chapters of this book are snippets from the past concerning the Automae’s history. Through these snippets, and through what the characters themselves learn, we’re led to believe that there’s more to Automae and their history than meet the eye, and I’m so excited to learn more.
- that this book is such a detailed study of the main characters’ emotions. As a whole, I find that Crier’s War lacks on the action front, but it makes up for it with its detailed study of what Crier and Ayla are feeling and going through.
- the different Automae movements. Crier’s father, Hesod, practices Traditionalism, a movement that believes in Automae adopting human traditions for themselves. But Crier’s fiance, Kinok, is the leader of a small but up and coming movement called Anti-reliance, that believes in Automae completely cutting themselves off from humans. On the other hand, Queen Junn, who rules over Varn, presides over a society wherein humans and Automae are completely assimilated, with no hierarchies between them. I found that these conflicting theories and movements were a nice and realistic touch, considering the way societies develop.
- the numerous plot lines and foreshadowing. Crier’s War is more a long prologue than anything, focusing on setting things up, instead of resolving any of them. This bothered me at first, but I forgave it because of how well these plot lines were balanced.
I didn’t particularly like…
- that Ayla’s motivation for getting revenge on Hesod for killing her family was flimsy. I felt that we were more told about than shown the affection she shared with her family. Though her need for revenge was well-developed, the reasons for it were not.
- Ayla and Benjy’s friendship. It seemed like their friendship was written, just so that Ayla could have someone else to interact with. However, their friendship was pretty boring—maybe because Benjy’s pretty boring. Also, I didn’t like that Benjy was there just to add romantic drama to the story.
- the writing at the beginning of the book. Initially, Varela heavily relied on phrases turned to sentences for the sake of emphasis, and I found it very jarring. Luckily, these became less and less common as I kept reading.
More About the Book
Title: Crier’s War
Series: Crier’s War, #1
Author: Nina Varela
Publishing Date: October 1st 2019
Age Category & Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Romance
Synopsis: From debut author Nina Varela comes the first book in an Own Voices, richly imagined epic fantasy about an impossible love between two girls—one human, one Made—whose romance could be the beginning of a revolution.
Perfect for fans of Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse as well as Game of Thrones and Westworld.
After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will. Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier.
Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla.
Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.
About the Author
Nina Varela is a nationally awarded writer of screenplays and short fiction. She was born in New Orleans and raised on a hippie commune in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent most of her childhood playing in the Eno River, building faerie houses from moss and bark, and running barefoot through the woods. These days, Nina lives in Los Angeles with her writing partner and their tiny, ill-behaved dog. She tends to write stories about hard-won love and young people toppling the monarchy/patriarchy/whatever-archy. On a related note, she’s queer. On a less related note, she has strong feelings about hushpuppies and loves a good jambalaya. CRIER’S WAR is her first novel.
You can find Nina at any given coffee shop in the greater Los Angeles area, or at http://www.ninavarela.com
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Visit the other tour stops!
Sept. 23 – Afire Pages | 21 Questions with Nina Varela