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Crier's War

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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, 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.


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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, 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.

30 review for Crier's War

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chaima ✨ شيماء

    Nothing gladdens my heart more than picking up an ardently anticipated new release with the stammering gaiety of stepping off the edge of a cliff in the tremulous faith that you’ll sprout wings halfway down, and for all your expectations to be met, the inexpressible sweetness of finding yourself hovering above the ground with rills of current flowing off the tips of your winged arms. Crier’s War colored everything, like the afterglow of a dream, and for the space of a few hundred page-turns, Nothing gladdens my heart more than picking up an ardently anticipated new release with the stammering gaiety of stepping off the edge of a cliff in the tremulous faith that you’ll sprout wings halfway down, and for all your expectations to be met, the inexpressible sweetness of finding yourself hovering above the ground with rills of current flowing off the tips of your winged arms. Crier’s War colored everything, like the afterglow of a dream, and for the space of a few hundred page-turns, there wasn’t room for anything else in my head. “Fever and fervor”, said Junn. “There is very little difference, in the end.” In a world ruled by Automa, humans still held out, even under the crushing avalanche of the airless and deadly perfection of their oppressors, but their freedom was but a ragged scrap of meat tossed to an adequately obedient hound and it’ll come a day when they’ll become an expense beyond their value. Within Ayla, a human girl, was an ocean’s worth of grief and rage, and her need for revenge against the Automa who killed her family burned through her as though she were a candlewick. Following a most strange encounter with Crier, the kind daughter of the Automa king Hesod, Ayla is offered a job as Crier’s handmaiden. But where gladness should be, or gratitude for Crier’s kindness, or desperation to acknowledge the luminous thing that hung between them, there could be naught but brutal vacancy. Ayla could no more forget that Crier was an Automa—representing everything Ayla abhorred—than an aching tooth. She refuses to be played upon by Crier’s gentleness, to be convinced by her words to give something up. But she was like a mouse inching closer to a trap, and it would spring the moment she got closer, or moved to escape. “Humanity is how you act, my lady,” said Jezen. “Now how you were Made.” Crier’s War is ambitiously structured as a ping-ponging narrative, beautifully contained and as taut as piano wire. The result is a dynamic novel that remains solidly rooted in a propulsive, suspenseful plot that builds towards a series of impeccably-timed revelations as dazzling as the finale of a fireworks show. It isn't the most original setup for the first book of a fantasy series, but the author wraps it up in a package so absorbing I was drawn on like a compass arrow. The balance Varela strikes between introducing knowledge to the reader and moving at a brisk pace towards the next plot objective is very well executed, but the stakes feel higher because the author crafts a full-fledged fantasy realm worth getting lost in. The novel opens with an intricately laid-out timeline of the complex history between the Automa and the humans who created them, which is as much about power as it is about autonomy. The broad backdrop of political unrest is arresting, with numerous heartrending moments that made my heart zing and slam itself around like a bee inside a jar. For me, however, the novel’s most remarkable, wonderful aspect is Crier and Ayla’s relationship, as wan and fragile as moth wings but still burning as fervently as a bonfire in the center of the story. The manner with which the author braids their storylines into a knot of fevered desires, covert betrayals, and tentative romance is effortlessly captivating. Two sides of the same coin, Crier and Ayla are like chemicals thrown together in an alembic and their moments together were a rapturous escape from the bleaker political machinations swirling around them. Ayla could no more turn away from her goal to rid humankind from the Automa’s yoke than a compass needle could point south, and Crier wanted nothing more than to break free from the false perfection she’s been preserved in—always and forever the sovereign’s meek, obedient daughter—and had borne her solitude stoically enough, without realizing quite how lonely she was until she met Ayla and hope begun guttering like an overspent candle in her (corruptly human) chest. The villains, with Crier’s conniving and all-too-powerful betrothed being a particularly compelling example, are also painted in broad strokes and I’m looking forward to what the author has in store for the sequel. But not every aspect of the novel works as well as it should. The plot zips along so quickly, which is great, but it also creates the impression of a restless narrative that leads to over-simplifications and some characters being reduced to a single trait. The random flashbacks sometimes inhibit the flow, as does Ayla’s best friend, whose presence I often forgot about but which dominates some pivotal scenes that don’t land as convincingly as they should. That said, everything I grumbled about above is nearly unnoticeable during the actual reading experience. The author is so good at telling her story that I wasn’t bothered enough by those small quibbles to feel thrown off the novel. And, ultimately, Crier’s War is a sturdy, solid debut that lays the groundwork for very interesting future developments. This was a buddy-read with Jami @ Jamishelves. Dude. I had so much fun! ✨ wishlist ✨ blog ✨ twitter ✨ tumblr ✨

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    ARC provided by HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review. “It was never really a choice, was it? Wanting her. Killing her.” Friends, if you are looking for a book all about revenge, filled with mystery and betrayals, while also showcasing the best enemies to lovers f/f romance I’ve read in a long while, please immediately pick up Crier’s War. I’m telling you right now, this is going to make so many best of 2019 lists come the end of the year, and I don’t even have words for the amount of ARC provided by HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review. “It was never really a choice, was it? Wanting her. Killing her.” Friends, if you are looking for a book all about revenge, filled with mystery and betrayals, while also showcasing the best enemies to lovers f/f romance I’ve read in a long while, please immediately pick up Crier’s War. I’m telling you right now, this is going to make so many best of 2019 lists come the end of the year, and I don’t even have words for the amount of pure joy I felt while reading this book. Crier’s War is set in an alternative future where alchemists have crafted mechanical people, called Automaes, who now rule over the humans. The humans originally created them so a powerful queen, who could not bear children, could have an heir, but soon Automaes were forged for other human pleasures. But then they rose up and conquered the humans who originally made them. Now the world is a very unsafe place to live for humans who are still alive after the war, and they are allowed very few liberties. ➽ Crier - Lesbian! A girl artificially crafted to become the daughter her father needs to carry on his powerful legacy, while being betrothed to a man who promises to help her hone that power for both of them. ➽ Ayla - Bi! A human girl who lost her family and everything else after the Automaes raised up and overthrew the humans. And after Ayla saves Crier’s life, Crier offers her an opportunity to become a servant for her, which is a very high honor for humans. So, Ayla becomes Crier’s handmaiden, while also seeing this as an opportunity to go undercover and maybe seek the vengeance she has been after for so long. That is, until both girls start realizing that maybe they are on the same side, and maybe they could be something more than enemies if they only were able to learn to trust. “A thought came to her: a story of its own, one that only just began writing itself in her mind: a story of two women, one human, one Made.” The romance in this book? It honestly gave me at least twenty years on my lifespan! This is the slowest burn, angst filled, most beautiful enemies to lovers between two women of color! It is so expertly crafted and delivered, and it was a tier above the rest. And the alternating points of view, opposing sides, filled with secrets and betrayals; it was just everything, friends. I bet this will be my favorite ship of 2019. True OTP status. But this story really begs the question of what it means to be human. Is the capability for empathy, love, trust? What does it mean to have be alive? Simply because we are born or because blood flows through our veins? Is it because we have free will and are able to change our outlook on things and people? Or is it because we choose to take on the title human and make it into whatever we believe it to be? “Like she was more than a human girl. Like she was a summer storm made of flesh.” Yet, this story also constantly puts the theme of oppression and privilege at the center of it all. How people appropriate and steal from cultures and pretend that it’s okay, or worse, their own. How dangerous it is for the privileged to not acknowledge their privilege(s). And how oppressors will stop at nothing to maintain the power they have gained that privilege from. This was such a quick read, and I completely inhaled all 400+ pages and couldn’t put it down. I started it right before a readathon, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it all week, and when the readathon was over I read it in one sitting. My queer heart couldn’t stop smiling, crying, swooning, and evoking every other emotion. Overall, this was just a masterpiece and one of the best debuts I’ve read in a long while. If you like books filled with political intrigue, twists and turns, a beautiful and horrific backdrop, lush writing, captivating characters, and girls loving girls, I really recommend this one with my whole heart and soul. Also, just in case you aren’t completely sold yet, so many of my friends have compared this to Jude and Cardan from The Cruel Prince, but for the gays, and that is so 100% accurate. “For the queer readers. You deserve every adventure.” (Two extra things I need to add: 1.) this is ownvoices for the queer rep + 2.) the author is ARMY = no choice but for me to stan forever. Okay, goodbye. I’m off to pray to all the higher powers for book two immediately. Also, jokes on all of you, because this is ghost Melanie reviewing this, because I died at the tide pool scene.) Youtube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Twitch The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication. Content and Trigger Warnings: war themes, abandonment, loss of loved ones, grief depictions, blood depiction, animal death/gore, and general violence. Buddy read with Lea! ❤

  3. 4 out of 5

    ✨ jamieson ✨

    I AM A MESS!!! This book is everything. I have wanted this for so long. A TRUE slowburn angsty enemies to lovers where they're REAL ENEMIES who want to KILL EACHOTHER and its so beautiful. The entire set up of this world? the plot?? amazing. We're in a world where Automae, created by humans, ended up overpowering and subjugating them. And it has so many fantasy tropes I love - like hidden/secret/forgotten histories and well constructed political intrigue. And SO MANY POWERFUL FEMALE CHARACTERS!! I AM A MESS!!! This book is everything. I have wanted this for so long. A TRUE slowburn angsty enemies to lovers where they're REAL ENEMIES who want to KILL EACHOTHER and its so beautiful. The entire set up of this world? the plot?? amazing. We're in a world where Automae, created by humans, ended up overpowering and subjugating them. And it has so many fantasy tropes I love - like hidden/secret/forgotten histories and well constructed political intrigue. And SO MANY POWERFUL FEMALE CHARACTERS!! AND LOTS OF PLOT TWISTS!! Anyways the ending destroyed me I cannot BELIEVE we now have to wait for book 2 when Nina Valera did me like that in the end Full review can be found on my blog !!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Yay! October Owlcrate Unboxing! Click on the link below the pic to see the GOODIES! We got two books I'm excited for! GOODIES LINK Didn’t like it. Don’t care. Going in the trade in box. Mel Yay! October Owlcrate Unboxing! Click on the link below the pic to see the GOODIES! We got two books I'm excited for! GOODIES LINK Didn’t like it. Don’t care. Going in the trade in box. Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  5. 5 out of 5

    E.

    | Is it too early to beg for the sequel if the 1st book hasn't even officially came out yet???? "It was never really a choice, was it? Wanting her. Killing her." SUMMARY f/f romance bisexual and lesbian MCs enemies-to-lovers slow-burn In Zulla you're either Mortal or Made. Automae subdued Humans in the War of Kinds and now rule over them with a hard hand. Ayla has lost everything in one of Automae's brutal raids. Crier is the heir to the Sovereign who ordered this very raid. Ayla craves ★★★★★ | Is it too early to beg for the sequel if the 1st book hasn't even officially came out yet???? "It was never really a choice, was it? Wanting her. Killing her." ➽ SUMMARY 💜 f/f romance ❤️ bisexual and lesbian MCs 💜 enemies-to-lovers ❤️ slow-burn In Zulla you're either Mortal or Made. Automae subdued Humans in the War of Kinds and now rule over them with a hard hand. Ayla has lost everything in one of Automae's brutal raids. Crier is the heir to the Sovereign who ordered this very raid. Ayla craves revenge. Crier must navigate the political games of her father and fiance. What becomes of them after they cross their paths? ➽ WRITING STYLE Nina Varela has something raw in her writing. She not only handles the exposition by differentiating what the particular character would pay attention to but also constructs her metaphors and other figures of speech based on their personalities and life experiences. She structures her flashbacks in such a way they contrast with current events and causes them to evoke more emotions. She pulls you in with each word. ➽ PLOT & PACING Crier's War is always high-stakes, always pulling you through ups and downs, and always intense. Various political intrigues, manipulations and dreams of revolution mixed with a great dose of dramatic irony that leaves you frustrated but in a good way will pull you in and steal your mind for days and days after you finish it. Every quiet moment is followed by a sudden clash and spin. Every tread of information comes at a huge cost. Every connection made leaves you anticipating more answers. And every decision is a battle of this sudden wish with duty and people's expectations. There was a brief moment around 30 % in when I felt like things got too slow but it picked up not long after. Like in a Greek tragedy, we're constantly anticipating the worst, hoping for the best and getting both of those tied so closely together it's hard to distinguish anymore. It fascinating and leaves you anticipating the next and next and next turn of events. It's readying you for catharsis. For the revolution of your heart. ➽ CHARACTERS "Like she was more than a human girl. Like she was a summer storm made of flesh." Ayla — Ayla was disappointed by the world too many times. She is wrathful, judgemental, blunt and tends to keep people at distance but she has a fire inside her. She is resilient despite everything she has experienced and she places her moral code above her own happiness but sometimes all the emotions she fights to push down erupt from her. She's an active volcano. "Crier was beautiful. Created to be beautiful, but it was more than that. [...] It was the way her eyes lit up with interest, the way her fingers were always so careful, almost reverent, as she flipped the pages of a book." Crier — Crier wishes to move up in the world of Automae politics. She is an idealist, she thinks if only she could make other Automae listen to her arguments she can fix the unjust system, and still has some traces of naivety that lets people in her vicinity use it against her. She is sharp though and often times she is able to use it to her advantage. Crier is used to playing the long game. She's patient and collected. She slowly adjusts to the fast world of schemes and manipulations. She's a Medusa's stone statue waking up from its slumber. ➽ THE ROMANCE "A thought came to her: a story of its own, one that only just began writing itself in her mind: a story of two women, one human, one Made." Their love — forbidden. But forbidden not because it's queer like in so many LGBT+ stories but because their Kinds share a history full of spilling each other's blood. Because one is a princess promised to the man who murdered the other's family. And yet, those born enemies, get close. And then closer. All their constant 'I hate you but I can't get enough of you' and 'all the laws of the universe say it's impossible and wrong but we're just so fascinated by each other' is addicting. They get to experience so many emotions — emotions which they are not used to as one is coping with her pain by not letting herself feel much but rage and the other was raised to rely solely on the reason — and they fight to keep them to themselves as to be anything but composed would be a weakness. Crier cannot show this weakness because that would impede her wish to climb Automae political ladder. But Ayla — Ayla has spent a third of her life imagining getting her revenge on Hesod by killing his dear daughter. The Resistance relies on that wish. Her closed ones make their choices with this in mind. How is she supposed to admit that she brought Hesod's anger on herself in a much much different way? This story is full of yearning and denying it and feelings and trying to squish them. It will make your heart beat faster and it will break it. And then it will leave you begging for more. ➽ WHAT IT MEANS TO BE 'HUMAN' Crier's War explores what it means to be 'human' and where our humanity starts. What is human and what is just close enough but not yet. Is it our blood? We are human because we are born one. Or is it what we create? Our capacity to dance, sing, make art is what sets us apart from other species. Or is it all about our emotions and passion and care. We are human because we laugh and cry and sometimes let ourselves be led by the heart, not the mind. Or maybe, just maybe, it is a choice we make every day. ➽ ON A FINAL NOTE After all this whole emotional rollercoaster I feel empty. Drained. Like somebody took away my precious drug. My hearthstone. "A drop of water gleamed on Ayla's lower lip. Strangely, it made Crier want to--drink." 💜❤️💜 READ MY POETRY ABOUT THIS BOOK HERE 💜❤️💜 __________________________ insta | twitter | blog | booksirens | duolingo

  6. 5 out of 5

    Reading Tam Ishly

    The romance didn't burn me. The intensity of the whole revenge/war/hatred/love was so lacking even though everything was there all along. And what I dearly missed was any kind of humour in the writing. The world system is pretty simple. The moment you open up the book, you will just get into it. The characters have been developed good, their introductions fairly well done with different, unique auras of their own. I would like to say the first half of the book has been written pretty well. It's The romance didn't burn me. The intensity of the whole revenge/war/hatred/love was so lacking even though everything was there all along. And what I dearly missed was any kind of humour in the writing. The world system is pretty simple. The moment you open up the book, you will just get into it. The characters have been developed good, their introductions fairly well done with different, unique auras of their own. I would like to say the first half of the book has been written pretty well. It's fast paced, the required information has been delivered to you at the right place and at the right time. The roles of different characters have been represented very well. However, as much as the characters are there alive and plotting, they lacked charisma which they are supposed to be represented with. I feel like the secondary characters come out much stronger. I like the character of Rowan (the one who took in Ayla, the one of our main protagonists, the human) which I feel is the character who is most represented well. And as much as Benjy's character is meant to be represented somewhat secondary but as someone closest to Ayla, his character leaves a big impact. Coming to the other main protagonist, Crier the Automa, her character comes out to be a bit like someone who is not needed as much as she is supposed to be the main character. The character of her father/creator, Hesod, is developed so well as well as of her fiance, Kinok. And if these (scoff!) villain characters were given more importance in their description and more important parts, there's a high chance of me getting invested in them more than the other protagonists. Actually, I was more excited with their entrance in between during the entire read and it's sad to say I wasn't much interested in the relationship or whatever that was going on in between Ayla and Crier in the second half of the book. What I feel was lacking in Ayla's character: I can understand the issues she has been dealing with since her childhood days and the hardships she has faced. But the aloofness till the end even with Crier when they are supposed to be lovers. And it feels like she will always have trust issues. I can understand that too. But then what's the point of not trusting someone you love. I mean why cannot she be tender and soft and caring towards Crier like she does with Benjy. I can understand this too. But ugh, my romantic heart just cannot accept this kind of aloof relationship. And Crier. What have you done to her, dear author? I have no problem with her character as she is unique of her own. But she doesn't come out as unique or someone I can relate to from any angle. She is neither soft, nor strong; neither rebellious, nor confused; neither too attentive, nor too aloof. This is the character I wanted to be most interested in. But this character turned out to be the one I was least interested in. I won't go into details how Crier is different from the rest of the Automa. The love scenes were so out of context and haphazardly put just in between. And yes, it was kind of slow burn romance but I wasn't burning. I so wanted to. But ahem, it didn't deliver. The plot. It ticked, but it doesn't blow up. The plot need not have much to do actually. It much dwells on how to keep the Automa alive in the long run and to safeguard the material to keep them alive. As much as I wanted to read about the clashing themes of humans versus the automa, emotions versus emotion-like, rebellion versus truce, lgbt issue being represented well and good, hatred versus love, action versus romance I feel they are lacking somehow. It's supposed to be enemies to lovers trobe. But the enemies part is missing as a whole. And for the lovers part, I don't know what they are doing. Hot and Cold by Katy Perry maybe? And it becomes so clichè towards the end that I just cannot stand Ayla and Crier in the same scene. And the ending does not leave me wanting for more. It doesn't leave me hanging on a straw or on my bed whatsoever. Argh! The strong characters just ghosted like that. I do feel the 'flawed' part of Crier never came out at all. I was waiting till the last chapter to see a bit of it. And damn Ayla, she must be the Automa instead. In the end, I felt like the whole book is about Ayla. And it must have been titled ''Ayla's War'' instead. I don't know if I would pick up the next book in the series.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mads

    This is a difficult rating for me because this book isn't the most perfect thing I've ever read. I had a couple issues with side characters and the writing. But it still has that 5 star magic for me. That's due to three things: 1. Crier and Ayla. I love their character arcs. Ayla, so desperate for revenge that she doesn't give a fuck about the rebellion, only for herself. Crier, finding out the world she's been brought up in isn't as perfect as she thought and battling with doubts between what's This is a difficult rating for me because this book isn't the most perfect thing I've ever read. I had a couple issues with side characters and the writing. But it still has that 5 star magic for me. That's due to three things: 1. Crier and Ayla. I love their character arcs. Ayla, so desperate for revenge that she doesn't give a fuck about the rebellion, only for herself. Crier, finding out the world she's been brought up in isn't as perfect as she thought and battling with doubts between what's right and wrong. Their personalities meshed perfectly and the slowburn was 10/10. It's worth reading this book just for them. 2. The beautiful descriptions. I'm trash for wintry forest descriptions and this book delivered. 😍 And the scene where Crier and Ayla are together in the tide pools under the moonlight fulfilled all my sapphic dreams. Nina Varela, queen of giving the gays what they want. 3. Despite this being a character driven story, it never felt slow to me. The writing eased along at a fast pace while still providing slow revelations and impactful scenes. You could read this book for the plot but mainly, it's about Crier and Ayla and their journey to self discovery. The more time they spend together, the more perspective they gain. That's the key to good romance and I'm on board with this ship. I hope this book blows up because not only was it impressive, but the world needs more LGBT fantasy. The author's notes at the beginning and end made me cry. Reading this made me glad to be gay. Nina Varela really knew what she was doing when she wrote this book and I cannot wait until the next one.

  8. 4 out of 5

    may ➹

    In a world where alchemy-based android-like Automae have overthrowed their human Makers and now rule over humans, the paths of two girls, Crier and Ayla, intertwine, ultimately changing the entire course of their political landscape. Crier, an Automa the sovereign’s daughter, was Made to be the epitome of perfection, but her entire life changes when she takes on a new human handmaiden, Ayla. There has only been one thing that has kept Ayla going: revenge. And she’s going to get it by killing In a world where alchemy-based android-like Automae have overthrowed their human Makers and now rule over humans, the paths of two girls, Crier and Ayla, intertwine, ultimately changing the entire course of their political landscape. Crier, an Automa the sovereign’s daughter, was Made to be the epitome of perfection, but her entire life changes when she takes on a new human handmaiden, Ayla. There has only been one thing that has kept Ayla going: revenge. And she’s going to get it by killing Crier. There are genuinely so many enthralling things about this book that I could talk about, from the complexities of the characters, to the elaborate writing, to the intricate fantasy world to the themes and messages to the romance that had me dying. Because though this is her debut, it’s clear that Varela is an expert writer who knows her craft well. Justice was a god, and Ayla didn’t believe in such childish things. She believed in blood. Crier and Ayla are both strong, compelling main characters, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading from each of their point of views. Both of their arcs were well-written, and their clashing personalities made for an interesting dynamic. I truly have no idea which I am more drawn to; I loved them both! While I do wish there had been more about the various side characters, Crier and Ayla were enough to make up for the lack of that. Crier is written as the sweeter, more innocent character, and she kind of has the IQ of like 3 (despite having been Made to be intellectual) but it’s okay. She won’t stand for anyone’s BS, especially being treated the way she has as a woman, and aches to be actually listened to for once. Ayla, on the other hand, is much pricklier and more standoffish as a result of her refusal to grow close to anyone after her family died. Her grief and rage has been her number one motivator throughout her life, and I loved watching her slowly become more than that and realize she’s not weak to let people in. I can’t talk about these two without mentioning their romance, because oh my god. When I say slowburn, I’m talking about this book. Varela was masterful in the way she wrote the romance as starting off as a slight curiosity of and infatuation with each other, and becoming angsty longing as tension built and finally broke. The enemies to lovers trope was also artfully executed; Ayla having wanted to kill Crier for years and that want transforming throughout the story as she feels differently about Crier adds a whole other layer to the romance. A drop of water gleamed on Ayla’s lower lip. Strangely, it made Crier want to—drink. Varela’s writing and prose itself are also worth commending, because it was beautiful! I tend not to be the biggest fan of physical descriptions of things such as settings and appearances, etc., so while I didn’t appreciate those as much, I adored how detailed and captivatingly written the emotions and thoughts of Crier and Ayla were! (Especially when it came to their emotions and thoughts about each other.) What made this book even more golden was the way it tackled certain themes and issues, and all so subtly. I’m an absolute slut for anything that talks about humanity and what it means to be human in literature, and that discussion was so GOOD in this book. But beyond that, I loved how it connected to modern issues in our own world—stealing and appropriating cultures, men displaying women’s work as their own, oppression and privilege, and more—and how they were woven into the story seamlessly. However, worldbuilding is not something that usually stands out to me, and it’s no different for this book. I felt like there were too many info-dumps in the beginning, and it made it harder for me to be engaged right from the start. However, as the plot started to pick up and I became more engrossed, the tidbits of history that I found to be too much at first slowly became more intriguing. (But points for the normalization of non-heterosexual people and their relationships! AND points for not confusing me like most fantasy worldbuilding does!!) “Humanity is how you act, my lady […] Not how you were Made.” I truly think this book is a masterpiece, albeit a few very minor problems (info-dumps and lack of focus on side characters). The plot twists are shocking yet well-written, the villain is so sinister yet intriguing, and the ending leaves you aching for more yet also satisfies you just enough. While I personally didn’t connect with the book enough to give it 5 stars, I still adored it, especially Crier, Ayla, and their relationship! Anyone looking for a well-rounded fantasy, especially one with more political mystery and a slowburn enemies to lovers romance, should pick this up. This is a more-than-solid, beautifully told story, and I’m eagerly awaiting the magical surprises Varela will cook up next. :: rep :: POC lesbian MC, POC bisexual MC :: content warnings :: death/murder (of close ones), violence, depictions of blood, use of drug-like substance Thank you to the blog tour host, HarperCollins, and the author for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a spot on this blog tour! This did not affect my opinions in any way. All quotes are from an advance copy and may differ in final publication.

  9. 5 out of 5

    . (not active on this account stop adding me)

    review can also be found on my blog! representation: lesbian mc's, f/f romance, #ownvoices author At the beginning of the Automae era, human Queen Thea - who cannot bear children - commissions her people to build her a child. One who can replicate every aspect of human life. A seemingly impossible request is manufactured, where individuals are Made, with Four Pillars: Reason, Calculation, Organics, and Intellect. However, this ignites a vicious war between the humans and the Automades, who 🌼review can also be found on my blog! 🌼 representation: lesbian mc's, f/f romance, #ownvoices author At the beginning of the Automae era, human Queen Thea - who cannot bear children - commissions her people to build her a child. One who can replicate every aspect of human life. A seemingly impossible request is manufactured, where individuals are Made, with Four Pillars: Reason, Calculation, Organics, and Intellect. However, this ignites a vicious war between the humans and the Automades, who rise to power and enslave the remaining humans. Crier is an Automade and the daughter of Hesod, the sovereign. She's engaged to Scrye Kinok, but wishes to attain power and leadership herself. However, a possible, compassionate flaw in her design alters her disposition to humans. She doesn't abhor their Kind as her father and betrothed do. Ayla is a human who's had everything taken from her by the Automades, except the cherished locket she keeps around her neck at all times. She's currently a servant at the House of Sovereign and desires revenge against the tyrant Hesod. Ayla determines this can be achieved by killing his daughter, Crier. However, their lives become entwined by chance and the lines of loyalty are blurred for the Automade and the human. The best way to begin a review is to burst your bubble. This isn't necessarily fantasy. It has fantastical elements, but the fundamentals of the story are dystopian. A battle between two different groups, leaving one victorious and another enslaved. After years, the oppressed band together and form rebellions against their leaders. Sounds exactly like dystopian to me. However, there's nothing wrong with dystopian, I just feel like there's a trend of misleading readers - especially in f/f fiction - by labelling anything not contemporary as "fantasy". This isn't the fault of the publishers, but rather the word-of-mouth from individuals on social media who haven't read the book itself and unconsciously mislabel the genre. I've intensely disliked the slow-burn trope my entire life, but sometimes you encounter someone who knows how to execute it properly. So thank you, Nina Varela. I always find them tedious and insufferable to read, often lowering my ratings because I spent the entire book waiting for a kiss and, when my wish is finally granted, I no longer care about the book. However, the way Varela developed Crier and Ayla's romance - even the methodical revelation of plot points that slowly expanded on each other to the final climax - was genius and I applaud her. The tension that arose from something as simple as their knees brushing in a carriage was brilliant. In addition, I think I enjoyed Crier and Ayla's slow-burn because they were genuinely enemies to lovers - and forbidden - the entire time. Ayla has plotted revenge against Hesod for almost a decade, wishing to murder his daughter in cold blood, and she still does towards the end of the book. Enemies to lovers has really lost its spark in recent times. It's never true enemies to lovers. It also doesn't hurt that one of my favourite tropes - forced proximity in a bed, where one shifts during their sleep and unconsciously throws their arm around the other - was included. I intentionally didn't mention anything about how these characters are sapphic in my discussion of the romance because I don't want it to be the main focus of my discussion. I feel like there's a trend of people only reading books with the promise of LGBT characters - which is valid, and I do it too - but I also want people to appreciate and discuss these characters like any other couple. Not only are Crier and Ayla both girls interested in each other, but it's acknowledged that same-gender love and marriage is accepted in their world. There are brief mentions of marriage between two males and the romance between Crier and Ayla is forbidden because Ayla is believed to be a rebel, not because of their gender. I love that fantasy worlds filled with tension, war, bloodshed, fighting, and rebellion are more harmonious than our current society in regards to same-sex couples. ➸ Crier Crier was undeniably my favourite character and one of the new loves of my life. Please take a shot every time I say that about a gay girl in a book (don't get alcohol poisoning, kids). She's designed to be physically and mentally perfect but believes she's flawed because she feels compassion. My heart shattered for her multiple times throughout the book, especially when she realised her father's care for her might not run as deeply as she'd hoped. I definitely think her and Ayla had an admirable light/dark or stoic/soft theme, where she was optimistic and tried to see the best in everything. As much as I love the dark, complex, immoral female character, I appreciate the soft girls even more. She has an innocence and ignorance of human activities that'll make you fall for her. She's curious about the actions of humans and watches from a distance, always questioning why they find joy in certain things, but never in a judgemental matter. I found the scene where she discovered the concept of sex hilarious because she was flushed and felt "flutters in her stomach", which inevitably leads to thoughts about Ayla. ➸ Ayla I'm surprised she managed to survive for so long if I'm being honest. I love her, but the fact that she spent almost a decade wanting to murder Crier and had AMPLE opportunities to do so before they were acquainted, but didn't was quite frustrating. I feel like she was the typical vengeful character archetype with nothing left to care for, so she barricades herself against feelings and emotions. I can't discuss much about her personality without spoiling, but I wasn't as warmed to her as I was with Crier. Crier's War's world-building is intricate and doesn't interrupt the flow of plot, which I appreciated. Majority of the book is spent introducing and building-up the conflict, though this is typical for the first book in a series. A lot of the revelations throughout the book aren't resolved in the end, which is excellent in building anticipation for the next release. I felt like I had a deep understanding of the world and characters, especially with the excerpts from their history books at the beginning of the chapters. A lot of the discussion of the past was shown to us in unique ways instead of told, which I felt was exceptional at grasping the reason for the tension between the humans and Automade, while also upholding interest. If I can include comparisons to other well-known fantasy series, I'd definitely acknowledge that this has similar vibes as The Winner's Trilogy. There are a few plot similarities, but the comparison drew mainly from the ambitious female main character, vengeful, enslaved love interest, and plentiful political intrigue. The slow-burn romance is additionally on a similar level, but I'd classify it as even slower. It’s difficult to believe Crier’s War is a debut, with lyrical prose, intricate worldbuilding, and a heart-clenching sapphic slow-burn romance. It’s a book I’ll definitely be recommending to others looking for f/f fantasy romance in the future. ✨ ARC kindly provided by HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review ✨

  10. 5 out of 5

    Boston

    I'm going to need y'all to preorder this book immediately. All a queer girl wants is to read a YA fantasy that is not only incredibly original, but has two queer girls at it's center. And on top of that we get a slow burn romance? We have all been BLESSED by Nina Varela and we should be thanking her. The most notable thing to take from this book, though, was it's ties to present day. It may not have been written like that intentionally, but it definitely called out real-world problems. (ex. I'm going to need y'all to preorder this book immediately. All a queer girl wants is to read a YA fantasy that is not only incredibly original, but has two queer girls at it's center. And on top of that we get a slow burn romance? We have all been BLESSED by Nina Varela and we should be thanking her. The most notable thing to take from this book, though, was it's ties to present day. It may not have been written like that intentionally, but it definitely called out real-world problems. (ex. "Your customs are similar because your entire culture was stolen from ours. Because you have no history of culture of your own."). Other things of note included identifiable characters from chapter one. Each character had traits that made them unique and easy to remember who's who. The world building was great and judging by how it ended I assume we'll be getting more of the world in book 2. Finally, the relationship between Ayla and Crier was just so SOFT. It feels real and it makes you feel. Full stop. So even if you're only here for sapphic romance, it's definitely one of the best. So, if you're thinking about picking up this book, please do. It's well worth your time and money, I promise.

  11. 4 out of 5

    ;3

    crier 90% of this book: *yearns*

  12. 4 out of 5

    Circe

    You want girls loving girls? Agonizing slow burn? A hate to love arc that will tear out your damn heart? READ THIS BOOK. I'm a total mess right now and this book is the cause. CRIER'S WAR is a lyrical, romantic debut that keeps you guessing at every turn. Just when you think you know where the story is going it flips the lid, and it feels effortless the way Varela handles these themes: the consequences of clinging to hatred, the cost of war, and what it means to really be human. And oh yeah, You want girls loving girls? Agonizing slow burn? A hate to love arc that will tear out your damn heart? READ THIS BOOK. I'm a total mess right now and this book is the cause. CRIER'S WAR is a lyrical, romantic debut that keeps you guessing at every turn. Just when you think you know where the story is going it flips the lid, and it feels effortless the way Varela handles these themes: the consequences of clinging to hatred, the cost of war, and what it means to really be human. And oh yeah, it's not afraid to be gay as hell. Reading this was like being caught up in a fever dream. I couldn't get over the atmosphere. The masterful worldbuilding. The romance. The tension. The story just got better and better and I'm excited to see where things will go from here. Keep this one on your radar, my friends. I promise that you don't wanna miss it. Huge thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for a honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    anna (readingpeaches)

    rep: lesbian poc mc, bi poc mc, poc cast, side mlm & wlw couples Review also on Reads Rainbow. ARC provided by the publisher. If you know me at all, you know that I haven’t been big on fantasy in the last year or so. But Crier’s War? It’s the kind of fantasy I can get behind even now, when I’m not really a fan of the genre. And there are two main reasons for this: 1) it’s a little bit character-driven (not the way contemporary novels can be, no, but it’s there) & 2) it’s heavy on the rep: lesbian poc mc, bi poc mc, poc cast, side mlm & wlw couples Review also on Reads Rainbow. ARC provided by the publisher. If you know me at all, you know that I haven’t been big on fantasy in the last year or so. But Crier’s War? It’s the kind of fantasy I can get behind even now, when I’m not really a fan of the genre. And there are two main reasons for this: 1) it’s a little bit character-driven (not the way contemporary novels can be, no, but it’s there) & 2) it’s heavy on the romance. Now, the thing about romance in Crier’s War is that Varela knows exactly how key the slowburn element is to the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope, knows exactly the pace at which it should develop. Yes, the romance is visible basically since the moment the girls meet (and what a meet-cute they have!), but it’s so graceful, it progresses so naturally, it makes such perfect sense. No insta-love here! (I can think of one other example of a fantasy novel with those exact qualities that also used them the way they were designed by gods and I won’t name it, but if you know, you know.) And of course it’s impossible to talk about romance in Crier’s War without saying how gay it is. Which I think might be my favourite part about the book. Not just the fact that two girls share a bed and pine after each other - though obviously it was the reason I wanted to read it in the first place - but how natural it was. The fact that neither of them questioned the relationship in this regard even once. The world Varela created is completely void of homophobia and it’s a beautiful sight to behold. It’s visible in more ways than this one, as well. There are a number of offhandedly mentioned couples throughout the story and so many of them are gay! And not a single comment about that! Not a single person wonders how it was possible that a servant married his beloved stable boy.  So often authors come up with those intricate worlds, where everything seems magical & where our laws have no place, and they still feel the need to include homophobia. Not Varela. She gives us an incredible world, not simply a black-and-white one, but one where gay people are so natural, there isn’t even any need for labels. For that alone I will always be grateful.  Crier’s War is heavy on the gay romance, yes, but that’s not what it actually hinges on. We're introduced to a world where the tension between humans and Automae has been brewing for years & the reader’s view on both sides changes throughout the story, with every new piece of information, with every new betrayal. It’s a carefully woven tale with the stakes that just keep rising and a cliffhanger that makes one wish for a time machine. Any fantasy fan would be satisfied. Any gay fantasy fan would be in love. 

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ellie (faerieontheshelf)

    I LOVE SAPPHIC FANTASY SO MUCH BLESS NINA VARELA FOR WRITING THIS BOOK *sobs* It was honestly REALLY GOOD. Perfectly constructed romance, and I loved the socio-politics of the world. And of course, Crier and Ayla are my soft children! My sweet, sweet children. I love how Crier was instantly fascinated with Ayla - much like how you’re immediately fascinated by a beautiful bird - and it developed from there, whilst for Ayla is was very much a gorgeous build up that she tried to resist and UGH my I LOVE SAPPHIC FANTASY SO MUCH BLESS NINA VARELA FOR WRITING THIS BOOK *sobs* It was honestly REALLY GOOD. Perfectly constructed romance, and I loved the socio-politics of the world. And of course, Crier and Ayla are my soft children! My sweet, sweet children. I love how Crier was instantly fascinated with Ayla - much like how you’re immediately fascinated by a beautiful bird - and it developed from there, whilst for Ayla is was very much a gorgeous build up that she tried to resist and UGH my heart. I’ve come to realise I’m a big fan of the handmaiden / lady dynamic that comes up a lot in sapphic romances - Crier & Ayla gave me big Sabran and Ead vibes (from PRIORY) and it made me really happy. (Also the tide pool scene, my heart) *throws this book at everyone* READ IT. Great worldbuilding, great characters, great plot. I read it in under 24 hours, after all. > 4.2 stars!! (or even 4.5 because I can't stop thinking about it aaaaa i am obsessed)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    ARC provided in exchange for honest review ARC provided in exchange for honest review ⚔️

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hollis

    I think this is one of those books that can go either way for some readers. But, for me, I'm caught right in the middle. First, let me say : if you considered picking this book up because you heard it was a hate to love, or enemies to lovers, or opposites attract, romance? I don't think you’ll be disappointed. This, unlike another fantasy series featuring an f/f pairing, was done so so well. I believed in the evolution of this.. not relationship but this connection. It totally won me over and oh I think this is one of those books that can go either way for some readers. But, for me, I'm caught right in the middle. First, let me say : if you considered picking this book up because you heard it was a hate to love, or enemies to lovers, or opposites attract, romance? I don't think you’ll be disappointed. This, unlike another fantasy series featuring an f/f pairing, was done so so well. I believed in the evolution of this.. not relationship but this connection. It totally won me over and oh man I want more. The dynamic between them.. (chefs kiss). As for the dynamic of the story itself? Well, I was definitely under the impression this story was actually the opposite of what it has (haha #TeamNoBlurbs). Instead of the Made-character being the outlier, this is a society where Made-beings, the Automae, are actually in charge. They are the winners of a war where they have subjugated humans. Mostly. There are some who don't despise humans, who want to live with them equally, but overall this is not the norm. And, to be honest, I think that element made this story even better for me than had it been the other way around, or the way I expected. However. I'll admit that sometimes I did feel a little confused by the actions of some of these Automae and how human they did seem, sometimes. And yet others, not at all. Maybe that was done on purpose? Maybe there is supposed to be that fluctuating line to make us see how close but not at all like humans they are? I'm uncertain. Certain actions, particularly that of the villain and his manipulations, just make it to to seem.. well, convenient, that some act more human than others. I don't know. I'm not explaining this right but I think that's mostly because, again, confused. The world is very interesting, though, and how certain things came about in the end..? Yeah, wow, I am reading on for sure. But that said, I'm glad that we had two strong leads to carry this story during those moments where I was just not in it, because those moments did happen. And I'm glad for these leads because I was forever sad I didn't love the aforementioned other series because diversity and f/f and all that good stuff. But this one? This one does it. I'm here for it. So, yes, not a super high rating, but I absolutely think book two will knock it out of the park. And I can't wait. 3.5 stars ** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. ** --- This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lara

    My review Lately, everyone just couldn't seem to stop talking about this new slow burn, enemies-to-lovers high-fantasy book and I knew I needed to read it as soon as possible. I actually thought this was going to be a standalone so you can only imagine my surprise (delighted actually) when I figured it wasn’t over. Crier’s War has such a cool and inspiring concept that really left a jumble of thoughts I’m still trying to process. After the War of Kinds that ravished the land of Rabu, the country My review Lately, everyone just couldn't seem to stop talking about this new slow burn, enemies-to-lovers high-fantasy book and I knew I needed to read it as soon as possible. I actually thought this was going to be a standalone so you can only imagine my surprise (delighted actually) when I figured it wasn’t over. Crier’s War has such a cool and inspiring concept that really left a jumble of thoughts I’m still trying to process. After the War of Kinds that ravished the land of Rabu, the country is trying everything to get back on its feet. It has been almost 48 years after the creation of the first Automa – a constructed, unnatural creature made to resemble humans in every way but their feelings and the other Kind has almost completely oppressed humans and adopted their culture as their own. Ayla is a war orphan, her work in a palace using her only as a cover for her actual whereabouts – an apprentice for one of the human rebel leaders. The hate towards the “higher” Kind that has been building up for years has been getting to its peak and it is only a matter of time before a complete offense against the Automa arises. Crier is the daughter of the most powerful man in the kingdom; ambitious and smart, with influential fiancée and bright future, but also one big problem that could ruin her life. Two enemies are forced to work together and find a way among court’s schemes and fights bigger than any of them imagined if they want to save their futures and ones they care about the most. A court where gossip quickly turns into an enigmatic web of schemes and politics is not a place to play with. I really enjoyed Varela’s writing, her easygoing and intriguing worldbuilding that uncovers a world full of rotten rulers and histories gone wrong. The more I think about this book, I find myself discovering various layers of human nature and the inevitable curse of history repeating itself in an infinite doomed cycle. The problematics have risen between two Kinds – if one is superior, does that mean it should hold itself accountable over the other? Because how can the stronger side not see itself as somehow responsible for the other, without the urge to trample them and subject it to its rule – I don’t know. And what is to be done if one of your greatest creations adopts your culture and oppresses your entire race into oblivion? I guess as long as there is power there won’t be equality or anything close to peace. Crier is an ambitious and intelligent heir with insightful and revolutionary ideas for both Kinds and their further coexistence, but who would listen to ideas of a seventeen-year-old girl? She is an Automa – a better, stronger, upgraded version of the human race that was supposed to look down on them as animals, but her whole life she was drawn to them, almost as she can sympathize with them. When she found out her Design is flawed – meaning she carried a fifth column that enables her to feel passion, Crier spent a good time of this book figuring out how to deal with feelings she physically wasn’t supposed to have. Her kind wasn’t supposed to feel, but she can’t do a damn thing when it comes to beautiful Ayla who she’s supposed to hate. She finds out she isn’t the only one with a vision, but pursuing that goal might take away her entire future and everything she’d worked for. Unexpected alliances and dangerous spywork will bring her on the verge of a war with her father and her Scyre, but Crier is ready and she won’t be afraid to embrace her vision. “Justice was a god, and Ayla didn’t believe in such childish things. She believed in blood.” Ayla is supposed to hate Crier by every principle - she even planned her assassination in her head more times than she can count. But when she finally has the chance to do it, there is something about Crier that strikes her and makes her falter. Ayla has only had one thing on her mind for the last eight years and that is vengeance for her family. Love is a weakness and it’ll make her hurt even more if she lets anything in again, but wars aren’t won by brute force. What she needs is something big – knowledge that could destroy the entire royal line and bring down the entire Automa population. Battling her feelings with an urge to avenge her family, she’ll find out she has more allies on the court than she thought, but everything comes with a price. She’s suffered too much already, but as it seems her fight is far from over. I loved everything about this book, except pacing was a bit inconsistent and dull. This book took a lot of time to build tension and plot necessary for a revolution, which made it a bit monotone and boring for my liking. Action scenes were few to none, and even schemes and plans seemed transparent from time to time. Even though I can see where everything’s going and that the first book was an introduction of a sort, I wish it was a little bit more interactive and dynamic. “If a spider weaves her web to catch flies and catches a butterfly instead, what does the spider do? She eats the butterfly.” Blog Twitter Tumblr

  18. 4 out of 5

    Fadwa (Word Wonders)

    Coherent thoughts? I don't know her! But i'll come back and write down my thoughts tomorrow (when it's not 1am)...if I remember. Feel free to yell at me if this is still in this space in a few days! Long story short, I expected a LOT more romance from everyone's reactions (not the book's fault though so it's okay) but there was A LOT of angst and longing and y'all...when they tell you it's slow burn, it is. And the ending was REALLY GOOD, not a cliffhanger of any sort but I still need the sequel Coherent thoughts? I don't know her! But i'll come back and write down my thoughts tomorrow (when it's not 1am)...if I remember. Feel free to yell at me if this is still in this space in a few days! Long story short, I expected a LOT more romance from everyone's reactions (not the book's fault though so it's okay) but there was A LOT of angst and longing and y'all...when they tell you it's slow burn, it is. And the ending was REALLY GOOD, not a cliffhanger of any sort but I still need the sequel yesterday. It was truly masterful!

  19. 5 out of 5

    milou ☕️

    Justice was a god, and Ayla didn’t believe in such childish things. She believed in blood. Humans are forced to bend to the will of the Automae's, those who are designed. Wars have left the kingdom of Rabu scattered. Ayla is just a servant with a plan for vengeance when she saves the life of Crier, the princess, and ends up as her servant. ・ 。゚:. *. .* :゚. I’ll be fair when I say that I wasn’t sure what I was getting when I got into this, but the premise had left me intrigued, wanting to Justice was a god, and Ayla didn’t believe in such childish things. She believed in blood. Humans are forced to bend to the will of the Automae's, those who are designed. Wars have left the kingdom of Rabu scattered. Ayla is just a servant with a plan for vengeance when she saves the life of Crier, the princess, and ends up as her servant. ─── ・ 。゚:☆. *.☽ .* :☆゚. ─── I’ll be fair when I say that I wasn’t sure what I was getting when I got into this, but the premise had left me intrigued, wanting to find out more about it. It gave me a bit of vibes of the tv show Humans, which is one of my all-time favourite shows pre-series 3. This is one of the strongest debuts to a series that I’ve read, so lots of praise towards Nina Varela for achieving something like that because it’s not easy. She’s here to stay. This book is all about revenge and two people who belong on the opposite site working together, and finding out that they might share some common ground. It that slow-paced enemies to lover’s trope that leaves you screaming for more, days after you’ve finished the book. 🤖 Ayla: a human servant who wants to get revenge at the royal family who's responsible for taking her family. 🤖 Crier: the princess of Rabu who thinks that she's flawed. Her father has arranged a betrothed for her. As for love? It was worse than a weakness. Love broke you. After all, it was love, wasn’t it, that had made Ayla weep for weeks after the death of her family, had made her curl up, unable to move. Love was what made you invite death, wish for it, crave it, just so that you could be freed from your own pain. If that isn’t enough to sign you up for this series I don’t know what does. I recommend if you’re on the lookout for a f/f romance between two women of different races, then you don’t need to look any further. You will not regret giving this book a chance, I can promise you that. Not after she knew the truth about herself. That she was capable of the most human feeling of all. That she loved Ayla. Curious to see what Nina is going to do next with the Iron Heart. ─── ・ 。゚:☆. *.☽ .* :☆゚. ─── Books in the series: ↠ Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult ↠ Reputation: Lesbian Reputation, Bisexual Reputation ↠ Pov: Third Person - Duo ↠ Type: Book 1 in the Crier's War series ↠ Rating: 80% -

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nina Varela

    hi, i wrote this, i hope y'all like it! content warnings here: https://www.ninavarela.com/content much love, nina

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sally ☾

    the f/f slow burn fantasy book my queer ass has always needed and wanted and craved.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Acqua

    f/f fantasy!!! And look at all the details on that cover!

  23. 5 out of 5

    ↠ dan ↞

    4.5 stars. LESBIAN ENEMIES TO LOVERS. THAT'S IT. READ IT. (but really, this book is so good. the world building and the family trees and the whole concept of automas??? i was hooked from page 1. the writing was beautiful and the slowburn was god tier. I NEED THE SEQUEL.)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)

    I received an ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review! I am so torn about this book. At some points, it was so amazing. And at others, it was dragging. I will say, at the time of this review, I plan on reading the rest of the series. I'll reread this book and I think that I might enjoy it more a second time through. This might change as I reflect and read more opinions, but it was a very clever book with an interesting fantasci world that I would be interested in revisiting. So, I received an ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review! I am so torn about this book. At some points, it was so amazing. And at others, it was dragging. I will say, at the time of this review, I plan on reading the rest of the series. I'll reread this book and I think that I might enjoy it more a second time through. This might change as I reflect and read more opinions, but it was a very clever book with an interesting fantasci world that I would be interested in revisiting. So, we're going to do a bullet point review. What I liked: ☁️ The world. It was very clever. There are humans and then there are automae, or machines. The machines rule, but it wasn't always that way. There are humans trying to fight the status quo, of course, and there are people within the machines who don't agree with what's going on. But, I thought the world was so unique. I've never read anything like that. ☁️ The general plot. It was fun and took me on a ride that I wasn't expecting. It was just so damn cool. ☁️ Ayla! I really liked Ayla. She's the human who somehow finds herself in the royal intrigue going on. I totally understood her and I just loved her. She was fun to read about! What I didn't like: ☁️ The political intrigue. It just... fell flat for me? That's what it comes down to. All the intrigue fell flat. I wasn't that intrigued by it because I got it right away. While the world was clever, I didn't think the intrigue was. ☁️ Where the plot went. What goes with what I mentioned above is that I wasn't a huge fan of where the plot wound up. Sure, it was nice and it took me on a ride, but I wasn't emotionally invested in it whatsoever. When the ending hit, I kind of rolled my eyes about it. ☁️ The romance. This is kind of touted as an f/f romance with enemies to lovers, but I didn't feel that way about it. Yes, they kinda get together. Kinda. I never really believed how they got together and I want to emphasize that they didn't really get together. It was more like the Captive Prince series where it's going to take multiple books. But, it fell flat for me. I was bored by it and I was really anticipating that part of it. ☁️ Crier! I wasn't into her. Yes, I got her struggle. Yes, I got her identity questions. Yes, I got it all. But I didn't love her chapters as much. ☁️ The angst. What can I say? It got boring. The romantic angst got stale for me. Overall, as I said, I plan on reading the rest of the series. When I get wind of the second book, I'll reread this to decide if I want to try the rest of the series. I think this has a lot of potential and that people are going to like it, but it didn't live up to the hype for me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    kav (xreadingsolacex)

    If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I assure you I would. "Ayla hated her. She hated her so goddamn much. It wasn't a lie. It just wasn't the whole truth." Crier's War by Nina Varela is a YA sapphic enemies-to-lovers fantasy novel set in the fictional world of Zulla. In Zulla, people are either born or Made. Humans are the marginalized, treated as disposable servant by Automae, the ones who have power. Our two main characters, Ayla and Crier, come from completely different background. If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I assure you I would. "Ayla hated her. She hated her so goddamn much. It wasn't a lie. It just wasn't the whole truth." Crier's War by Nina Varela is a YA sapphic enemies-to-lovers fantasy novel set in the fictional world of Zulla. In Zulla, people are either born or Made. Humans are the marginalized, treated as disposable servant by Automae, the ones who have power. Our two main characters, Ayla and Crier, come from completely different background. Ayla's entire village was wiped out, her family murdered by the Automae in power, Lord Hesod, and she has now made it her personal mission to take revenge by killing his daughter - Lady Crier. Lady Crier starts out as the sheltered daughter of her father, but over the course of her novel and her growing bond with Ayla, Lady Crier may just learn that her world isn't as equal as she hopes it is. So, Crier's War may just happen to be my favorite book of the year. Y'all, this book is just so good and it is a must-read. My interest in Crier's War sparked when I learned of the lesbian enemies-to-lovers aspect, and while that aspect is brilliant, the novel is so much more than that. The writing of this novel is just so beautiful and captivating, and I knew within the first chapter that I would be completely immersed into Varela's beautiful words. "She'd believed that revolution was possible, that if humans just kept rising up, refusing to submit, they could really change things. But Ayla knew better now. Over the years, she'd seen how hopeless Rowan's dreams were. Every uprising had failed; every brilliant plan had been crushed; every new maneuver just resulted in more human death. Justice was a god, and Ayla didn't believe in such childish things. She believed in blood." Beyond her incredible writing, the other part of this novel that makes it so immersive is the brilliant fantasy world the author weaves together. Varela's world is so well-put-together, exquisitely woven together with real-world themes and the wonderful magic of a fantasy. But while I love absolutely everything about this novel, the real power of this novel lies in the characters. Crier and Ayla are two of the greatest main characters I have ever read. "She wanted to cry. But Ayla had lost that ability years ago. It had been kicked out of her, drained. All that was left in her was anger, liked a flame. Anger and muscle and will. The will to get revenge. That was all that kept her going." I love both of these characters so much, for completely different reasons. Crier 's character arc throughout this novel is one of the best I have ever read. Her character creation as a somewhat "fantastical" figure with human traits is beyond exquisite. Crier starts out this novel as a sheltered and uneducated Automae with tons of privilege, but her journey into an immensely brave and loving character was so well-done and made me feel so many emotions. That being said, Ayla was definitely my favorite of the two, and is easily one of my favorite characters of all-time. Ayla's entire life was destroyed for absolutely no reason other than who she was born as, and she has developed into an angry, rebellious, and brave woman. I love angry female characters, especially angry women of color, and Ayla is that. I can't explain why I'm so drawn to them, maybe it's because of how strongly I relate to them, but they are some of my favorite characters to read about. And Ayla's character arc is so powerful and moving and made me cry multiple times. And the connection between these two characters was such a brilliant bonus. "Crier had been Designed. Crier was Made. But in the moment Ayla first touched her, Cried had learned what it felt like to be born." This slowburn enemies-to-lovers romance is everything I have ever wanted. The (extremely valid) angst and anger that develops into a palpable connection is absolutely everything. I honestly just can't tell you all how much I fucking love this novel. It is beyond brilliant and exquisite. Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    •°• gabs •°•

    i'm torn between 4 and 5 stars because i didn't love it as much as i had expected, but i still enjoyed it a lot and i'm really grateful for it

  27. 5 out of 5

    shri (sunandchai)

    Full review here on my blog! Wow, where do I even start. I think I’m just going to word vomit on this one because I had so many thoughts, I actually used the highlights and notes feature on the Kindle app for once in my life. Crier’s War was one of my most anticipated books of 2019, and it was every much the religious experience I was hoping it’d be. Between gorgeous writing, numerous allusions to our current societal institutions and prejudices, and a heart wrenching love story amidst Full review here on my blog! Wow, where do I even start. I think I’m just going to word vomit on this one because I had so many thoughts, I actually used the highlights and notes feature on the Kindle app for once in my life. Crier’s War was one of my most anticipated books of 2019, and it was every much the religious experience I was hoping it’d be. Between gorgeous writing, numerous allusions to our current societal institutions and prejudices, and a heart wrenching love story amidst tumultuous politics, Crier’s War is The Cruel Prince for the gays (most notably removing the bad boy love interest out of the equation ay.)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rec-It Rachel

    i'm always here for fantasy romances that involve kissing and knives

  29. 5 out of 5

    sofia (sam willows)

    i'm... sad that I didn't enjoy this as much as I wanted to. but unfortunately this just really wasn't for me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    caitlin ✶

    If you liked this review, you can check out my blog for more! 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! Originally, Crier’s War wasn’t on my list of anticipated 2019 releases. But then it grew super big around the middle of the If you liked this review, you can check out my blog for more! 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! 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. I liked... ✨ 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.

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