CRIER’S WAR by Nina Varela is a really fantastic sci-fi fantasy featuring a F/F relationship. I happily obtained this ARC from HarperTeen as I write for Epic Reads.
Spoilers will start after the short summary during the extended review:
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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Why I was interested: As mentioned above, I was sent this book due to my freelance work. However, I loved the concept of a sci-fi/fantasy that brings in technology that borders magic. The idea of a created kind fascinated me and I wondered how the relationships between Automae and humanity would be presented.
Judge a book by it’s cover: My ARC cover is a very pretty marble-looking pattern of white, light blue, purple and brown. The book’s official cover is really cool with the Made heart, both girls, the ever-curving castle, and a futuristic yet fantasy-like pattern that looks like it has been carved into metal.
What to expect: Lots of technology with an old-school fantasy feel, a slow burn F/F romance, awesome details like letters, pages of history books and more. If you want a genre-bending book, this one is perfect. It is a smart first book in a new trilogy.
Why you should pick this book up: This debut book is a great start to trilogy that feels fresh and new. It has a really nice pace, great worldbuilding, and is wonderful if you’re more a fantasy person who is interested in getting into sci-fi books– or even vice versa. I love how Varela craftily intertwines the backstory and history so well into the main story.
Want more?: Varela’s debut is the first in a trilogy! So look forward to books 2 and 3 releasing soon.
ATTENTION: IF YOU HAVE YET TO READ CRIER’S WAR do not continue reading. The following contains spoilers for the book.
In a world separated into two races — that of Automae, or those Made, and humankind — there is only one concept that divides them: the concept of humanity.
Humanity is woven into this story and its history in so many different ways. King Hesod, Crier’s father, loves keeping traditionalism alive by honoring the humans’ culture the Autome have adopted even if he looks at humans as no more than animals. Scyre Kinok is obsessed with finding the next-level of Heartstone, Tourmaline, to become less like humans, be invincible, and create whole cities where humans no longer exist. Ayla, a human, feels one of the rawest forms of humanity: revenge.
Crier learns early on that she contains a fifth pillar, a third pillar of humanity, known as Passion. However, even if the fact is a lie, she shows throughout her journey that it is her choices that make her contain humanity, just as the midwife states at the end. In contrast to Crier, her friend Rosi lacks any semblance of humanity as she laughs at her betrothed’s death, is an avid follower of Kinok and ARM, and has taken the black dust known as Nightshade that has made her brittle and frail in hopes of becoming invincible.
Humanity is at once longed for a spat upon as the Automae rule over the humans in the land of Rabu.
In contrast is Varn, the country where Automae and humans live in harmony — at least, according to the Mad Queen, Junn, and Ayla’s supposedly-dead-but-not twin brother, Storme. As these characters still seem on the fence about what they want for change — or at least what we lack in knowing what they want — we will need to wait until book 2 to understand their true motives and if Crier and Ayla can truly trust them or not.
However, the history of the relationship between Automae and humans seems to be growing ever more complicated. At first it seemed like the Automae have ruled over humans since the War of Kinds. Then we learn humans created Automae as a previous baren human queen wanted a child. But now there is much to look towards as we wonder who truly created the Madekind, and I am excited to see what we learn next.
Overall, the discussion over how to embrace or repel humanity is a constant question in CRIER’S WAR that is beautifully summed up at the end by the midwife to Crier. Humanity is truly based on actions and how anyone — Made or not — live their lives. I thoroughly look forward to continuing Varela’s trilogy as it expands the world of Rabu.
What did you think of Nina Varela’s CRIER’S WAR? I’d love to hear your comments below!
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