Summary (from the publisher): Set in a universe after the War of Kinds destroyed the land of Old Zulla, the man-made beings known as the Automa species have risen to power, forcing their inferior human counterparts into living lives of service and suffering. When Ayla’s family is murdered under Sovereign Hesod’s reign, she vows to seek revenge by killing his daughter, Lady Crier. However, once Ayla and Crier start spending more time together, Ayla’s blood-thirsty rage and burning desire to kill Crier quickly shifts into a different kind of desire. Turns out, the feelings are mutual and Crier is just as confused and curious about her attraction to Ayla when unexpected feelings of love and longing begin to surface. While their seemingly inconvenient, romantic feelings for one another continue to grow stronger, so do the intense political divisions and tensions throughout the land.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Blame it on the fact that I haven’t been reading as much as I usually do this fall, but lately I haven’t been head-over-heels in love with my past few reads. That soon changed when I picked up Nina Varela’s debut novel, Crier’s War. I didn’t think I’d be adding too many more fantasy books to my favorites list year, but Crier’s War is hands-down one of the best books and best debuts I’ve read this year!
Crier’s War takes place in a world where people are divided into two categories, humans and Automae, or humans that are ‘Made.’ The daughter of the kingdom’s sovereign, Crier is an Automa. Although she looks human and acts like one, Crier isn’t supposed to have human feelings like passion- until she sees her blue prints and discovers that she isn’t the flawless creation she is meant to be. Meanwhile, ever since her family was murdered during one of the sovereign’s raids, Ayla has always had vengeance on her mind. Her goal? Murder Lady Crier. However, Ayla’s plans are complicated when she begins to work for Crier and her feelings of hatred turn into something more.
The book has received much attention for featuring a female/female romance, Crier and Ayla. The execution of their relationship, as well as the enemies to lovers trope, was done really well. While their relationship was well-developed, Crier’s War is so much more than the romance. Crier’s War is told both from Ayla and Crier’s perspectives, which allowed Nina Varela to expand upon the world of Zulla and all the political inner-workings even further. Out of the two, I’d argue that Crier experiences the most character development and while I want book #2 for a ton of reasons, I’m especially excited to see her grow in the next installment. I would’ve loved to see Crier’s War go even further, but nevertheless, I’m really excited to see this story expand into a series.
I especially love fantasy books that have complicated politics and many people involved, but also a writing style that makes it easy to follow the politics and action. By no means am I suggesting that the writing style of Crier’s War is too simple, because there were so many emotional and hard-hitting moments and revelations. Much of the politics in Crier’s War revolves around the divide between the Automae and humans. Between a timeline in the very beginning, excerpts throughout, and what the characters reveal, Nina Varella made it very easy to understand the history of Zulla. Crier’s father and her fiancé, Kinok, basically want humans to have no freedom. Kinok’s efforts also revolve around heartstone, the protected resource that literally fuels the Automae and keeps them alive. As part of the rebellion, while Ayla’s mission is to take down Crier, she also investigates what exactly Kinok is up to. I want to say more, especially Crier’s role in figuring out Kinok’s motives and a visiting queen’s own mission for Crier, but I want to be careful of spoilers. Although the ending leaves much open-ended, I really enjoyed the novel and character’s story arcs.
Overall, I loved Crier’s War and it’s for sure one of my favorite books of the year! As much as I wish I could have book #2, Iron Heart right now, Crier’s War is sending me in a fantasy reads kick and I’m absolutely loving it.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for review. By no means did this affect my thoughts or opinions.
Have you read Crier’s War? What fantasy books have you been loving lately? Share in the comments!