From debut author Nina Varela comes the first book in an Own Voices, richly imagined epic fantasy duology 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 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 hush puppies 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 www.ninavarela.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I enjoyed reading Criers War. It was wholly unique concept and world that Nina Varela came up with. The concept of Made vs. Unmade evokes a discussion about equality that makes you really think. The writing was precise and lyrical, the stakes were high and morals were grey. I also thought the slow development of the relationship between the two main characters was well done.
If you like super slow burn (it hurt!) with enemies to lovers in a sci-fi world, this book is for you. The Automae are human-like robots (they have skin and organs) who basically rule the world. There was a war and they won so now the humans have to follow the Automae rules or they die. The humans are struggling to survive. There are different factions within the Automae – some hate the humans and want them all gone, others think they can learn from humans and they should co-exist. Ayla has spent most of her life seeking revenge for her family, who were murdered by Automae. She finally gets a position at the House of the Sovereign where she plans to kill his daughter, Crier, to make him suffer as she did. One night, Crier is in danger and instead of killing her, Ayla saves her life. Crier decides to make Ayla her handmaiden. Ayla uses this position to feed the resistance information. She was taken in by the resistance leader when she escaped and has been working with them since. Crier wants to be more involved with decisions and is working very hard to earn a place on the council. She believes humans and Automae can live together peacefully. She often speaks up when she has an idea but this is looked down upon from her father. She starts questioning her father's motives when she's betrothed to Scyre Kinok, who believes all humans should be killed and new Automae only cities should be built. Kinok doesn't have the resources to do this, but Crier's father does. So the two make a deal, and leave Crier and her opinions out of it. She doesn't understand why her father, who claims to value human's ways, would work with Kinok. After making Ayla her handmaiden, Crier begins to open up to her about her desires. Ayla is suspicious and continues to listen for information to help the resistance. The two reach an uneasy alliance as they realize they both don't trust Kinok and think he's up to something. Crier can't stop thinking about Ayla and does her best to protect her, but that isn't always enough. Ayla always seems to be around when Crier's alarm goes off so her father and Kinok intervene. Crier defends Ayla and her father uses this as proof Crier can't make her own decisions. Ayla hasn't forgotten about her goal of killing Crier, but Crier unknowingly gives her information that would be very helpful to the resistance. Ayla just has to find a way around Kinok's defenses to get the proof the resistance needs. There's so much going on but it's revealed slowly so I never felt lost or like there was too much going on. The world grows the more you read and the characters motives change as they learn more along with the reader. The ending is satisfying on one level, but also painful. It wraps up this part of the story well, but I really need the next book to find out what they decide (several options are opened to the characters near the end).
Ayla, human, heard the screams of her parents and twin brother as they died at the hands of Automae. She vowed to avenge their deaths by killing the beloved daughter of the ruler of Rabu. Older and wiser as the book opens, she’s busy putting into place her plans to rise in the ranks of the servants in the House of the Sovereign in order to get close to Crier, the sovereign’s daughter. A change meeting between Ayla and Crier changes everything. This debut novel is so very well written. The storyline is creative, intricate, and amazingly well plotted. The characters are strong, multifaceted, and unique. The world-building thoughtful and complex. Read this book for the story of two young women, one determined to kill the other for revenge, and then after a slowly building relationship, falling in love. But savor the skill of the writing, the mind that created their world, and the creative force that brought all that together at once. If you love world-building and an enemy to lover slow-burn romance, this book most definitely belongs at the top of your to-be-read list. Thanks to Harper Teen and Edelweiss for an eARC.
4.25 stars **I received an ARC from the publisher. In no way was I compensated for this review, and these are my honest opinions.** Crier’s War was one of my most anticipated 2019 releases; I mean, a f/f slow-burn enemies-to-lovers ship in a fantasy novel with humans and androids? And look at that cover! It’s like this book was written for me, honestly. Crier’s War is a stunning debut, with beautiful writing and detailed worldbuilding. The writing was truly exquisite; it was a sort of lyrical prose, with such a rich tone to it. And this is Varela’s debut! I can’t wait to see what she writes in the future. The plot was fairly simple, in that the humans are rebelling against the automae who are basically invincible. However, I loved how Varela explored the differences and nuances of the automae-human relationship. Despite humans creating them and how some of them uphold “human” culture, the automae despise humanity, a hatred that is likewise reflected to them. The world building was my favorite part of the book. We see most of it in little snippets of journals/history books/etc. between chapters, and I would honestly read a whole other book surrounding the time when the automae were created. Also, Crier’s War has normalized same-sex relationships, which is always a plus in my book. And our two main characters! I love Ayla, my angry chaotic-bi daughter, and Crier, my soft useless-lesbian daughter. Both of their characterizations are so great. Ayla is spying on Crier and trying to hide her anger and frustrations. Crier is trying to navigate the complexities of politics and wanting more with her life. Their relationship is amazing too. Shri described it as “The Cruel Prince for the gays” and honestly I see it. There’s an enemies-to-lovers dynamic with differences in authority, as automae view humans as lesser. Ayla hates Crier for that, but she maybe also starts to like her a little as she gets to know her. I will say that this entire book was more of the “build up” part of the slow burn trope, but this is a trilogy and we are definitely going to make progressions. I can’t wait! The last ten percent really killed me; I can’t say more because of spoilers, but it was intense and I’m desperate for the next book. The last lines sent chills down my spine! Crier’s War is definitely a book that slowly but surely builds up plot and romance, all the while capturing your attention. Don’t miss out on this f/f slow-burn enemies-to-lovers fantasy novel!