I have heard everyone and their extended family excited about Crier’s War. And I knew I had to read it. Pitched as a f/f fantasy and that was all I needed to know. But as I read it I fell in love.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Starting off with a quest to create an heir and I was hooked. Not only do the characters end up sticking with you past the last page, but the themes of the story will captivate you. Beautiful writing graces the pages of Crier’s War. And there’s no shortage of things to love. This is one of the cases where I love that I was pitched a f/f fantasy world and that is what I got. But on top of that it’s even more! Questions of people’s motivations, the vulnerability of love, and automatas!
Our character are motivated by different desires – to forestall a brewing conflict and by revenge. At the end of the day, we are asked about people’s motivations and our own desires. Viewing love as a weakness, a flaw, but not being able to see the ways it strengthens us, gives us purpose, shows us the truth with a gentle hand. Told through both Crier and Ayla’s perspectives, we are able to see that not everything is good and bad, but also that not everything we see is the truth.
World Building and Themes
In Crier’s War there is fascinating world building. Wanting to honor the culture that came before, to preserve the traditions, all while standing on their backs. A history of rebellion, subjugation, and rulership. Furthermore, what is the distinction between humans and those who were Made? Is it in their design? Their actions? What is the place of love and desire, of evolution and oppression? There’s so many themes and little moments I want to talk about, but can’t without spoiling it.
But Crier’s War asks us if we are who we think we are, or if we are the way we act. If love is based on our ability or our actions. Whether we can become someone else by acting differently, changing who we are, or if they are synonymous. When our history comes into question and those we trust are hiding secrets.
Crier’s War shows us mysteries in the background of apples, shimmering necklaces, and the history of our name. Moments of bonding over stories and little mercies. While you may be expecting there to be battles of swords, Crier’s War is about the internal struggle we have to do what’s right. To fight what is in our hearts and to realize that they’ve been singing a different tune. It’s also about the promise of a future that demands conflict, to fight for possibility, change, and our role in it.
About the Author
Nina Varela is a nationally awarded writer of screenplays and short fiction. She was born in New Orleans and raised on a hippie commune in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent most of her childhood playing in the Eno River, building faerie houses from moss and bark, and running barefoot through the woods. These days, Nina lives in Los Angeles with her writing partner and their tiny, ill-behaved dog. She tends to write stories about hard-won love and young people toppling the monarchy/patriarchy/whatever-archy. On a related note, she’s queer. On a less related note, she has strong feelings about hushpuppies and loves a good jambalaya. CRIER’S WAR is her first novel.
You can find Nina at any given coffee shop in the greater Los Angeles area, or at www.ninavarela.com.
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