To be honest, I don’t even know how to start this review of Crier’s War by Nina Varela or if I’ll ever be able to put my thoughts and feelings into words. Alas, I am also afraid that I’ll forget half of it, so here we go! I’d advise you to buckle up because this will be a hell of a ride.
First things first: Crier’s War was basically shoved into my face by the ever lovely Ellie (faerieontheshelf) and since she never let me down when it comes to A+ recs, I almost instantly bought it – only to wait a few weeks before starting it, because of life
(insert dramatic sigh here). And how glad I am that I read it!
Crier’s War is set in a world where humans are ruled by android-like Automae after the latter have overthrown their human Makers. The story follows Ayla – a human servant, trying to get close to the sovereign’s daughter to kill her and finally get revenge – and Crier – the said daughter of the sovereign and an Automa designed to be perfect. The two of them are so different but somehow so alike, it’s the perfect base for a bittersweet romance. While Ayla’s main goal is to kill Crier after she lost her family to a raid ordered by Crier’s father (the sovereign), Crier tries to find her path in a world that’s not what she expected it to be.
In my opinion, both main characters are extremely strong and well-written. Still, Ayla is depicted as the more prickly and headstrong one of the duo. After the death of her family, she started to refuse any kind of love or relationship as much as possible and only grew fond of a handful of people. Crier on the other hand often appears softer and naive and sometimes seems not to understand what is happening around her – even though she was designed to be intellectual. Crier spends her days reading and studying, but only in theory so she doesn’t have quite the feeling for the practical. But I am very much in love with both Ayla and Crier and that means also accepting their flaws
even though Crier really doesn’t want to have a Flaw.
The circumstances under which the two of them meet are less than ideal – without wanting to spoil Crier learns to face death (even though she’s technically not human and can’t die the way humans do) and Ayla doesn’t act as she always thought she would. But damn, the start of the romance couldn’t be more perfect. The description of enemies-to-lovers is everything you need to know here. And not just “they don’t like each other”, but real enemies-to-lovers. Like I already said, Ayla wants to kill Crier. So we’re really hardcore enemies-to-lovers here! And with that comes an exquisite lady/handmaiden dynamic and lots of mutual pining / not understanding of “what am I feeling here”. Varela’s writing was AMAZING and I just couldn’t get enough!
At this point in this review, I don’t even know where we’re going anymore. So I’ll just name a few things that I really liked in the book but that I can’t put into a nicer description: political systems and their flaws, humanity (and what makes persons human), LGBTQ+ representation and found family. Of course, there is a LOT MORE to discover but my mind won’t wrap around it right now and I’d really like you to discover it yourself!
amazing sapphic romance,
my stupid children well-written characters and some very interesting world-building.
– f/f romance
– bi and lesbian MC
– POC MC
– lady/handmaiden dynamic
– mutual pining
– slow burn
– death of family
– depictions of torture and murder
If you want to get a copy of Crier’s War by Nina Varela (and I’d advise you to read it ASAP and before the second book comes out September 8th 2020!), you can get it via BookDepository or any other bookseller you trust! You can also take a look at my stop for the Iron Heart blog tour, if you want to.