I was supposed to review this book as part of a tour organised by The Fantastic Flying Book Club last month but due to personal circumstances I had to pull-out – nevertheless, I promised I would read & review it eventually, & I am so glad I did.
I was sent this book to review as part of a blog tour organised by The Fantastic Flying Book Club
⚠️ Sexual references, detailed violence & gore & animal hunting ⚠️
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.
After reading The Kingdom earlier this year there was no way I was going to pass up on the opportunity to read another story based around the idea of Automae, & in my head I’ve decided that Crier’s War is set in the same world as The Kingdom, just many, many years down the line. I loved Crier’s War so much & this was a book with a romance that I was able to get completely behind (which doesn’t happen often as I generally hate romances); the world-building was awesome, the characters were so well made & the plot is only the start of something I know will be epic.
Over the years I have read a lot of YA stories & Crier’s War is kinda’ your typical YA tale, with all your YA tick box details – normally this may have annoyed me, but Crier’s War just reminded me of why I love the YA world so much & why I’ve been so faithful to it for so many years now. Despite it being so very YA, the plot of this story still took me by surprise & there were so many events that I really didn’t see coming. Crier’s War is a long-ish book at 448 pages but as I’m really into long books at the moment, it just made me fall deeper into the plot & storyline.
Our leading lady Alya (the pronunciation of which I change every time I read it) was a great heroine – she was ruthless & determined, with a very big grudge to hold & her childhood story was hard not to feel emotional about. But, as Alya starts to change her opinions & tries to fight those changes, I really started to get attached to her & even I felt torn about what she should do or how she should feel. Alya has to deal with some real shit in this book, she loses someone she really cares about, has a very unexpected blast from the past & finds herself questioning everything she has ever believed in. The book ended with Alya in a very difficult situation & I’m so eager to see what happens next.
Our other leading lady, Crier was very different from Alya but was also fighting against everything she thought she knew about herself & the world she lives in throughout the entire book. I think I actually ended up more attached to Crier & her journey than Alya’s, & I really enjoyed reading this story from her perspective. Crier, like Alya, is fierce, but she also has this delicate vulnerability that made me adore her. Watching Crier go from being innocent, in many ways, to being stronger & more aware of what was going on around her was such a gratifying thing to experience & I can’t wait to see what decisions she makes, & which rules she breaks, in the next book in the series.
Nine times out of ten, the world-building makes a book for me, & I did really love this book’s world-building (especially as the history is so well detailed), but as my review may show, Crier & Alya were what made me love this story. I cannot wait to see what happens next for them both.
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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