This is a second blog tour I’m a part of hosted by the lovely Karina @ Afire Pages and honestly, what a joy! And like before, not only do I have for you a review of one of my most anticipated books of the year, but a giveaway as well. Check out the link at the end to win a copy!
There’s also another little surprise, and by surprise I mean a playlist for Crier’s War by yours truly.
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.
Rating: 5/5 🌈
Published: 1st October 2019
Rep: lesbian poc mc, bi poc mc, poc cast, numerous side mlm & wlw couples
Inside her chest, in the core of her, Ayla felt her heart stretch and swell and take root.
Galley provided by publisher
If you know me at all, you know that I haven’t been big on fantasy in the last year or so. But Crier’s War? It’s the kind of fantasy I can get behind even now, when I’m not really a fan of the genre. And there are two main reasons for this: 1) it’s a little bit character-driven (not the way contemporary novels can be, no, but it’s there) & 2) it’s heavy on the romance.
Now, the thing about romance in Crier’s War is that Varela knows exactly how key the slowburn element is to the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope, knows exactly the pace at which it should develop. Yes, the romance is visible basically since the moment the girls meet (and what a meet-cute they have!), but it’s so graceful, it progresses so naturally, it makes such perfect sense. No insta-love here! (I can think of one other example of a fantasy novel with those exact qualities that also used them the way they were designed by gods and I won’t name it, but if you know, you know.)
And of course it’s impossible to talk about romance in Crier’s War without saying how gay it is. Which I think might be my favourite part about the book. Not just the fact that two girls share a bed and pine after each other – though obviously it was the reason I wanted to read it in the first place – but how natural it was. The fact that neither of them questioned the relationship in this regard even once. The world Varela created is completely void of homophobia and it’s a beautiful sight to behold. It’s visible in more ways than this one, as well. There are a number of offhandedly mentioned couples throughout the story and so many of them are gay! And not a single comment about that! Not a single person wonders how it was possible that a servant married his beloved stable boy.
So often authors come up with those intricate worlds, where everything seems magical & where our laws have no place, and they still feel the need to include homophobia. Not Varela. She gives us an incredible world, not simply a black-and-white one, but one where gay people are so natural, there isn’t even any need for labels. For that alone I will always be grateful.
Crier’s War is heavy on the gay romance, yes, but that’s not what it actually hinges on. We’re introduced to a world where the tension between humans and Automae has been brewing for years & the reader’s view on both sides changes throughout the story, with every new piece of information, with every new betrayal. It’s a carefully woven tale with the stakes that just keep rising and a cliffhanger that makes one wish for a time machine. Any fantasy fan would be satisfied. Any gay fantasy fan would be in love.
It’s all sapphic songs by sapphic ladies & aesthetic songs & a song by Hozier that I added because I think I’m funny.
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
Related: Our interview with Nina!
It’s open internationally, so any of you can be the Lucky One!
Click here to enter.
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
Sept. 23 – Afire Pages | 21 Questions with Nina Varela
Sept. 24 – The Sparrow’s Perch | Fan Art
F A N N A | Reasons for Game of Thrones and Westworld Fans to Read Crier’s War
Sept. 25 – Forever and Everly
Your Tita Kate | Bookstagram Photos
Sept. 26 – Lori’s Bookshelf Reads
Pages Left Unread | Characters Aesthetics
Sept. 27 – Caitlin Althea
Pages Below the Vaulted Sky | Fan Art
Sept. 28 – Lauren’s Bookshelf
Reads Rainbow | Playlist
Sept. 30 – Boricua Reads | Sapphic Rebellious Women in YA
Oct. 1 – Once Upon A Bookcase
Read at Night | Favorite Quotes
Oct. 2 – Mel to the Any
Oct. 3 – Novel Nerd Faction | Playlist
Oct. 4 – Sage Shelves | F/F Fantasy Recommendation
And that’s it from me, guys! Hopefully – if for some ungodly reason you weren’t planning on it already – I convinced you to read Crier’s War!