Young adult, fantasy
HarperTeen, October 1st 2019
e-Arc, 448 pages
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.
Blog Tour Information
First of all I’d like to give a big thank you to Karina @ Afire Pages and HarperTeen for the opportunity to join this blog tour! I recieved an ARC in return for my participation, but of course that didn’t affect my opinions at all. You can find more infortmation about the tour on Karina’s blog here!
You can also enter this giveaway for the chance to win your own copy of Crier’s War (open international).
I’ve been excited about Crier’s War for a really long time. If this book was a recipe it would have all my favourite ingredients, and unlike the time 6-year-old me tried to make cookies with no supervision, it turned out splendidly. There are so many things done spectacularly well in this book that I barely know where to start talking about all of them.
Let’s start with the thing that absolutely blew me away, and with this book that’s the writing. Oh, boy, does Valera know how to string words together to make pretty sentences. It wasn’t quite lyrical, it flowed like water over rocks but it had a sharp edge to it that could cut deep, especially during scenes of intense emotion. Her descriptions were so vivid that it almost felt like you were there, watching it all happen with your own two eyes.
Which, considering this books plot, would probably not be a very safe place to be! I really enjoyed the direction this story took, it felt very no holds barred and exciting. I’m notoriously bad at picking out plot twists, so I definitely found myself surprised more than most people would be, but I do think Valera does a really good job of revealing information in ways that don’t make you want to scream at the characters for being oblivious.
I’m a huge fan of dual POV, and it is executed brilliantly here. I enjoyed reading from both Crier and Ayla’s perspective, although I didn’t know it was going to be 2 POVs until I started reading. The side characters weren’t necessarily as fleshed out as they could have been, but since a majority of the story focuses on Crier and Ayla I understand why they weren’t.
Personally, I enjoyed different things about each of the two characters. I liked Ayla’s rebellion story, I’m a big sucker for revolutions and I really like the way Valera gave her her own personal vendetta, rather than the typical “teenage girl wants to save her country.” Ayla has personal goals that sometimes aligned with the revolution, but I like the fact that they didn’t always.
Crier on the other hand was a much more court politics type storyline (something else I am also a sucker for), and watching her navigate through everything that was thrown at her was fascinating. I’m really interested to see where her character goes, because I think there’s two pretty obvious paths for her and they’re both very exciting.
The relationship in Crier’s War was so fucking good, y’all. This is the kind of enemies to lovers that makes you wish you had an enemy just so you could fall in love with them. The development between Crier and Ayla felt so organic to me, it never felt forced. You watched them grow to care about each other even when they probably shouldn’t. It was beautifully written, and I’m so excited to get more of them in future installments.
I only have one gripe with this book and that’s with Benjy. Not the character himself, I actually quite liked him, but about his relationship with Ayla. The male best friend being in love with the female main character is such an overdone trope, especially when said main character has exactly 1 friend. It annoyed me when it was done in Red Queen, and The Grisha Trilogy and Twilight. The only notable exception is The Hunger Games but that’s mostly because I do not like Peeta one bit, and I don’t see why it was necessary here. Ayla asserts from the beginning that it’s not an option.
All in all, I absolutely adored this book. If you’re looking for a read that will keep you entertained and guess until the very last page then this is the book for you.
F/F Fantasy Recommendations
Do you love F/F content? Do you want more in fantasy? Then I’ve got the list for you!
In honour of Crier’s War I’ve collected a list of 6 YA fantasy novels with main female/female romances. I haven’t read all of these (although this month is dedicated to F/F and spooky books on my TBR) but I can vouch that they all feature F/F ships. In addition, most of them are second world fantasy with 1 exception and 1 semi-exception, so you’ll find lots of good fantasy content too!
I absolutely love Of Fire & Stars. It’s got such a classic YA fantasy feel to it, buy significantly gayer. Denna and Mare are one of my favourite fictional couples, and I think their relationship develops so organically and they have so much chemistry. Plus, the sequel just recently came out so there’s more to sink your teeth into.
If you liked Crier’s War and you want more F/F enemies to lovers Ice Massacre is where to go. It has a side helping of childhood best friends to lovers (yes, same relationship as the enemies) and it also has mermaids. This is one on my TBR for this month, but it comes highly recommended by people I trust.
I can already hear my friends yelling at me for not having read this yet, but it’s also on my October TBR. This is a gay feminist retelling of Snow White, which honestly is probably enough to sell you but if it isn’t then just look at the cover. Girls Made of Snow and Glass also explores a complex mother-daughter relationship, something you don’t see a lot of in YA.
I read Girls of Paper and Fire earlier this year and absolutely adored it. It was everything I wanted and more, and the relationship between Lei and Wren was so so good. They’re both strong characters with their own flaws and I’m incredibly excited to see more of them in the next installment.
Labyrinth Lost is the aforementioned semi-exception to the second world rule. While the book starts in the modern world, a good portion of the plot takes place in an alternate world. This book also sort of has a love triangle, so if you’re looking for classic YA tropes turned on their head then this is a good place to start.
These Witches Don’t Burn is the urban fantasy book I’ve included and it’s another one that I’m planning on reading this month! It has a lot of fun things that are very exciting for a YA book, include a good ole fashioned Working With Your Ex trope, something that I absolutely cannot get enough of.