I'm happy to report that October broke me out of my reading slump. There were just too many amazing releases. I'm still trying to catch up on them all. Today, I'm recommending CRIER's WAR by Nina Varela, a slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers lesbian fantasy YA.
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.
The angst! The longing! It was so good, Reader. This book was everything I wanted in a lesbian YA: well-drawn, complicated female characters, deep emotions between the heroines, real conflict (both internal and external), exciting action, and a ton of slow-burn romantic tension.
Plus, being queer is normalized, which is important to me as a lesbian and something I strive for in my own writing: I want to see women who live and love like me having amazing adventures, deep relationships, and romance.
The world-building was lush, the characters well-rounded and relatable. The romance between our heroines, Crier and Ayla, was sweet, bittersweet, and fiery. It was a real push and pull at times, which left me rooting for them to tear down the patriarchy and just kiss already.
Some of my favorite tropes make an appearance as well (enemies to lovers, sharing a bed, etc.), and they were all handled well and with the utmost angst, I can assure you.
Crier was likely my favorite character. I'm a sucker for a cinnamon roll, and Crier was all that and more: insightful, sweet, curious but also cunning and smart, a budding ruler in her own right. Her curiosity about Ayla and how that blossoms into love really read true to me.
Ayla was equally amazing--fiery and passionate where Crier was insightful and intelligent. Her passion and anger really drive the story forward and watching the two of them clash, fall in love, and clash again was wonderful.
But don't take my word for it. Get your copy at: