Crier’s War: a YA Fantasy Rebellion with Sci-Fi elements and a well constructed f/f romance? Count me in!

This is a Spoiler Free book review for Crier’s War by Nina Varela

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ◊ (8.14/10)

Beginning with this review, I am now following a rating system in order to improve my reviews and make my ratings more consistent. I have been using a CAWPILE spreadsheet by BookRoast on Youtube.

This means that I rate the Characters, Atmosphere, Writing, Plot, Intrigue, Logic, and Enjoyment individually on a scale from 1 to 10. The spreadsheet automatically averages those ratings out for an overall rating then gives me the star rating on a 5 star scale.

With that said, my reviews will now be structured around this system, so let’s just jump right in.

Goodreads Synopsis

“After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, Designed to be the playthings of royals, took over the estates of their owners and bent the human race to their will.

Now, Ayla, a human servant rising the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging the death of her family… by killing the Sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier. Crier, who was Made to be beautiful, to be flawless. And to take over the work of her father.

Crier had been preparing to do just that—to inherit her father’s rule over the land. But that was before she was betrothed to Scyre Kinok, who seems to have a thousand secrets. That was before she discovered her father isn’t as benevolent as she thought. That was before she met Ayla.

Set in a richly-imagined fantasy world, Nina Varela’s debut novel is a sweepingly romantic tale of love, loss and revenge, that challenges what it really means to be human.”  –Goodreads

The web of this rebellion story is laced with fantasy and sci-fi elements, and the world is inherently comprised of lgbtq+ ideals.


Favorite Elements:

Characters (10)

The best part of this book is the two main characters, Ayla and Crier. Ayla is a human servant with a thirst for revenge since her family was murdered by the king’s order. Lady Crier, is the daughter of said king and is arranged to marry the leader of a mysterious rebellion. Ayla’s motivations are crystal clear from the beginning of the story, and her past is slowly uncovered throughout the story. Crier’s struggle as a woman in a political system of men is quite relatable and her anxieties realistic.

I personally enjoyed Lady Crier’s character and found her struggles/anxieties to be quite relatable.

Atmosphere (8)

This story does a great job of immersing the reader in the world, which is probably due to the fact that it is written a bit like a movie. There are historical documents between chapters and being in the characters’ thoughts really connects the reader to the story. The flash backs are dreamlike and vivid; to the point that you can smell the smoke in the air and feel the character’s pain as your own.

Plot (8)

The action and relationships in this story develop at a tasteful pace that has the reader invested. The rebellion and politics keep the plot moving while the character’s relationships progress. The quick, yet well developed plot keeps the reader engaged and invested in the story. Additionally, this story does end on a bit of a cliffhanger, which some people don’t mind but others do.

I found myself heavily invested in the characters’ relationships by the end of the story, and was surprised by the care and time that went into really building everything up in a realistic way.

Intrigue (8)

Due to the plot and writing style, this story keeps the reader invested in the mysteries and intrigued by various characters’ motives and secrets. Not to mention the various political groups and rebellions whose webs interweave. The reader only ever knows as much as the main characters, which keeps the reader intrigued.

Enjoyment (9)

Overall, this book is a joy to read. The combination of an interesting premise, flawed/relatable characters, political intrigue, and movie-like structure makes for an enjoyable read. The character’s relationships and the story that unfolds in such a quick read is well worth the chance.

This book is best enjoyed in late summer/early fall.


Least Favorite Elements:

Writing (7)

The way this book is written is not wrong or bad per say, but there are some stylistic choices that will work for some people and not others. There are some hard sentence fragments and other grammatical choices for stylistic effect. These choices can interrupt the reading flow and take the reader out of the story, but that may not be the case for everyone.

On the other hand, the story’s pacing, quality, and development is tastefully and effectively done. The historical documents, timelines, maps, and flashbacks are a creative and enjoyable method of storytelling. Those elements of are quite unique for a Young Adult novel.

Logic (7)

The fantastical and science fiction elements of this story don’t cross too many lines or demand a suspension of disbelief from the reader, but it is young adult novel. There are some common YA tropes within the drama and relationships of this story, but they do not take away from the overall enjoyment of the story. There are some points in the action when some of the circumstances line up a bit too perfectly for the main characters, but like the drama, it doesn’t take from the overall enjoyment of the story.

Content Warnings

  • War, genocide, slavery, murder, implicit sexism, second hand embarrassment, sexual anxiety (no sex is shown, just implied as a concept), anxiety, greif, arranged marriage, assassinations, racism (speciesism?), death of family members, and lynchings.

Average rating: 8.14 out of 10, which translates to 4 out of 5 stars.


Thank you for reading. Don’t forget to check out the Books I’m Currently Excited About/ August TBR.

-Knight of Cups ❤


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