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by Nina Varela
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This one really takes off around the halfway point. I'm impressed with Varela's construction and her skill in writing emotional scenes. I was definitely caught up. A few points off for some character knowledge contrivances that I found irritating and for the self-contained story elements to be a bit of a letdown. Still, I'm highly motivated to read the sequel. ( )
I don’t have enough praise for this book, I inhaled it
It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel, because Varela’s writing is exquisite! I’ll be on the lookout for any future releases from her.
The amazing worldbuilding is a definite highlight of this book — there’s a bit of an info dump in the beginning, just a tiny one, but later on there’s this gradual reveal I so adore in my fantasy books. I loved all the little ‘true story’ tidbits in each chapter, in the form of journal entries of many different people.
The plot was very well-paced, and the slow unfolding of the bigger intrigue — not just Ayla’s revenge — was extremely enjoyable and fascinating; it was almost impossible to put this book down at times!
As for the romance: it’s ‘enemies to lovers’ in its purest sense. The MCs are natural enemies, their Kinds want to kill/subdue one another, and they couldn’t be more different; Ayla is a human girl, a rebel, Crier’s an Automa — a kind of alchemically-enhanced android — and a lady, daughter and heir of the sovereign responsible for the death of Ayla’s family… It seems impossible, and it is, but the attraction between these two is so undeniable, the slow-burn so perfectly executed that their single kiss felt monumental.
BE STILL MY SAPPHIC HEART
This duology is the debut of writer Nina Varela, and I can already say I am a huge fan. Her style of writing is gorgeous, and the pacing of the novel causes the story to grab you tight and refuse to let you go. I am already so excited to return to the world of Crier’s War, to run back to Ayla and Crier and to see where their story unfolds from here. Hope you enjoy as much as I did!
--see full review at storyeyed.blog
From debut author Nina Varela comes the first book in an Own Voices, richly imagined epic fantasy duology about an impossible love between two girls--one human, one Made--whose romance could be the beginning of a revolution. Perfect for fans of Marie Rutkoski's The Winner's Curse as well as Game of Thrones and Westworld. 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.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
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