Sarah J. Maas fans, take note: there’s a new fantasy queen about to take over your reading life. Award-winning screenplay and short story writer Nina Varela’s debut novel Crier’s War is an Own Voices fantasy epic that will have you on the edge of your seat from the first page. It has been described by Booklist as “Rife with mystery, romantic tension, and political intrigue… perfect for readers craving queer fantasy with dense worldbuilding.”
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.
I know. Before you ask, here’s the preorder link. And though you definitely don’t need any more convincing after reading that enticing blurb, I’m just going to keep going, because I am EXCITED about this book.
Though LGBTQAI+ representation has undoubtedly become more common in recent years, it is still super exciting to see this representation manifesting in new and different ways, across all types of fiction. This is something Varela is passionate about, telling blog Book Bratz that “Homophobia doesn’t exist in the world of Crier’s War; Crier and Ayla never experience any suffering or oppression because of their sexualities; but I am queer and I live on Earth and some of my world bled through. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think there’s a certain part of Crier’s story—separate from the romance—that will resonate with queer people.”
And the School Library Journal agrees, noting that Crier’s War is “A lush #OwnVoices fantasy debut with science fiction elements and LGBTQIA+ representation.” (Sidenote: they also call it “perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass.” Didn’t I say this! Maas fans, I see you.)
But seriously, Crier’s War is already causing a stir, with Kirkus Reviews gushing that “Dizzying political machinations intertwine with a burgeoning romance. The plot zooms ahead with nail-biting tension. A fresh, suspenseful take on the robot apocalypse'” and Tara Sim, author of the Timekeeper Trilogy calling it “a beautiful poem of a book.” And if you know anything about Nina Varela, it really comes as no surprise that she should have written something so beautiful and revolutionary.
Nina Varela was born in New Orleans and was raised on a hippie commune in North Carolina, with parents who both used to be editors, and spent her childhood “playing in the Eno River, building faerie houses from moss and bark, and running barefoot through the woods.” Due to her parents professions, she knew early on that she wanted to be a writer, telling blog Reads Rainbow that “I still have a bunch of those black-and-white composition notebooks from elementary school filled with my first stories, which were mostly about horses.”
Varela has always been fascinated with the concept of humanity, telling Book Bratz that “A recurring theme in everything I’ve ever done is: “What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be a person? How do you define that?” And this shows. Valera’s debut is an exploration of love, and passion, and justice— all things that comprise true humanity.
Varela is excited and grateful for her readers, both human and otherwise, commenting: “For so long, the world of Crier’s War existed only between me and my editor, and I think some part of me internalized that—part of me thought it would be like that forever, that no one else would actually read this book. But now the doors are open, people are reading, and it’s surreal. It’s stunning. I’m grateful to anyone and everyone who picks up this book, now and on release day and after, always.”
Don’t miss your chance to catch Nina Varela IRL at the following locations next month!
- Saturday, October 5th, The Ripped Bodice with Audrey Coulthurst, Los Angeles, CA
- Saturday, October 12th, Tattered Cover with Casey McQuiston, Denver, CO
- Friday, October 18th, Books Inc. Opera Plaza with Tara Sim, San Francisco, CA