Game of Thrones and Westworld are two of HBO’s most famous and widely loved TV series, and the growing hype around Crier’s War, a YA queer science-fiction fantasy, made me wonder if there’s a common ground for the three creations. When I came to know Crier’s War was pitched as a perfect story for fans of Game of Thrones and Westworld, I knew it was for me…because I had never imagined the possibility of getting the best of both worlds. But one week after finishing Crier’s War, I can say it with assurance: this book is indeed perfect for fans of the two acclaimed TV series. This post explores exactly that. Read on to find out eight reasons why Game of Thrones and Westworld fans would love Crier’s War by Nina Varela. Thank you to Karina @AfirePages for the opportunity to read this book through a blog tour!
From debut author Nina Varela comes the first book in an Own Voices, richly imagined epic fantasy 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.
Succeeded by Iron Heart
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1. If you found the Hosts of Westworld interesting, the Automa of Crier’s War will hold your interest too.
Westworld’s artificially created robots with developed minds, aka the hosts, won the guests’ attention in the fictional theme park. If they won your attention as a viewer too, you’ll be interested in the Automa of Crier’s War. I mean, it has already landed in so many book lists like 11 Epic Books Featuring Robots & Artificial Intelligence by EpicReads.
These androids have minds built with great characteristics of both, the machine and the human side. They’re meant to be right and rational at all times. But are they actually right and rational? And do you even want Crier—an Automa—to be rational when it comes to her feelings? Considering she would then be highly antagonistic towards humans. You’ll have to read to find out!
2. If Arya Stark’s need for vengeance made her unforgettable, Ayla’s need for revenge will make her memorable too.
Game of Thrones gave a strong and determined young female character for the viewers to cheer in the form of Arya Stark, and Crier’s War gives an equally resolute young female — Ayla. The only thing on her mind is revenge against the Automa who killed her family and left her with nothing and no one.
She’s stern about punishing those who did the wrong, the machines who pushed humans down and used them as if it wasn’t a human who had first created an Automa. Ayla’s grief and anger are easily resonating through the pages, like Arya’s did through the screen.
3. If the woke Dolores Abernathy made you think more about humanity, empathy, and love, Crier’s awakening will make you think all the more.
When Dolores, in Westworld, killed so many of her fellow hosts, some so important to her that it was a shock to see her bullets piercing them, it does raise questions in the minds of its viewers.
Questions about what humanity really is, or if empathy is determined by how someone treated you and isn’t just a singular concept, or if love is even possible for machines? This and an even more in-depth wondering can be guaranteed when you read Crier’s development through the story—when she begins feeling things that are not meant for her kind to feel.
4. If Sansa Stark’s evolution made her a strong female in Westeros, Crier’s arc will make her a strong Automa woman in this dystopia-fantasy world.
Like Sansa in Game of Thrones, Crier in Crier’s War is that soft girl who is curious about things, who wants to fit a mold meant for her, and believes in climbing the political ladder according to the rules. But all that changes. When Sansa starts understanding the complexity of the world she lives in and takes decisions she never knew she would ever make, the viewers loved her development.
Crier’s innocence due to her lack of knowledge and the growing curiosity about humankind is her key trait and when she starts fathoming the other kind (sometimes by genuine questions like why do humans find joy in certain things), her character arc is that of a rebel in rising—basically, admirable.
5. If you appreciated Westworld for bringing themes like oppression and privilege to the table, you’ll respect Crier’s War for these themes too.
Westworld allowed its hosts to be the puppets of guests (humans); to be bullied, tested, tortured, or even killed by the real bullets. It highlights how the idea of privilege runs deep in the minds of a superior kind—the desire to always prove that an oppressed kind is not allowed to question, and standing up against the privileged must be a far-fetched idea.
The only difference with Crier’s War is that the alchemy-based-androids are superior to humans so it’s they who mistreat humankind, compel them to serve the Automa, and deny them of basic rights. These themes bring more complexity to the intricate world built in Crier’s War.
6. If Jon Snow & Ygritte’s forbidden romance gave you butterflies, Crier & Ayla’s slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers, forbidden romance is perfect for you.
A Night Watch brother who pledged to not be romantically involved with anyone finds himself pulled into Ygritte’s free-willed Wildling personality and we end up having a one-true-pairing in the world of Game of Thrones. Crier’s War promises a OTP too!
The romance in this book is one of its strongest assets: the constant push and pull between Crier and Ayla, an intense spark between the two, continuous denial for their growing feelings, actual use of the hate-to-love trope, the need to share a bed, and compelling readers to be desperate for their kiss makes the romance so much more than a mere emotional pairing.
If you want more proof, you can read through Simant’s review of Crier’s War to find her rooting for Ayla and Crier as a one-true-pairing or through Mahana’s review of the Crier’s War ARC to find her loving the slow-burn romance.
7. If you love powerful women like Daenerys in Game of Thrones and Maeve in Westworld, you’ll love all the women in Crier’s War.
While both the TV series have given its audiences some great women who have goals set for them, whether it’s Daenerys wanting the Iron Throne or Maeve wanting her daughter, we’re always on the lookout for more such women. Crier’s War gives us so many!
Aside from the main characters, the side characters like Rowan (a secret human rebel who takes in orphans and is set to throw Automae out of this world) and the Queen (an android girl who commands respect and holds immense power in this world) also give us a reason to fangirl over this book. Though, Nina — the author — did give some great advice to Daenerys when answering one of the 21 Questions on Afire Pages so we can expect the women of Crier’s War to be smarter.
8. If the lack of LGBT+ representation in Game of Thrones and Westworld disappointed you, you’ll love Crier’s War for the safe space it is for LGBT+ readers.
Sure, the TV series has portrayed some LGBT+ characters but their representation or romance hasn’t always been the best and the audience often found themselves disappointed in this context. Crier’s War, though, exhibits a great sapphic romance between a lesbian and a bisexual.
Also, it’s not just the presence of sapphic lovers. It’s about the fluidity offered in this fictional world where being interested or involved with the same sex isn’t offending to anyone. Crier’s War gives a f/f romance that involves its own struggles but doesn’t need to cross obstacles in terms of who they choose to love — LGBT+ readers will surely be delighted to see such easy acceptance and no judgement through the normalisation of queerness in this world.
There you have it!
If you’ve ever tried to search for books like Game of Thrones or Westworld, you finally have one that would not disappoint you at all. From the concept of the world being divided into two to the sexual diversity represented in the book, Crier’s War will leave you craving for the next book in the series.
She is a nationally awarded writer of screenplays and short fiction. She was born in New Orleans and raised on a hippie commune in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent most of her childhood playing in the Eno River, building faerie houses from moss and bark, and running barefoot through the woods. These days, Nina lives in Los Angeles with her writing partner and their tiny, ill-behaved dog. She tends to write stories about hard-won love and young people toppling the monarchy/patriarchy/whatever-archy. On a related note, she’s queer. On a less related note, she has strong feelings about hushpuppies and loves a good jambalaya. CRIER’S WAR is her first novel.