I’m starting to really enjoy the whole “I’m talking about two books in one post” thing, so I decided to do that again. Of course, I’m talking about books that have something in common. Something else that just I really like them. Overall, it’s probably mostly going to be books that deal with mental illness, or books with asexual characters. But today, I’m going to talk about something else: I’m here with two science-fiction
(ish? are they actually fantasy) sapphic novels, and incidentally, two of my recent reads I fell in love with.
Crier’s War by Nina Varela (2019) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This Is How You Lose the Time War
by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (2019) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Disclaimer: While Crier’s War is definitely YA, This Is How You Lose the Time War isn’t, and doesn’t necessarily target the same audience, and while I did notice that they had quite a few things in common, I just wanted to point that out, because it probably won’t appeal to younger readers as much as it did to me.
Crier’s War had been on my TBR ever since I received it in the October Owlcrate, and like many books on my TBR (
this is a recurrent topic these days, and I know it) it had to wait until the confinement for me to actually pick it up, although I was really excited by the concept. And now that I have actually read it, September and the sequel cannot come fast enough.
Crier’s War is set in what seems to be a far future, but could also be an alternate timeline, where the world is divided between Humans and Automae, the latter being people who are not born but Made, who are stronger and more beautiful, and who have since they first appeared, gained power, and started ruling over humans. Lady Crier is a powerful Automae heiress, who is hoping she can built a better world. Ayla is a servant at the palace, and secretly part of a revolution to get rid off Automae authority. Through a series of events, she saves Crier’s life when she meant to kill her, and becomes part of her close entourage. While using it as an excuse to serve the revolution, she soon realises that they are attracted to each other…
I loved this book and the relationship between Ayla and Crier. I am a huge fan of the enemies-to-lovers trope, so of course, I was bound to enjoy it. If you consider the fact that Crier and Ayla are not the same Kind (I’m pretty sure that’s the termination used in the book, to make the difference between those who are born and those who are Made) and considering in the setting of the book, it automatically makes them enemies because apparently one Kind has to serve the other, the book has a bit of a Romeo & Juliet vibe which I loved. It is also a forbidden love because Crier is a rich lady and Ayla is her maid, which is also a soft trope™️ which is my guilty pleasure. On top of that, you can add A LOT of mutual pining (yet another one of my favourite tropes) and there you have it.
There’s also some shady stuff going on involving Crier’s fiancé, Ayla’s long lost family, and a revolution, which of course contributed to make the book amazing. If you haven’t grasped that already, I really enjoyed it and I’m starting to wonder why I gave it four and not five stars. It’s a very good sci-fi / dystopia-ish / fantasy-ish book — the perfect blend just like I like it. I’m also left with many question, and I cannot wait for the sequel!
That being said, I’m so glad I found ANOTHER sci-fi book I absolutely loved. Of course I’m talking about This Is How You Lose the Time War. If you like mutual pining, then you will be fed with this one. If also has a top quality enemy-to-lovers relationship, as Red and Blue are part of enemy factions trying to control the timeline, and met for the first time on the battlefield. Apart from it having my favourite tropes, including the slowest burn of them all, the fact that Blue and Red exchange secret letters AND spread them throughout the different timelines, and the fact that they would DIE for each other, what I LOVED THE MOST about this book is the writing.
*inserting gif of one of my favourite time-travelers, credit here*
Honestly, I think this is the most beautifully written book I have read in a long time. I had to put it down quite a few times just to swoon. And to write down some quotes. Obsessively.
“I have observed friendships as one observes high holy days: breathtakingly short, whirlwinds of intimate endeavour frenzied carousing, the sharing of food, of wine, of honey.”
The WORDS. The writing style. They made me feel things. It was an incredibly beautiful book, in ways I didn’t expect. And the way Blue and Red would declare their love to one another just made me go all soft deep inside. This book was brilliant. Let me just add one more quote.
“As each letter unfolds inside her mind, she frames it in the palace of her memory. She webs words to cobalt and lapis, she weds them to the robes of Mary in San Marco frescoes, to paint on porcelain, to the color incide a glacier crack. She will not let her go.”
Basically what I’m trying to say is, I didn’t know words could be that beautiful. I’m a huge fan of time-travel stories and this book had a bit of a Doctor Who / Timeless / Passenger vibe (the last two because of the two factions working against one another, and DW just for the hell of it). And while I love them, I often find the concept a bit difficult to grasp in some parts. And yes, it was the case here, but the writing style made up for it one thousand percent. This book was BEAUTIFUL. It was unnecessarily beautiful, and yet I’m grateful for all the emotions it made me feel. It did take me a while to get into the story, but the more I read, the more it got to me, the more beautiful it became. And while the book was not very long, it was intense in its own way, and I was swiftly swept away. I too want a timeless girlfriend who leaves me secret letters into the tea leaves of a fancy London café in the 19th century.
I am only now noticing the fact that both titles include the word “war” which should have given away the possibility of both of them having enemies-to-lovers relationships, and is yet another thing that they had in common. Anyway, I loved them both, and I hope you will too.
That’s it for today, thank you so much for reading, and as for the future I’m hoping to find more of those books I’ll fall in love with!