I’m honestly so overwhelmed by just how much I enjoyed this book.
High fantasy isn’t normally my jam, but from the very beginning of this, I was obsessed. There’s a timeline at the start of the story that in itself was such an entertaining and interesting read for me, and I couldn’t get enough of it.
It’s a bit of a science-fiction mixed with fantasy: androids have been invented and are very close to human, with the exception of enhancements and the requirement to consume heartstone. The androids have overthrown the human government and established themselves as a ruling class, leading to the current political climate as humans attempt to revolt, but ultimately fail and get massacred.
This may sound complicated, but it’s all very smooth and makes sense in the story. And part of it is romantic fantasy—and ooh. It’s one of the most deliciously lush and smooth and pining romances I’ve read in YA so far, and I just absolutely adore Crier and Ayla’s dynamic.
The romance is full of the perfect type of tension—not too stressful, but just enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s delicious and angsty and so so gay. (That too.) If you read those screenshots of Tumblr textposts, Crier and Ayla are like Peak Tumblr Textpost Relationship™. From Crier’s pining to Ayla’s revenge tendencies to weird mixed feelings to all the softness, their relationship is just so shippable.
I just want to give them both a hug and a key to a nice large private music room. The angst! The softness! The pining! I want it all.
THEY’RE JUST SO SOFT. Crier is always like “Wow, look at how pretty Ayla is! Is she hungry? Look at her eyes. Oops I was staring at her lips my bad…haha?” while Ayla is always like “REVENGE. BLOOD. WHY AM I STARING AT CRIER’S LIPS. I’M ONLY DOING THIS SO I CAN USE HER. HAHA. HA. Oh no.”
I love them so so much and would highly recommend the romance. So cute. I am melting, and it’s been like a month since I’ve finished reading.
And the story’s ending has me desperate for book 2. I know some people don’t like having to wait for the second book, but honestly it’s so so worth it to just devour the whole story now. Do it. Get out of that reading slump, and get ALL the Ayla and Crier. (I mean. It’s also worth it so you can understand the memes.)
There was so much about this book to love, and although the ship was definitely my favorite part, I was still wowed by the excellent worldbuilding, revolutionary themes, and beautiful writing. It’s such a rich and lush story with a really good incorporation of Actual Plot Things Happening, as well as that angsty fluff that makes you fall in love with & makes a book or story stay with you for a long time.
I’d highly recommend to anyone looking for a romantic fantasy with sci-fi tendencies! Or just That Good Gay Stuff. Or like, a really good book? Seriously, go and read it! Please!
Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals–more beautiful, more powerful, more than the human race, usurped their human owners in the War of Kinds.
Ayla, a human servant, dreams of revenge. She works in the House of the Sovereign, hoping to avenge 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 she discovered a flaw in her Making, 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.
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.
Thank you so much to Harper Collins & Edelweiss for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!