This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
This book won’t be for everyone, but once I let go of my need to have everything explained and let the poetic prose wash over me, it certainly was for me.
About the Book
Publisher: Saga Press | Release Date: July 16, 2019 | Pages: 199
Genre: Adult, Science Fiction | Format: Physical ARC | Source: Publisher via Bookish First
And thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more.
Except discovery of their bond would be death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?
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This is a beautifully written and poetic experience masquerading as a novella. This won’t be for everyone: even though this is a time travel story, at its core This Is How You Lose the Time War is a poetic story about love.
“Wars are dense with causes and effects, calculations and strange attractors, and all the more so are wars in time.”
This Is How You Lose the Time War is a character-driven story; it is all about Red and Blue and their unlikely correspondences through time and space. There is much that you can glean from these letters about the world of this story, bits that you can piece together into a tableau. But this is not a book you strive to understand or pick apart. Its beauty lies in the purple prose, the story within two characters on opposing sides of war.
“Adventure works in any strand – it calls to those who care more for living than for their lives.”
The adventures both Red and Blue take captivated me. There isn’t one reality but multiple; strands and threads of possibilities woven together as opposing sides undo the work. We see Pompeii and Atlantis and countless other places in time, missions to save or doom the people depending on the desired outcomes.
As a person who loves worldbuilding, I will admit I struggled at first. I had no idea what was going on, but I had the feeling this is a book you are just supposed to experience. You won’t understand the logistics of time travel (how they move downstrand and up), how the war started, or why the Garden and Agency are at odds. Those things really aren’t the point. My recommendation is to just relax and let the poetic writing flow over you. This is a story to be experienced, and one I ultimately enjoyed.
✨ Submit your receipt by July 15, 2019 for the pre-order incentive! (US and Canada only, sorry friends.)
ARC provided by the publisher via Bookish First in exchange for my honest review. Quotations are taken from an uncorrected proof and subject to change upon final publication.
Let’s go on another adventure together!