This is How You Lose the Time War
By: Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Two time-traveling agents from warring futures, working their way through the past, begin to exchange letters, and fall in love in this thrilling and romantic book from award-winning authors Amal-El Mohtar and Max Gladstone.
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.
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. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.
Except the discovery of their bond would mean 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?
Cowritten by two beloved and award-winning sci-fi writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space.
The title first piqued my attention, followed by the premise. So I had to pre-order a copy for myself.
Ugh, what can I say about this book? I think I would’ve blitzed through it far more quickly than I did but I wanted to savour it. And, given the time that I read this book, this book really hit the feels. What started as a rivalry from both sides of the war with some clever ribbing ended up as a genuine friendship, getting to know each other and how the other half lived, to love and a deep care for one another. They’ve crossed paths across time, they’ve carried out dangerous missions, but they have their secret letters–it’s like an ode to letter-writing too, this book–that could potentially lead them to a whole lot of trouble. Over the course of their exchanges, they reveal themselves bit by bit, recognise each other’s strengths and desires through a truthfulness they can’t really convey in their daily lives.
The world building was interesting for what was conveyed in this slim volume. The different strands, the different versions of Earth, the different societies that Red and Blue live in…It’s interesting, sometimes a little out of reach and abstract, but just enough to colour the scope in which they operate and in which the war has continued. But to be honest I wasn’t really interested so much in the world building as I was with these two characters and the feelings that are there.
Overall, This is How You Lose the Time War was a great read. It was beautifully written and flowed so well, I don’t know who wrote which part. They both did a wonderful job in conveying the words and allowing the story to flow seamlessly. And the book couldn’t come at a better time for me personally so yeah, cannot recommend it enough.