Review: This is How You Lose the Time War

Hi and welcome to the reading world!

Today I’m going to be sharing a review of a sci fi novel about two time traveling rivals in an intergalactic war and the letters they exchange. It’s time (pun intended) to review This is How You Lose the Time War!

Review: This is How You Lose the Time WarThis Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone
Published by Simon and Schuster on March 17, 2020
Genres: Fiction / Fantasy / General, Fiction / Romance / Science Fiction, Fiction / Science Fiction / Time Travel
Pages: 224

“[An] exquisitely crafted tale...Part epistolary romance, part mind-blowing science fiction adventure, this dazzling story unfolds bit by bit, revealing layers of meaning as it plays with cause and effect, wildly imaginative technologies, and increasingly intricate wordplay...This short novel warrants multiple readings to fully unlock its complexities.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review).

From award-winning authors Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone comes an enthralling, romantic novel spanning time and space about two time-traveling rivals who fall in love and must change the past to ensure their future.

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandment 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, becomes something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean the death of each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win. 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.

This novel is a unique reading experience. The writing style is lyrical and focused on the characters and their interactions before building into a narrative story in the second half. While this experience could be a little disorienting at times, I did enjoy having the opportunity to sink into the writing and enjoy the atmosphere the novel created before diving into more of the action. Red and Blue are the narrators and highlights of the novel, but due to the nature of their interactions and the story pacing it took me a chapter or two to feel invested even though I was immediately intrigued.

Ultimately, I think this is one that won’t be for every reader but will definitely appeal to some since it was one I personally love. The time and space travel elements aren’t the main focus of the story and so they’re not extremely detailed, but I thought these components were interwoven enough to keep me interested while not distracting from the writing style and character dynamics. This is definitely a character driven story with lyrical writing, and the plot itself takes center stage only in the latter half of the novel. However, the communications between Red and Blue are beautifully written, and the slow but steady build of the character development and ultimate outcome of the novel were definitely worth the wait for me.

What’s one of your favorite character driven stories?

Thanks for stopping by!


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