Title: This Is How You Lose the Time War
Authors: Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
Publisher: Gallery/Saga Press
Length: 223 Pages
Category: SciFi Romance
Rating: 3.5 Stars
At a Glance: There is an extravagant and dazing wordiness to this story, like gorging on mouthfuls of narrative where simplicity might have sufficed, though the end result is the same—a story of sacrifice and determination that defies the laws of time and the rules of engagement for the sake of the heart.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: 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?
Review: If you pay attention to Twitter at all, you may have recently seen this book go viral in a major way (17.6 million views and counting). Yes, I bought the book because of that tweet. And while I can’t say This Is How You Lose the Time War delivered as much joy to me, word for word, there is a beauty to the composition that exceeds its overall storytelling.
First, it should be noted that this is an epistolary novel. That matters because the interactions between Red and Blue, through their letters to each other, doesn’t resonate in quite the same way face-to-face conversations would. There is also no time spent on building the world in which these two women exist, only the building of their whirlwind emotions and conflicting allegiances. What begins as a lovely taunting, a verbal combat between adversaries, grows into something else, however; something more, as they follow the Ariadne’s thread of time through the labyrinth of history for the sake of finding a middle ground. Wrenched from the sardonic banter of enemies is a thriving love story, an impossible alliance of souls that puts trust to the ultimate test as dissent and duty demands loyalty to opposing causes.
There is an extravagant and dazing wordiness to this story, like gorging on mouthfuls of narrative where simplicity might have sufficed just as well, though the end result is the same—a story of sacrifice and determination that defies the laws of time and the rules of engagement for the sake of love. But loyalty of the heart rather than the mind rules. Which, in the end, is exactly where it grabbed me, by the heartstrings.
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