This Is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

This Is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
Published by Gallery / Saga Press, 16th July 2019
Genres: Science fiction, Romance, LGBTQ+, Epistolary
Format: Hardback
Source: Borrowed (library book)


On a battlefield, among the ashes of a dying world, an agent finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. So begins an unlikely correspondence between two enemy agents, Red and Blue, each determined to win the war for their faction. What started as a battlefield taunt soon turns into something else, something romantic and epic. But also, something forbidden.

The discovery of their correspondence, let alone their blossoming relationship, could mean death for each of them. There is still a war going on after all, and someone has to win the war.

My thoughts

What a book! I honestly had to spend a couple of days thinking about this book after finishing reading it, before I could give it a rating and review it. I have never read anything quite like this and I wasnโ€™t sure how to process it. But, upon reflection, I have to say that I loved it!

I adore epistolary novels (written in letters), so this book was right up my street. I really enjoyed how the authors interspersed the letters with events happening around the characters as well. This really helped to show how each character perceived different situations and showed their growth and progression.

The relationship between Red and Blue is so beautifully written. Starting off as dire enemies, hell-bent on each other’s destruction, they slowly start to become friends and then more. This is such a different take on the enemies-to-lovers trope which I really loved. The fact that this is a queer couple makes it even more interesting and different.

Although a novella and so only short, this book contains so much in its few pages, a whole world! I do, however, wish that there had been a little more world-building or explanation. I did find it quite confusing, especially at first, trying to figure out what was going on in this apocalyptic time warring world.

Overall though I really loved this book and I cannot recommend it enough.

My rating: 4/5

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