This Is How You Lose the Time War

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone
Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Oct 19, 2021

Red shouldn’t have picked up the letter. Shouldn’t have betrayed her people. Shouldn’t have replied. But she did, and now nothing will ever be the same again. Red is a time traveler working for the Agency, a technotopia, while Blue is an agent for the Garden, a vast, organic entity rooted in nature. As rivals, they travel through strands of alternate realities and dimensions, influencing them to guide the path of the future in an all-encompassing war. They were made to be enemies — so why does it feel so right when they craft the words that bridge the untraversable gap between them?

This book is nothing less than stunning. The writing was enchantingly lyrical and poetic and vulnerable, and the concept of the novel was explored in such a unique way. It was by no means an easy read — the material was dense, and it often took reread upon reread to fully appreciate its beauty. The setting and background was largely glossed over, lending to a dream-like, almost ethereal quality as the characters’ story played out against a blurred backdrop of times and places and people. However, I will admit that readers inclined towards action-packed, plot-based novels will most likely fail to find enjoyment in this book, and even for myself, the metaphor-heavy lyricism felt suffocating at times. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this book immensely and would encourage others to explore it as well!

Written by
Lisa J.

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