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This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal…
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This Is How You Lose the Time War

by Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3882844,005 (3.86)20
'A fireworks display from two very talented storytellers' Madeline Miller, author of Circe Co-written by two award-winning writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space. 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? 'An intimate and lyrical tour of time, myth and history' John Scalzi, bestselling author of Old Man's War 'Lyrical and vivid and bittersweet' Ann Leckie, Hugo Award-winning author of Ancillary Justice 'Rich and strange, a romantic tour through all of time and the multiverse' Martha Wells, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of The Murderbot Diaries… (more)

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» See also 20 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
I couldn't always follow the action and intrigue in this confusing little book, but the story at the heart really grabbed me. Two time travelers on opposing sides of a war being waged throughout all of history for control of the future find themselves engaged in a battle of wits that leads to them becoming, um, pen pals. One is from a society based in nature and biology, while the other is from one of technology and machines, but they have respect for each other's capabilities and are excited by the added dimension the correspondence gives to their forever seesawing game of cat and mouse. In a realm where paranoia is the rule of the day, what happens when the person trying to kill you seems more trustworthy than the person giving you orders? ( )
  villemezbrown | Jan 4, 2020 |
A fairy tale romance with a magical science-fiction setting. The setting is more a collection of random sci-fi tropes thrown together poetically (for alliteration and vivid imagery) than anything coherent. The protagonists are not human, and since they don't know each other and rarely even see each other, to me their romance came across as more than a little creepy, like they are both stalkers. The letters between these thousand-year-old time magicians seem to have been written by love-struck teenagers; I found this quite bizarre. For all that, it is a fast read, and I can't remember reading a science-fiction fairy tale before.

> Red wins a battle between starfleets in the far future of Strand 2218. As the great Gallumfry lists planetward, raining escape pods, as battle stations wilt like flowers tossed into flame, as radio bands crackle triumph and swiftskimmers swoop after fleeing voidtails, as guns speak their last arguments into mute space, she slips away. The triumph feels stale and swift. She used to love such fire. Now it only reminds her of who’s not there.

> Dear Raspberry, It's not that I never noticed before how many red things there are in the world. It's that they were never any more relevant to me than green or white or gold. Now it's as if the whole world sings to me in petals, feathers, pebbles, blood. Not that it didn't before—Garden loves music with a depth impossible to sound—but now its song's for me alone. ( )
  breic | Dec 29, 2019 |
Two agents in the time war encounter each other again and again in different strands of time, upthread and downthread, and go from being enemy rivals to falling in love. But neither Blue's Garden nor Red's Commandant of the Agency will allow their best agents to be compromised - can they find a way to be together? They leave each other ingeniously hidden, coded letters - in tea, in feathers, in entrails - and play a dangerous game of hide and seek through strands of time.

Quotes

Not every battle's grand, not every weapon fierce. Even we who fight wars through time forget the value of a word in the right moment, a rattle in the right car engine, a nail in the right horseshoe....It's so easy to crush a planet that you may overlook the value of a whisper to a snowbank. (Red to Blue, 13)

Some days Blue wonders why anyone ever bothered making numbers so small; other days she supposes even infinity needs to start somewhere. (39)

We treat the past as trellis... (Blue to Red, 70)

Thinking builds patterns in the brain, and those patterns can be read by one sufficiently determined.... (Red to Blue, 81)

All good stories travel from the outside in. (Blue to Red, 119)

I want to meet you in every place I have ever loved. (Blue to Red, 142)

It is always too late to say what must be said. I cannot stop you now. I cannot save you. Love is what we have, against time and death, against all the powers ranged to crush us down. (Red to Blue, 165) ( )
  JennyArch | Dec 27, 2019 |
I won't say I fully understood this love story that traveled up and down through time and across threads (alternate universes?) but that doesn't really matter. Its poetic voice and the way it portrayed the star crossed lovers brought to mind the passion and tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. I only wish I’d listened to the audiobook version instead so I could have better felt the sound and rhythm of the words. ( )
  wandaly | Dec 18, 2019 |
Rec by Lexi B
  SamMusher | Dec 12, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
El-Mohtar, Amalprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gladstone, Maxmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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To you.

PS. Yes, you.
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When Red wins, she stands alone.
Quotations
(Adventure works in any strand—it calls to those who care more for living than for their lives.)
Viewed from sufficient height, all problems are simple. All knots can be untied with a few deaths, or ten thousand.
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Haiku summary
Red and Blue, rival
time agents, correspond to
taunt, then fall in love.
(passion4reading)

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Amal El-Mohtar is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Average: (3.86)
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1 4
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3 11
3.5 10
4 37
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