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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 (edition 2020)

by Amal El-Mohtar (Author)

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4,0752112,939 (3.93)150
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.… (more)
Member:Nanos29
Title:This Is How You Lose the Time War
Authors:Amal El-Mohtar (Author)
Info:Gallery / Saga Press (2020), Edition: Reprint, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
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This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar

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» See also 150 mentions

English (204)  Italian (2)  German (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (209)
Showing 1-5 of 204 (next | show all)
In an unspecified future time, two warring factions are each using time travel to manipulate the past in order to give their side the edge. Red and Blue, two enemy agents, each continuously attempting to outmaneuver the other by undoing their actions each time they journey back in time, begin to exchange letters. Though the letters start out bloodthirsty and antagonistic, their spirit shifts subtly over time as each agent learns more about the other.

I appreciated the bold, experimental nature of this non-traditional novel, though I'm not sure I grasped all the nuance and abstract language, and suspect I would have had to reread once or twice to fully appreciate it. I'm sorry to say that I'm unwilling to invest that kind of time right now. Could be rewarding for someone who is willing to spend that extra mental energy! I'm satisfied with having read through and sought out a comprehensive synopsis. ( )
  ryner | Apr 5, 2024 |
Dueling intimate protagonists test limits of fluid alternative timelines. ( )
  scott.r | Mar 12, 2024 |
Tell me if this sounds interesting: there's a character named Red and a character named Blue. Red works for a technologically advanced organization and uses technology and makes technology-related metaphors. Blue works for an plant-focused organization and uses plants and makes plant-related metaphors. When they fall in love, Red gives Blue nicknames related to the color blue. In re Blue gives Red nicknames related to the color red.

I hope that does sound interesting, because that's most of what the book is. Besides those surface-level traits, there's not much else to grab onto. The organizations the characters belong to are almost entirely the same, except that one of them decants its agents and the other one grows them. The main characters themselves have little to differentiate them from one another, other than the fact that one is red and the other is blue. Their actions as soldiers in the time war are largely page-filler between receiving letters from one another, heavy on set-dressing but quite forgettable. The letters aren't anything noteworthy either. The main characters' narrative voices are indistinguishable, making it difficult to tell which one is even writing at any given moment (until they start calling their beloved pomegranate or something like that). Though the letters themselves are written on unique materials--a jar of water, a seed--they all have fairly similar contents, using flowery language to say that Red is red and Blue is blue.

This Is How You Lose the Time War is almost delightful in its simplicity. It's so simple that if you cut the whole book down to a paragraph, it probably wouldn't lose anything, because its premise contains everything notable about it. It says that love is passionate and war is hell like those are shocking new ideas, when I'm not sure I've ever read a book so dedicated to not doing anything to surprise the reader. Its literary-sounding language can't hide the fact that it lacks the complexity and sense of curiosity that make literature interesting. In conclusion, this book offers some banal love poetry and quotable lines--but if you want well-realized characters or an interesting story, look elsewhere. ( )
1 vote Sammelsurium | Mar 2, 2024 |
My heart hurts all over because of this book. It's seriously so intricate and creative, a definite sci-fi standout that is unlike any other story I've read. I actually tried to read it at the end of 2019 and ended up putting it down after like 8 pages, mostly because it DOES require a decent amount of attention that I just didn't have at the time. But a friend encouraged me to try it again, and I'm SO FREAKIN GLAD I did (thank you a million times, Chris!). There is a brief period of getting into the format of the book and finding the pacing, but after that the book becomes a surprisingly immersive, intimate, and beguiling story that refuses to succumb to stereotype or predictability. And holy cow, the WRITING! It's borderline pretentious, but honestly I love that in a book, and it is just so so SO beautiful and full of emotion.

If you don't like flowery, complicated writing or settings that bounce around from world to world, then this probably isn't the book for you. I can see why certain readers wouldn't click with the writing style or plot (think Dickens writing crafty, flirty sci-fi) but for me personally it ended up hitting every mark. I can't wait to reread it! ( )
  deborahee | Feb 23, 2024 |
It took me longer than I expected to get into this (no reader, you're not wrong, the prose is sometimes overwrought) but then I did and I was overawed. Thanks for making me cry. ( )
  caedocyon | Feb 21, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 204 (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.
 

» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
El-Mohtar, Amalprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gladstone, Maxmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Stadnyk, GregCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
To you.

PS. Yes, you.
First words
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.
I am yours in other ways as well: yours as I watch the world for your signs, apophenic as a haruspex; yours as I debate methods, motives, chances of delivery; yours as I review your words by their sequence, their sound, smell, taste, taking care no one memory of them becomes too worn.
I want to meet you in every place I ever loved.
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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.

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Book description
Haiku summary
Red and Blue, rival
time agents, correspond to
taunt, then fall in love.
(passion4reading)

LibraryThing Author

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

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