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This Is How You Lose the Time War

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  4,570 ratings  ·  1,308 reviews
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

And 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.

Except discovery of their b
Kindle Edition, 208 pages
Published July 16th 2019 by Saga Press
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Amal El-Mohtar Great question! The red one is a cardinal and the blue one is an Ultramarine Flycatcher, according to Greg Stadnyk who designed the cover. (I kept…moreGreat question! The red one is a cardinal and the blue one is an Ultramarine Flycatcher, according to Greg Stadnyk who designed the cover. (I kept thinking it was either a bluebird or tree swallow, but I was incorrect!)(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,570 ratings  ·  1,308 reviews

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Chaima ✨ شيماء
“You asked me to tell truths. I have. What do I want? Understanding. Exchange. Victory. A game—hiding and discovery. You’re a swift opponent, Blue. You play long odds. You run the table. If we’re to be at war, we might as well entertain one another.”

This Is How You Lose the Time War is the kind of novel that dips in and out of minds, catches the sharp sun of memory and gleams, leaves its scent on its readers, like perfume transferred between lovers. As soon as you start to put more words in, however, you
Victoria Schwab
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Holy shit this was good.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Damn excellent SF novella. I won't have any problems nominating this for next year's Hugo. It's poetical, yo. Not only poetical, but delighfully unforced in its romance... even as the time war rages between heavy tech and heavy biopunk up and down multiple timelines in a game of Go! that stretches to near-infinity.

Wait. Did I say romance? Yep. Hard SF romance, so light and deft in its hardcore science it becomes a whirlwind of ambiance designed only to paint glorious pictures and den
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
This is a book so beautifully written and perfectly conceived that I know any words I write about it will pale in comparison. If you want an ambitious, complex, utterly unique romeo and juliet f/f romance set amidst a centuries long time war (and how could you not want that?) then this is the book for you. I want this entire book tattooed over every inch of my body so that I can remember every single word forever.
4.5 stars

This Is How You Lose the Time War is a novella about a love that transcends time, space and humanity. It's beautiful and lyrical and heartbreaking; it's all of these things and I loved its ending so much that I don't feel like I can do this story justice with a review. Just know that, while this is an epistolary f/f enemies-to-lovers story set during a time-travel war, calling it that feels almost reductive.

It follows two entities, "Red" and "Blue", both presenting as women but who do/>This
☙ percy ❧
"This feels like teetering on the brink of something that will unmake me."

utterly impossibly, this book managed to exceed my expectations. do not take me lightly when i say i expected this book to be a masterpiece. and it was more.

literary genre fiction is something so rare it's sometimes considered impossible. This Is How You Lose The Time War laughs in the face of critics who disparage science-fiction, and it is not literary and poetic in spite of being science-fiction, it is entirely both.

i feel like th
rin ( ̄ヘ ̄)	 read/watch mo dao zu shi
i wish i liked it more but it's a little too poetic for me i guess? im not into this type of prose much
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A time travel romance with teeth sharp enough to tear out your still-beating heart.
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ll tell you right upfront, this book is not for everyone. Hard sci-fi readers may be disappointed because even though this book is dependant on time travel, it is more about love and told very poetically.

The story begins at the end of a battle. Our two main characters are the top agents for each side: Red from the technology enhanced future versus Blue from the environmental future (these descriptions are subject to my own interpretation as the truth was slightly vague in the story).
A m
2ish stars.

What it comes down to is that I'm simply not enough of a romantic to enjoy this book. The appeal lies squarely in the flowery language written in love poems between two post-human women on opposite sides of a time travel war. I just happen to find love poetry more pretentious and mawkish than amorous or emotive. (Can it even really be considered romantic when one character addresses the other as "Dearest Blue-da-ba-dee?")

The rest of the book (characters, settin
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book proves it again (and again, depending what timeline you’re in): SF is not about genre tropes, all of which have been done to death and back again, but what unique spin or take that the author(s) adopt.

This short novel has such a deceptively simple premise: Two time-travelling agents from warring futures, working their way through the past, begin to exchange letters … and realise that they’ve fallen in love. Or is it a long con on the part of one or the other? And is this
Hiu Gregg
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-releases
Well, shit.
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay. So. Hmm. I loved the love story aspect of it and generally got the gist of what was going on, but there was some big-picture world building that either went completely over my head (likely) or was missing (possible). Being dumped into the middle of a story that has been going on, off the page, for who-knows-how-long can be disorienting. And maybe it was meant to be. Or maybe I'm just not smart enough for this book. Or maybe it was a mis-step on the part of the authors. Whatever the reason ...more
Katie (never.ending.reading.list)
Okay, this one was just meh for me. I could not get into it at all!

The love story between Red and Blue was nice and surprising but it just fell flat for me. I had very little invested into this world and their building romance was not enough to draw me into it.

I liked the time travel aspect with the jumping from such two extremes. It was fun and unique but I wish the authors would have done so much more with it. It had some promise but did not deliver.

The writing was beautiful and the premise
Rebecca Roanhorse
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I actually finished this short book (200p) in one sitting on July 15th, but am just now getting to the review. This is a novella told in letters between two time-traveling operatives in the future, and it's more poetry than prose. It's a love story, too, so it's fitting that this book is poetic and visual and often sensual in its word choice (not it's content). A lovely fugue, a way to spend a few hours in another world and time, and a renewal of hope, and a testament to love. The worldbuilding ...more
wanderer (Para)
ARC received from the publisher (Saga Press) on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Whoa. Just...whoa. Another candidate for "best of 2019" for me. It's like someone distilled almost everything I like into one book - exquisite prose, a high dose of weirdness, a queer relationship, a more literary feel, experimental structure - and the end result is breathtaking. Brilliant in a way I'm not sure a review can illustrate. It has to be read to be believed.
I feel almost invincible in our battles’ wak/>
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars-2019, f-f
Despite struggling for the first 50 pages, I eventually got into the flow of this book and I absolutely fell in love.
Every single sentence of every letter made me want to burst into tears. The writing of this was the most poetic, lyrical writing I have EVER read.
Despite barely knowing blue and red (and only knowing them for 200 pages), they become people I can think of say “I know them”.
To say this book is amazing is an understatement and I’m so glad I pushed through the beginning.
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fucking brilliant! I loved every second! I admit there were some things I struggled with, but nothing a reread can't fix 😊.
This book made me feel really dumb. I don't think it was the book's fault. The combination of high science fiction with poetic literary fiction just didn't click together in my brain. There was never a point in this book where I knew what was going on. I just finished it and have no idea what happened in it.
But hunger is a many-splendoured thing: it needn’t be conceived in limbic terms, in biology. Hunger, Red – to sate a hunger or to stoke it, to feel hunger as a furnace, to trace its edges like teeth – is this a thing you, singly, know? Have you ever had a hunger that whetted itself on what you fed it, sharpened so keen and bright that it might split you open, break a new thing out?

On Reads Rainbow.

Rep: wlw mcs

Galley provided by publisher

This book is an epistolary f/f time travel enemies-to-lovers romanc/>Galley
laurel [suspected bibliophile]

I'm not sure if I'm reeling from that ending or how the entire book wove and threaded and braided its way into my heart and soul, and how I fell hard for Red and Blue and their long games.

It all begins with ruthless agent of the Agency Red finds a letter that reads, "Burn before reading." In it, she finds a taunt, a challenge—her greatest foe has revealed herself. And off she goes in a cat and cat game of win-lose-win, sneaky subterfuge and long and short games of chance and e
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, short-story
Almost all my Goodread friends are raving about this. I just didn't like it. I never really understood why the characters fell in love, there's no explanation about what is really going on with the two sides and the writing style was just too... "extra" for me. It's very literary and poetic, it's all words and not much substance. It just wasn't for me.
Jul 28, 2019 marked it as on-hold
i honestly have no idea what it is about this book but I CAN'T GET THROUGH IT. i want to love it so bad but even the audiobook couldn't help me. i still want to try, but like... why is this so hard for me to read
Mogsy (MMOGC)
2.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Well, for such a short book, this one’s going to be a doozy to review. To be sure, This is How You Lose the Time War is a very imaginative novella, but the style and tone of it is so highly unusual, I doubt it would be for everyone. Honestly, when I picked this one up, I had expected to either love it or hate it—no in between. But in the end, I supposed it surprised me, both in the good way and the bad, and I’ll go into the reasons why in a little bit
caitlin ✶
Jul 19, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. ya’ll better not sleep on this adult sci-fi SAPPHIC romance, or else

despite this book’s length, the world building, character development and relationship development never felt rushed or crammed in. Though the writing and world building was hard to get into at first, countless sentences and phrases in this are works of art. The only real complaint I have is that I didn’t really connect with Red’s character. Either way, I recommend!

Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
“Some things are more important than winning”

This was a very beautiful love story. It was also difficult to make sense of, but very original.
Jiny S
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the love story between two agents from opposites sides of a war and the bond that is created between them through what could only be described as epistolary poetry.

The war they are fighting is a time war. The agents are sent to different places in different timelines to make an event happen or not happen so the future would be in their favour. They operate on their own, as their jobs demands it.

When one found a trace of the other it stirs a spark of curiosity. Through writing each othe
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully lyrical writing with mind-bending science fictional concepts that makes for a unique love story between two agents of rival time-traveling powers. Red and Blue send each other letters encoded in increasingly bizarre means, first to taunt each other, and then with growing camaraderie and then with something much stronger.

Highly recommended.
Samantha Colwell
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s hard to describe this book adequately without screaming at the top of my lungs, “This is what love is!” I’m going to do my best to justly review this thing without my hyperbolic fits, but describing mountains without awe is impossible, and this is the Swiss Alps of books.

Here’s the issue, the plot is kind of hard to describe. I tried to put it into words when friends asked, “Calm down, stop yelling at me about love, what’s the book actually about?” I would just end up gesticulat
Aug 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Abominable. No plot, amorphous and underdeveloped characters, skipping around in time. Impossible to follow. Told through a series of vignettes about and letters between Red and Blue. Choppy sentences. Run away. Quickly.
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“There’s a kind of time travel in letters, isn’t there? I imagine you laughing at my small joke; I imagine you groaning; I imagine you throwing my words away. Do I have you still? Do I address empty air and the flies that will eat this carcass? You could leave me for five years, you could return never—and I have to write the rest of this not knowing.” 14 likes
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