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This Is How You Lose the Time War

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4.19  ·  Rating details ·  2,184 ratings  ·  687 reviews
Two time-traveling agents from warring futures, working their way through the past, begin to exchange letters—and fall in love in this thrilling and romantic book from award-winning authors Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone.

In the ashes of a dying world, Red finds a letter marked “Burn before reading. Signed, Blue.”

So begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agen
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ebook, 208 pages
Published July 16th 2019 by Gallery / Saga Press
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4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,184 ratings  ·  687 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, h
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Victoria Schwab
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy shit this was good.
Bradley
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 denude us in pl
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Acqua
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 don'
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rin 눈_눈 WATCH GOOD OMENS
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
unknown
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.
Rose
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 message
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☙ percy ❧
Jun 29, 2019 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
first attracted to this because my dr who ass saw the words Time War and fucking gravitated to it like a moth to a flame

and i thought it was some sort of literary metaphor but NOPE there's ACTUAL TIME TRAVEL and also SAPPHIC WOMEN in it, and (i think) an enemies to lovers trope??? literally yeet this straight into my letter box pleez
Hiu Gregg
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-releases
Well, shit.
Billie
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
MeaganCM
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fucking brilliant! I loved every second! I admit there were some things I struggled with, but nothing a reread can't fix 😊.
caitlin ✶
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!

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 battl
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laurel [suspected bibliophile]
ALL THE STARS!!

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 espio
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Katie
Jul 13, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Emma
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
mahana
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
c,
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-l
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Tracey
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.
Megan
A woman approaches you. She's wearing a dark coat. She reaches into an inside pocket and holds something out. "Hey you," she says, "look at this." You're not entirely sure what you're looking at; but it's beautiful. Multi-faceted like a diamond. Intricate like one of those sculptures where the artist makes stone look like lace. You try to get a closer look, but she whisks it away and holds out her other hand. This one holds something as alien as the first thing, just as beautiful, just as intric ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
2.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/08/17/...

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
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VexenReplica
Dearest bookphiles,

A clever way to send you a letter, don't you think? Abusing 21st century internet here in this strand, that is. How easy and simple it is, sending you a direct impact, yet it diffuses itself among the bytes.

I must commend your subduction of me through the written word. Intriguing that, throughout the various strands, this is the only one where this was created in multiplex formats, including dead tree, downloadable, auditory, and braille. Personally, I'd prefer it over in Str
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Andi
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
YAY! I won another goodreads giveaway! Will update this when I get the book! :)

What a very interesting, gorgeous book.

Let me tell you, I was confused first of how this book was written. What is Red and what is Blue? Were they people once? Are they still people? Are they half machine half human? Or a completely different form of being?

Or maybe I am thinking too much into this book.

This book reminds me of the way that The 7.5 Deaths of Evelyn Hardscastle was done - out of order, jumping through d
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imyril
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my. A little book of rivalry and desire, love and war, poetry and time travel. I don’t actually know how I feel about it yet; I might have to come back and bump it up that final star when I review it. It’s light and yet weighty, brief but overlong, and it contains the universe without dwelling on anything too much.

It’s a treasure. The only reason it wasn’t 5 stars straight out of the gate is that it’s a little predictable for all its beauty. And it didn’t, in the end, make me cry on the bus
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anna (readingpeaches)
from the technical point of view, i can tell you that the writing is really beautiful, and layered, and sophisticated; it creates an amazing atmosphere

from the point of view of someone whose friends read the book & raved about it, i can tell you that this is a story of spies from the opposing sides of a time war who fall in love through the most unreal letters & circumstances; who doesn't love sapphic enemies to lovers, right?

from my point of view, i can only tell you that i don't think
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Emily
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Skip
Aug 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kristen
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full review is here, on my blog!~

This book is absolutely beautifully written, for starters. It’s also often indescribably weird… but not in a bad way. Not at all.

This book basically follows two agents from rival sides in a war across time as they communicate with each other, becoming closer with each letter.

Most of the letters are very uniquely presented, whether in tea leaves, or lava from an erupting volcano about to engulf Atlantis, and so on and so forth. They are in different periods of tim
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Racheal
This book is everything. THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING.

This is the best thing I've read since Circe ripped my fucking heart out last year. 

It's one of those precious, rare books that somehow managed to leave me in great, gasping sobs, but also feeling full to bursting. The kind that feels like it's carved itself into the squishy meat of my heart.

Here lies Racheal's heart, officially wrecked by:

Dawn, Octavia Butler
June, 2016

A Taste of Honey,  Kai Ashante Wilson
January, 2017

Circe, Madeline Miller
May, 2
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Megan
I'm going to need at least a month to recover from this book. I'm reeling and I couldn't breathe after I finished it. This goes way beyond beautiful; it's one of those books that reminds me that writing is also an art form.

This Is How You Lose the Time War is a 200-page prose poem, an epistolary masterpiece, a masterclass in allusion, a deep dive into character, a perfect manipulation of form and syntax and tone, a bending of the genre to create something that is intrinsically SFF and yet absol
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“I want to be a body for you. I want to chase you, find you, I want to be eluded and teased and adored; I want to be defeated and victorious—I want you to cut me, sharpen me. I want to drink tea beside you in ten years or a thousand. Flowers grow far away on a planet they’ll call Cephalus, and these flowers bloom once a century, when the living star and its black-hole binary enter conjunction.I want to fix you a bouquet of them, gathered across eight hundred thousand years, so you can draw our whole engagement in a single breath, all the ages we’ve shaped together.” 9 likes
“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.” 8 likes
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