This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone is a sci-fi novella that was gifted to me by the wonderful Veronica’s Shelf and I’m so so glad that she pushed this into my hands!
This book was beautiful and stunning and gorgeous and beautiful and UGH!!! Just so good!!!
There are two POVs in this book, one woman who is more mechanical and regimented, and one who is more earthly and natural. Each are written by Amal and Max respectively and I adored how they managed to make both viewpoints intertwine so beautifully between each other. Something which I’ve seen other dual authors struggle with.
With this being a novella there isn’t much space to play with, and the authors knew that and made every word count. The language is incredibly flowery and evocative, filled with suggestions and not-quites and it’s beautiful. I can imagine that some, especially non-native English speakers, could really struggle with this. But personally for me? It’s was stunning and really drew me further into this amazing exploration of our world and others that Red and Blue go on in attempting to find each other.
This is a romance, but wow is it slow burn. Almost not there slow burn. I’m really not a huge romance fan when it’s the main plot of a book, usually I need it to be in the background. Just kind of an extra plot development. So I’d been nervous about this one. I shouldn’t have been. This is such a beautiful exploration of these two characters. Who they are to their core, around their colleagues and their family, but also when it’s only them alone in the wilds of time.
On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 10, Atmosphere: 10, Writing: 10, Plot: 9, Intrigue: 9, Logic: 9, and Enjoyment: 10 which gives a 9.57 score and obviously a 5* rating.
Clearly I adored this book and I’m so so glad that I read it. It will sit with pride of place on my SFF shelves and I’ll definitely have to look into picking up more from these authors!
Highlight here if you want to see the trigger warnings for this book: animal killing, gore, rape (mentioned), self-harm, suicide (mentioned), torture, war/violence[end]