Book review: This Is How You Lose the Time War - Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

A red bird and a blue bird.

Red belongs to the Agency, a post-singularity technotopia. Blue belongs to Garden, a single vast consciousness embedded in all organic matter. Their pasts are bloody and their futures mutually exclusive. They have nothing in common—save that they’re the best, and they’re alone. Now what began as a battlefield boast grows into a dangerous game, one both Red and Blue are determined to win. Because winning’s what you do in war. Isn’t it?

It is impossible to write a decent time-travel novel. Therefore, this book cannot exist.

I bought it purely on the strength of the single-line blurb:

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

The whole book is poetry. I mean that in the literal sense. There are layers of symbolism and metaphor which I am ill-equipped to decipher. I highly recommend reading a linguist's commentary on the book after you finish it for the first time.

It's tense, exciting, hard sci-fi which is properly unforgiving in its lack of exposition. Heartbreakingly romantic and devastatingly clever. My favourite book this year.

📚 Enjoyed this review? Buy me a book from my wishlist.

Share this post on…

One thought on “Book review: This Is How You Lose the Time War - Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone”

  1. paul says:

    i read your review of zero sum game-- based on the review- i bought and read it-- loved it!

    gonna buy this next

    thank you for your reviews



What links here from around this blog?

What are your reckons?

All comments are moderated and may not be published immediately. Your email address will not be published.Allowed HTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> <p> <pre> <br> <img src="" alt="" title="" srcset="">