A beautiful and poetic enemies-to-lovers sci-fi novella
Review of This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone, narrated by Cynthia Farrell & Emily Woo Zeller
Sometimes, there’s a lot of buzz around a book and when you finally read it, you wonder why. And sometimes, you can believe the hype. Everything I heard and read about This Is How You Lose the Time War is true.
In a kind of Romeo and Juliet retelling, it follows two agents of warring entities – Red of the Agency and Blue of Garden – as they learn to know each other through letters. As the story unfolds, they find endlessly creative ways to get these letters to reach the other through time and space. It begins as some sort of taunt between enemies and ends up being the ultimate love letter.
I couldn’t be happier that I decided to listen to the audiobook instead of reading. I think it’s the first time a dual narration makes absolute sense, probably because this novella is written partly in epistolary form.
I got lost in the time travel, all the civilizations and threads, but I have no regrets. I’m not sure the reader is supposed to follow anyway. This is more than a story, it’s an experience. Let yourself get carried away by the music of the words, the poetry, the longing, the beauty of it all. 5 stars.