This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone Review

This will be a short review for a short book.

This Is How You Lose the Time War is a Sci-fi novella following two agents from opposing agencies who travel through the braids of time in an ever expanding time war. It begins when one agent leaves a letter for their opposition and we follow as they continue to converse throughout many times and ages.

This is a beautifully written novella, and I can totally understand how it won a Hugo award. The prose is beautiful, poetic, and lyrical, and yet it never lost me or felt clunky. As a writing exercise this was incredibly well realised.

On the other hand, I felt the prose was what pulled me through much more than the characters or the plot. I felt very little for our characters because of who they were or what they did. Any emotion I felt was nearly entirely down to a character telling me how I should feel in a letter. The fact that this book still managed to make me feel for the characters, shows just how effective the prose was. Really though I would have liked to be more present as things happened rather than getting a retrospective through an epistle.

A beautiful book, but maybe not the most beautiful story if that makes any sense at all?

3.5 stars

AllBookedUp

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