This Is How You Lose The Time War is a novel by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. It is a science fiction novel and the latest book club pick for my writing circle.
You probably have heard of this book by now. It became a major sensation on Twitter when a Trigun fan account began posting about it and how everyone needs to read it. And if you haven't yet heard it's name, let me tell you that word of mouth still does wonders for books and I know that thousands of copies of this book have sold since that faithful Twitter thread!
Anywho, Time War is a novel told in dual-POV by characters on opposing sides of the war, their code names are Red and Blue. One is technologically based and the other is more eco-friendly, if you will. And while they are each other's archenemies, they begin sending taunting letters to each other in code that only operatives in this war could ever decipher.
And in the wake of those letters, an understanding seems to bud. But then there's the fact that not only are they on opposite sides, but there existences are diametrically opposed to each other. That in and of itself sets an interesting backdrop and helps keep us grounded since we have no one set locale or even time period in which to do that. What is a time war without jumping in and out of time? And how do you fight a time war? By changing history and rewriting futures in a butterfly effect that you hope your enemy won't catch wind of.
I think that the main reason this book caught on so quickly, other than the famous Trigun fan account posting it everywhere, is that the language is simply gorgeous. I mean, it is outstandingly beautiful and well-crafted. It is obvious that the authors paid careful attention not only to the way the words sounded but how they related with one another on the page and that carries you throughout the text.
I also enjoyed the breadcrumbs that the author leaves for us throughout the novel so that as it is coming to a close, you begin to see things line up and the questions you may have had as you were reading are answered one by one. That is always a satisfying experience!
While I enjoyed this book, I wanted something with more action and less waiting. I felt like I was waiting for something interesting to happen. Perhaps if I had gone in with different expectations or even no expectations, then I would have given it more stars but I was intrigued by the idea of a time war and who was fighting and why. And the authors downplay that to the point where it is barely relevant to the book. In fact, they could have changed the entire title to remove the war aspect and I don't think much would have changed.
This is a very short book, which actually surprised me, but if you are short on time, then it is a great one to pick up at your local indie or library! While this isn't a book that I would personally re-read, I did enjoy it and loved the imagery and the sensational descriptions that the authors give. I highlighted so much in my little library ebook!
Have you read it yet? What are your thoughts?