New Release: This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

I won this ARC from BookishFirst (Publisher: Saga Press) in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: July 16, 2019
Authors: Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
My BookishFirst Rating: 4/5


My BookishFirst Review:

Although I will admit this universe and timeline were a bit challenging for me to follow, I did find that I really enjoyed the way that the way the characters Red and Blue encountered each other in every instance. It was an interesting back-and-forth interaction between the two characters as they weaved through different timelines, leaving notes and letters for each other with feelings that eventually grew into love. The focus in this was less on the places that they went to, but more on the characters themselves that intertwined themselves into these different times. I found that as I kept reading, I looked forward to the setup of the scenario and wondered how they would work against each other to thwart those plans.

I enjoyed the mixture of light-hearted writing that pokes fun at various cultural items, while the serious parts kept me going to see what was going to happen next. I have just some big outstanding questions, and I wish that there was some kind of writing on this, but was how the timelines were set up. Are there just a bazillion of different timelines all existing at the same time? Are there ones off-limits to one side or the other? What would stop one side from going all the way to the beginning to mess everything up upstream? Although I had these questions (and would enjoy clarification on them!), I put them aside and just went with the story to enjoy what would happen to Red and Blue.


What I liked:

  • I enjoyed the read: it was poetic, yet not too much so that you drown in words upon words about the environment. The amount of information included by the authors set the scene and let the reader know what either Red or Blue looked like in that section. It wasn’t super wordy, and was straight to the point.
  • There was some really funny light-hearted poking throughout the novel. One of the chapters really got me — I don’t want to spoil it, but once you read it, you probably would get a kick out of it too. 🙂 It’s pretty early on.
  • The characters developed! What?! I loved seeing how the characters changed over the chapters as they encountered each other over and over again.
  • The length of each ‘chapter’ was great. I liked how quick the authors were to establish the scene and the situation, then get to what we’re really after — the letters. Gimme gimme gimme!
  • I liked how the scenes were so radically different from each other. There was wilderness, prehistoric, cyberpunk, steampunk, etc… it was a lot of variety and I didn’t feel bored by the situations. I loved the mesh of sci-fi with everything else.

What I didn’t like:

  • It might be an issue on my part, but the time traveling portion really left me with a lot of questions that weren’t answered. They offered some breadcrumbs towards the end, but didn’t really offer enough on that part! I wish they offered some more information exactly on the time travel portion, even though I know the focus is on the character and relationship building.
  • I wish there was a little more after the ending — I felt like another chapter would’ve really hit the spot! Not going to spoil the ending, but just as a reader I wanted just a tiny bit more.

Who should read this?

I think both a teen and adult reader who enjoys sci-fi would take a liking to this read. You have to be a little forgiving as the focus is on the character building and not the world building, so if this is something that you can’t get past, it might not be the right read for you.

It’s also a quick read (I burned through it in a few hours over a day). So great for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of time to enjoy a book!

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