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

5 stars for This Is How You Lose the Time War!

Five Things I Loved

  • – letters were written from character to character with heartfelt greetings
  • – the details of the worlds and alternate histories traveled to
  • – the flowery language and poetic language used
  • – that very small crumbs were deliberately placed bits of foreshadowing
  • – the twisting of two characters together, and seeing each side’s thoughts


1 Sparked Star – The fact that the red cardinal and the Ultramarine Flycatcher were opposite each other and slightly jagged on the light blue cover caught my interest. And the plot. “…two time-traveling rivals who fall in love and must change the past to ensure their future.” I was caught, well and truly! 


1 Characterization Star – The two characters write letters to each other, found in so many different ways, and I fell in love with those details. Ranging from letters that can be read in so many different ways [nope, no spoilers here!], and the greetings that they write to each other. Red is always red, but in different senses ( Red, Perfect Red, Red in Tooth, in Claw, etc.) and the same with Blue (Blue, Blue-da-ba-dee, etc.). It’s fun to see their relationship grow and to see how those seeds grow into a blossom unexpected. Seeing into their thoughts and plans makes them believable.  


1 Plot Star – I was not expecting the ending and yet when it came, there was no doubt – all the little clues finally added up and it was like seeing a mosaic up close (all the colors), and then stepping back to see the full picture. Many of the twists sprang up out of the dark and the conclusion was a “hug me” of satisfaction. 


1 Flow Star – The crumbs that are littered in alternate histories and timelines are enjoyable to pick up and fit together when reading later chapters. There are waves of information here but they don’t overwhelm you (just carry to you a new part of the book where a little bit more makes sense, and then a little bit more, etc.). And none of the cliffhangers went forced or trite. Gorgeous pacing. 


1 Evoked Star – I already want to read this book again and search for all the small clues I’m sure I missed, and I’ve recommended This Is How You Lose the Time War to several friends already. A wonderful book, an amazing idea, and a harmonizing novel co-written. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea (poetry & sci-fi) but I fell in love with the words. *happy sigh*

Leave a Reply