Here’s the setup: in the far future of Earth, two factions battle each other for supreme control of the world, the timeline, and, well, everything. Two factions — Commandment and Garden — have their elite agents working clandestine operations throughout the various time threads. Our two characters, Blue and Red are fighting against each other throughout time, while, through a series of secret correspondences, also falling in love with each other. This book has a very heavy Killing Eve meets The Lake House vibe to it.
It does take a bit of time to pull back from how the novel opens — right into the chaos of the aforementioned clandestine operations — and get some bearings on what is actually going on. While this can be off-putting in some situations, it works absolutely perfectly for this tale. The chaos really helps solidify the fantastical uncertainty that forms the foundation of the world we find our two characters dropped into.
I cannot give enough kudos to the creative stylings that Ms. El-Mohtar and Mr. Gladstone throw into this short but masterful piece. Imagine hard science fiction with flowery writings akin to a Victorian romance. But it all works incredibly well!
I will admit, there were sections that I had to read multiple times because I was distracted by my surroundings, and This is How You Lose the Time War is a novel that demands full attention. If your brain wanders, you will get lost.
This book is getting a lot of buzz right now, and I’ll admit I picked it up because it seemed to take over my Twitter feed almost overnight. I was not disappointed in the slightest.