Review: This Is How You Lose the Time War

Review: This Is How You Lose the Time WarThis Is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone, Amal El-Mohtar
Published by Saga on July 16, 2019
Genres: Science fiction
Pages: 210
Format: Hardcover

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I missed This Is How You Lose the Time War when it was originally published. I’m so glad that I read it after seeing the Hugo nominee list.

A captivating and gorgeous novella about two agents from opposite sides in a war for supremacy of the multiverse. The writing is lyrical. It’s stylistically complex without being fussy or overly complicated.

For fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Starless Sea.

Blue and Red, beautifully voiced by authors Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, begin as fierce opponents.

And then.

Then Blue leaves a letter for Red.

What starts as taunts turns into a courtship that spans timelines and centuries in cunning twists and turns.

My thoughts

So exquisitely written that it’s almost poetry.

For those who don’t like science fiction because they think it’s starships and phasers, this is not that. It’s a fantastical and gorgeously spare love story told through exchanged letters. Because it’s a novella, there are no wasted words and the plot is tightly focused. You won’t find extraneous details here.

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Award winner

This lovely book deserves all of its accolades:

  • Hugo Award winner for Best Novella (2020)
  • Nebula Award for Best Novella (2019)
  • Locus Award Nominee for Best Novella (2020)
  • British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Shorter Fiction (2019)
  • Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction (Ray Bradbury Prize) (2020)
  • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Science Fiction (2019)

Your thoughts

Do you read books because they’ve won an award? If you were on the fence about reading a book, would it winning an award convince you to take the plunge? Tell me what you think in the comments below.


This Is How You Lose the Time War is a beautifully written queer romance. It’s spare and elegant. Highly recommend!

Thanks to Saga Press for the DRC.

One Comment

  1. pegood59 said:

    This is how you lose the time war has been on my reading list for a while. I’m looking forward to reading it.

    October 14, 2020

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