This Is How You Lose the Time War

Confusing and meandering, I couldn’t get into it, unfortunately.


  • Are fine wtih ambiguous plots
  • Enjoy sci-fi
  • Want a unique read

TitleThis Is How You Lose the Time War | Author: Amal El-MohtarMax Gladstone | Rating: 2/5

I wanted to enjoy this book and get into it, but I couldn’t. It took until the end for me to somewhat understand what was going on, but even then I found myself scratching my head on confusion.

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future. Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.

The world is filled with, I think, androids or cyberhumans of some sort. There’s mention of laser eyes (?) or being able to read minds(?), so the book’s premise is certainly sci-fi or sci-fi fantasy.

The most I understood was there are agents who can travel through time, there’s been some sort of war that destroyed Earth and all humans, and there’s still some war going on even after all that. I don’t understand any more than that, and even that is far too ambiguous for me.

Having said that, there are many other Goodreads reviews who enjoy the book and are blown away by it. I may be a reader who happens to not enjoy ambiguity as much as I think I do. I also listened to the Audible version, so maybe reading it would have helped me digest the material more.

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