ARC Review + Blog Tour: This is How You Lose the Time War

We’re so excited to be part of a blog tour for This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone! This beautiful little epistolary novel is out today, and is definitely one you’re going to want to pick up (like, now, please pick it up right now). If you’ve been looking for an f/f book with that kind of intense and all-consuming romance you only ever see with m/m or m/f couples? Well, how can you say no to this?

So, scroll down, read my review, and then head on over to the other blogs to see how they felt.


Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

And 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.

Except discovery of their bond would be death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?


This is How You Lose the Time War

Amal el-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

Rating: 5/5 🌈
Published: 18th July 2019
Rep: wlw mcs

But hunger is a many-splendoured thing: it needn’t be conceived in limbic terms, in biology. Hunger, Red – to sate a hunger or to stoke it, to feel hunger as a furnace, to trace its edges like teeth – is this a thing you, singly, know? Have you ever had a hunger that whetted itself on what you fed it, sharpened so keen and bright that it might split you open, break a new thing out?

Galley provided by publisher

This book is an epistolary f/f time travel enemies-to-lovers romance. And if that hasn’t hooked you already, then I don’t know what will.

This is How You Lose the Time War is about two agents on opposite sides of the war and what starts out as something like a game trying to best one another, leaving behind gloating letters, but becomes something more like an obsession and then a desperate kind of love.

This isn’t a book with a lot of plot. It’s a character-driven, slowburning romance, with a science fiction twist to it. There are only two characters in it (although more are mentioned), it’s more like a conversation between the two of them, in which they slowly undo all the hatred they have for the other side and fall in love.

One of my favourite things about this book was how well developed the romance was despite the two characters not meeting face to face for the most of it. And then when it does come it has that intensity and obsessiveness that you don’t get to see a lot of in f/f romances. And, honestly, I have no idea how to describe the feeling that gave me. When you’ve had romance after romance that’s soft and gentle (which, obviously, is no bad thing, but when that’s all you get?), and suddenly you get this one that’s not gentle but is intense and desperate in a way that you’ve only ever seen m/m and m/f romances be and it just kind of leaves you speechless (in an amazing way, sure, but not conducive to writing a review). Anyway, it’s like that. And when I say intense, I mean, “will literally tear apart space and time to get to you” level intense.

And this is all developed without having the characters meet face to face until right at the end. This book is gonna be my yardstick for good relationship development from now on.

Besides all that, this is also just a really really good book. It’s compulsively readable – I meant to do a thread on Twitter while I was reading it, but I completely forgot because I just didn’t want to put it down at all. Part of that is because the writing is so lovely and the other part is the characters just drawing you in, and making you invested in them.

This book was one of my most anticipated reads this year since I found out about it, and it really did not disappoint one bit.

Time War blog blast

Finally, if my review hasn’t convinced you, then check out the other reviews by the bloggers above!


14 Replies to “ARC Review + Blog Tour: This is How You Lose the Time War”

  1. Omg omg this review was so good that I just had to read the book right after I read it. And I did pick the book up and finish it yesterday! I agree so much that the relationship development was so amazing! The way the author’s built the friendship and then romance between Red and Blue is just BEAUTIFUL

    Liked by 1 person

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