A work of art | BookishFirst

A work of art

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A war spanning a multiverse. A slow-burn romance. A clever epistolary structure. No, I'm not talking about three different books. Yes, This is How You Lose the Time War does all these things - and it does them in a way that puts turbo-blasters on the imagination.

Some authors go to great pains to spell out every detail of plot and world and character. But El-Mohtar and Gladstone don't need to - their writing is so evocative, I felt the story unfolding in the corners of my mind. So much about the world and the war is revealed in subtext, engaging the reader into looking for clues and imagining what they can't investigate.

If you're looking for a hard-scifi, time-travel thriller, this is not it. But if you love the idea and implications of time travel, you'll love all the little ways Red and Blue use the time stream to their advantage, and the connections that unfold.

More impressive is the way these authors tell a story scattered across time in epistolary form - the novella is structured in short scenes followed by a letter. If you're wondering how that structure could possibly lend itself to a story about a time war, I just have to say: go read it and find out. The writing is gorgeous, the characters well-realized. You won't be sorry.