Quick pacing. Poetry. A little bit of witty retorts here and there, enough to know you're in a brand new world. A world described so tenderly and meticulously that it mirrors exactly the two hearts and two personalities of the novel's protagonists - Red and Blue. It isn't a secret to friends of mine how much I love the epistolary format, but in 'This Is How You Lose The Time War', Amal El Mohtar and Max Gladstone have weaved such a perfect rhythm with them that they feel instantaneously intimate, yet with the undeniable air of mystery and intrigue as the reader learns alongside the characters of Red and Blue more about each of them. The result is something astonishing and brand new and closer to lyrical poetry, I would argue, than the traditional novel. The prose is so beautiful it feels like it should be sung aloud, and the ability to make time travel gripping is no mean feat. Red and Blue are nature and metal, yearning both to clash and to intertwine as the beats of tenderness and danger in these first pages do. An incredible start, and if the rest of the pages are like this I may have found a new favourite novel.