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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Novella, the Reddit Stabby Award for Best Novella AND The British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novella

Two time-travelling agents from warring futures, working their way through the past, begin to exchange letters - and fall in love in this thrilling and romantic book from award-winning authors Amal-El Mohtar and Max Gladstone.

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. That's how war works. Right?

©2019 Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

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What listeners say about This Is How You Lose the Time War

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Well Written and Well Performed

The format of the book and the approach to the production into an audiobook yielded a great audiobook experience.
Very simple yet very ingenious they to voice the letters read by one character with the same actor as the sender.

Overall it's a short and sweet romance story.
A "Sci-Fi Romeo and Juliet spy novella"
I'd recommend it even to people qho don't fancy themselves Sci-Fi fans

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This one is hard to review...

This is a unique book that verges on poetry. It's mystical, confusing, melodic. I'm not sure I like it all that much, but then I think that's what I like about it. It's left me uncertain.

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  • Laura
  • 10-26-19

Totally confusing.

Really struggled through this. Felt like I had no clue what was going on for large parts of it. The narrators did there best to keep it interesting but far too convoluted and pretentious for my liking.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs Cathy
  • 04-22-20

Revelatory

Poetry meets prose, hardcore sci-fi. I have never read anything like it and for that I give it top marks. It was masterful, the language was beautiful.
The narrators were perfect.

8 people found this helpful

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  • DeadNotSleeping
  • 11-09-19

Too boring to hold my attention

"Two time-travelling agents from warring futures, working their way through the past, begin to exchange letters" - it shouldn't be possible to make this story boring, and yet somehow it is. I tried my best but after a while the overly wordy and vague narrative just couldn't hold my attention anymore. The narrators are quite good and sort of soothing in a way but that wasn't what I wanted from this purchase.

7 people found this helpful

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  • D. Davidson
  • 06-17-20

This how you win the hearts of readers.

Loved this, it lured me in, then swept me away. The universe of this book is intriguing and the rhythm of the prose, as performed by the excellent narrator, was perfect.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-28-21

A most excellent book

This is the most beautiful book I've ever read and listened to (and I usually don't do romance). But do not try to understand what's happening: The real story is the relationship between the two protoganists.

I'm surprised it worked so well as an audiobook. Even if you read it before I recommend this version, because I think it adds to the story (even though I think the written version is a tiny bit better).

3 people found this helpful

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  • Neurodiverse queer survior
  • 12-08-20

delicious

saphic time travelling love...
shame about all the graphic violence.
but concept and delicious prose kept me going.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jenamylou
  • 05-12-20

Stunning and compelling

The love story everyone should hear and feel. Alive with humour, passion and just a touch of snark.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Stevan
  • 03-15-20

brilliant

the prose are excellent and the story gripping I can't recommend it enough. it's great

3 people found this helpful

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  • Michela
  • 01-12-20

Back and forth through time and characters

It was a bit confusing at the beginning and in some other points, as I was listening to the audiobook, to discern which of either protagonists was which and what were the stakes. The story starts in the middle of action and doesn't stop to explain, you get pieces of information about the situation and the characters from the narrators' own words to each other and slowly get to connect the dots. A fascinating story, in which the connection between enemies through time and space and war, in the attempt to outsmart each other, creates a bond that changes everything, back to the beginning of their lives.

3 people found this helpful

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  • mr a thomson
  • 01-14-21

What a gorgeous book

At first I wasn't sure what I was listening to, as I was confused by the time traveling, and the back and forth between the characters. After a few chapters though I was captured by the evolving conversation, that was both poetic and fantastical. I absolutely love this book and reccomend it to anyone who enjoys an alternative love story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Daylan
  • 01-02-21

Cool concept, annoyingly executed

I hated this. Had so much potential but the story was told in a far too floral way. Would love to see this executed by a great sci fi writer rather than a college poet. I stuck with it until the end in the hope the author would tap into the potential of the concept, but instead it just kept on creeping up its own ass with pretentious prose. I feel annoyed for having finished this and even more annoyed for a squandered concept.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-18-22

First Audible book I chose not to finish

Oh God! This is an awful book. I wanted it to be good, I willed it to be good, but all I got from what I heard was two weird arse time travel chicks leaving notes for each other.

Disappointing in every way.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-31-21

The perfect romance through time

Silky smooth prose and a beautiful inevitable love story. I love this book with all my heart.

great performances. I think the performance for Blue was better than Red, but overall, pretty great.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-28-20

Beautifully structured

Like an elegant equation or carefully designed program, this narrative loops forward and back towards a fascinating end. I want to re-listen as soon as it ends.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • George Theodoridis
  • 04-12-22

Writing to die for

Superbly written. The literary fiction end of sci fi.
Poetic. Luscious emotional tones. Yet sitting squarely in the genre.
Deserved winner of awards.
I will read anything i now find by them.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-14-21

Incredible story read by incredible actors

The narrators bring new life to the characters, I've listened to this audiobook more times than I've ever read the book, because it's amazing

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-30-21

I'm still torn about how I feel with this one

I found myself lost a lot, I also felt no connection to the characters. I can't tell if that's because the story just wasn't for me, or the performance just lacked the emotion it definitely seemed to require. Overall, so glad it was this short otherwise I would have given up on it much sooner.

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  • M. Tweedale
  • 08-25-21

A book genuinely engaged by the audio format

The plot is window dressing. Once you let go of that element and just too with the flow of it, the book is excellent. Plus the narrators bring so much to the back and forth nature of it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dr
  • 08-23-21

Too much of a good thing?

I prefer poetry as a garnish to good prose, rather than as the main course. This novella feels like a labour of love on the authors' part (excuse the pun), but the constant torrent of concocted images and literary devices becomes mind numbing.
The last quarter of the book, where the sci-fi theme becomes more than a romantic back-drop, pushes this book from a miss to an almost thumbs-up.

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  • Ben
  • 08-06-21

Exquisite science fiction

A beautiful piece of inventive and immersive science fiction. The language is precise and clean, the story engaging and bittersweet.