This Is How You Lose the Time War

Length: 4 hrs and 16 mins
Categories: Romance, Science Fiction
4 out of 5 stars (657 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Two time-traveling agents from warring futures, working their way through the past, begin to exchange letters - and fall in love in this thrilling and romantic audiobook 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 hell-bent 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?

Cowritten by two beloved and award-winning sci-fi writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space.

©2019 Amal El-Mohtar (P)2019 Simon & Schuster Audio

Critic Reviews

"Emily Woo Zeller and Cynthia Farrell's dual narrations emphasize the divergent personalities of two time-traveling protagonists.... Listen, then listen again to unravel this intricate story, beautifully narrated." (AudioFile Magazine)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    374
  • 4 Stars
    149
  • 3 Stars
    81
  • 2 Stars
    30
  • 1 Stars
    23

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    415
  • 4 Stars
    139
  • 3 Stars
    53
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    12

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    354
  • 4 Stars
    128
  • 3 Stars
    80
  • 2 Stars
    35
  • 1 Stars
    30

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What if Romeo and Juliet were Terminators?

This book is a 4.25 hour answer to that question. not super long by any stretch, and unfortunately the world building makes me wish it did go on for another 12 hours, but ah well, good stories end.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Beautiful writing, but lacking a good story

This is very poetic beautiful writing, but pretentious and treacly at times. It barely does any character or world development. It’s hard to care about the outcome when all the descriptions of action sequences are in convoluted metaphors. It was mildly interesting to listen to, but wouldn’t recommend to anyone looking for an actual story.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

pretty okay

some lovely writing, many obtuse references, little context, confusing sequences. not sorry I listened. recommend borrowing.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, ok narration

I loved the story format, having a unique voice and style for red and blue was nice. Very beautiful prose. My only issue is with one of the narrators, it sounded like a computer voice from the 90s trying to read a book, very mechanical and almost autotuned too somehow. The other narrator was great.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

This kind of writing is not for everyone

I had to restart this book a couple of times to get into it, that is why I gave it 3 stars. I'm glad I didn't quit (unlike some in my book club). The thing I walked away thinking was that we do not write letters like this anymore. We send quick texts, sometimes we might only use emojis. Sadly we don't stop and consider the sunset - too busy trying to get a picture to post on social media. Most relationships even in our families are superficial, many times we are on our phones ignoring those around us, Think about the last time you really connected with someone in the same room. In letters these two time travelers share with each other personal thoughts and ideas. When I picked up the book I was thinking the story may go down the road (since it involves time travel) that it might turn out that this person fell in love with their own future self, that isn't it but I found I did enjoy how this story turned out. Kind of like if Romeo and Juliet were time travelers but even that is too simple of an explanation. I did like the twists, classic time traveling twist but well executed. As for the performance, I personally do not care for breathy narration so I gave 3 stars because it wasn't horrible. I gave a 3 star review because although I ended up enjoying the story, it wasn't exactly what I thought it was. I rarely read reviews before I read the book but if I were to come across this one a midst all the 5 star reviews I may have began reading with different expectations.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing book with great narrators

I had been waiting for this book for many months. I had a set idea in my head of what this book would be about, what it would try to achieve, and how it would get there. It was none of the things I wanted it to be. Instead, it was the most beautifully written work of fiction I've ever read.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

New and compelling twist on love though time

This is exceptionally written prose with interesting worlds and characters. It provides a strange snapshot into another universe. Listened to it straight through. Fantastic

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a surprising and refreshing speculative fiction

loved it. so hard to describe, but I strongly recommend the audiobook over the ebook. great performance

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Short but worth the listen.

Beautiful prose. Think a long, short story, in style. A unique take on a love affair.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written

The format of this book is strange, but it is beautifully written. It doesn't really follow a standard plot format. Honestly it reminded me of the SciFi version of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (that a majority of the book is letters from alternating POV).

The short version of the plot is that two rival time traveling special agents, from opposing sides in the Time War, begin correspondence with one another. Red is from The Agency. Blue serves Garden. Both are the best agents on their respective sides. Initially, the letters start as taunts, but grow to friendship and later to love. In the end, they have to decide whether to be loyal to their masters and destroy one another or to try to find a way to be together.

Aside from the love story, there is fantastical further tech, loads of historical references, and some very (IMO) amusing parallel timelines. My favorite parallel timelines were steampunk London and the one where people worship Siri (yes, like the Apple AI). I thought it was beautifully written prose.

The two readers / performers were excellent.