SFF

This Is How You Lose the Time War

Saga. Jul. 2019. 208p. ISBN 9781534431003. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781534431010. SF
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Red is the Agency’s best agent, settling scores of time lines in the past and future to ensure her technological group’s success. Until the day she finds a letter on a bloody battlefield inscribed “Burn Before Reading.” Blue travels up and down the time lines for the organic consciousness of the Garden, securing her victories as she receives a response to her missive in water. Through a correspondence that slides through the past and futures, two of the most solitary and destructive rivals find that the thrill of their communication exceeds their directives. What happens when warring factions turn to words? Triumph is the goal for this unending time war. Or at least, that is what Blue and Red believe.
VERDICT This stunning, semi-epistolary tale by coauthors El-Mohtar (The Honey Month) and Gladstone (“Craft Sequence” series) is a seamless story of time travel, sparring opponents, and the revelations of serving a cause. To unlock the complexities of language and plot here, readers will want to return to this book, with each read revealing a little more of its near-limitless substance.

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