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This Is How You Lose the Time War
par Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone
» 26 plus
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Actuellement, il n'y a pas de discussions au sujet de ce livre.
3,5 ( )
This is the most romantic book of all time. It does away with all semblance of time, place, gender, wants, needs, affection. So if that makes you uncomfortable, you may be in for a wild ride. It is also a book that takes several re-readings to fully grasp the story line. I read it annually on Valentines Day and gain more admiration for it every time.
It has all of the panache of a grand epic, but it moves along much quicker with jumps in time and grand adventures along the way. The end is a great twisty loop of love and heartache and sacrifice and beauty and pain. Along the way, the story unfolds in letters back in forth which leave the reader holding their breath and never really being able to catch up.
I think this could just as easily have been classified as poetry because the writing is so melodramatic. It's definitely an emo story, but in an acceptably passionate way, not an "emo for the sake of being emo" way.
Wow. This is a love story, through and through, forget the scifi! I wanted more scifi. This is gorgeously written, truly lovely prose and the letters were stunning. If I were another person, this would be an easy five stars. But of course I'm me so I got bogged down in the "let's keep things moving tell me more about the plot" and I wish there had been more world building.
Great idea but written in a style that will appeal only to readers who don't need to understand the world inhabited by the characters, who can simply accept the relationship between Blue and Red with little reason, and possibly who enjoy poetry. Needless to say, I am not one of those readers. The language is overly flowery yet vague and sprinklings of humor cannot save it. The world is almost completely unexplained and follows no real rules. The book alternates points of view and also incorporates a third person perspective that, I assume, is supposed to explain this universe (multiverse?). Those sections are nonsense so, at the halfway point of this very short book that I gave up on twice before finally sticking with it, I started skipping to the "letters" between Red and Blue which express their connection beautifully and with subtle humor. But the whole relationship develops out of thin air and the ending is unbelievable and kind of a cheat. I suppose anything is possible with time travel. But is it satisfying? Not for me.
I was going to say that it's hard for me to decide where to start with my review of this book -- which is certainly true -- but not for the typical reasons I suppose. Not because I can't decide which of its good points to focus on first. Nor the same for its bad points (it has none in my view).
It's because I can't quite figure out how to describe my emotional reaction to it. The best I can do is euphoric, but that's not in the sort of unabashedly effervescent way that I think most people use it. It more like being high, for lack of a better way to put it. If you've never been high on something harder than alcohol, the best I can do is the less accurate, like being slightly buzzed on alcohol. Or maybe another way to put it is that my mind expanded, and it hasn't de-expanded yet.
(And to those of you who know me, yeah, this is not how I've described many things ever. So, yeah, it's weird for me too.)
So, with that hand-wavy description out there now, I'll talk about those good points and lack of bad points a little.
One of the best things about so-called social science fiction is it doesn't get bogged down in technical explanations. Now, to be sure, I love good and well-written technical explanations in hard sci-fi, but those are not the norm of course. Most wallow around near the intersection of technically stupid, internally incoherent, and boringly described.
But, that's not what's good about TIHYLtTW. What's good about in how natural time travel was, how completely unnecessary any explanation seemed. Particularly with time travel, these explanations always seem to trip over themselves as they try to explain why certain constraints exist and how paradox is avoided and so on. But, no, in this book, to explain it would have been like explaining how to drink water or walk. Insulting to the reader. Stop and think about that for a few moments.
At least as much as this is social sci-fi, it's a romance. I do not read romances, so bear in mind my estimate of it as a romance is not coming from a rich background in romance-reading. Maybe a lot of romances are this well-described.
The romance unfolds in a series of letters between two operatives on opposite sides of the titular time war. They start off innocuously enough, Blue taunting Red and vice versa. But Blue and Red are at the top of their game and they cannot help but appreciate each other's deft manipulations of the timelines across the multi-time-strand war.
As the elaborately concealed and delivered letters escalate, the delicious prose of the visceral emotions just gets better and better. Blue hungers for Red as only the deeply, hopelessly in love can. And Red, while the more intellectual of the pair, falls equally in thrall to Blue and does not fail to express it in her own scintillating way. I could not help but be drawn into the lush emotional web.
It was remarkable that, despite being a novella, I felt like I had listened to something much longer, in the sense of all that the story delivers.
The inevitable comparisons with Romeo and Juliet do arise and are defused with a perfect ambiguity that gives away nothing about the story's ending. That ending is appropriately open, no book this good should finish on some neat and tidy note.
As you may have noticed, I listened to the audiobook. The narration was wonderful. Blue's actor in particular gave a performance that imbued her letters with an inescapable urgency. Blue's hunger worms its way into your mind straight through your ear.
As I mentioned to a friend, this book is dense without at all seeming so. As I said above, it seemed like I'd taken in a much bigger story. Full of allusions and metaphors, I found myself backing up to relisten to parts just to take in the richness of them again, and, to my delight, discovering nuggets I'd missed the first time through. Though only four hours and change, I probably spent 7 hours listening.
I can't recommend this book enough. It's great science fiction and amazing romance better written than anything else I've read recently. Treat yourself to this soon!
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Part epistolary romance, part mind-blowing science fiction adventure, this dazzling story unfolds bit by bit, revealing layers of meaning as it plays with cause and effect, wildly imaginative technologies, and increasingly intricate wordplay.
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.
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Classification décimale de Melvil (CDD)813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
Classification de la Bibliothèque du Congrès