asakiyume (asakiyume) wrote,

Reading: This Is How You Lose the Time War

I really wondered how I would feel about this: there was so much to love--that it was an epistolary novel, that it was enemy agents who fall in love, that it was a time war! But I had also heard that the language was very flowery, and I have a complicated relationship with flowery language. I'm not against it by any means! I love the possibilities that the manipulation of language offer; I love metaphor, poetry, associations forged through language, all of that. But I also really crave story and purpose, and I get wearied easily if gorgeous language isn't wedded to one of those two.

Fortunately for me, This Is How You Love [*ahem* I mean Lose] the Time War, while it has only a very basic story, has a very strong purpose, which I finally managed to articulate to my satisfaction: it as an ode to seduction, challenge, love, & sacrifice. I feel like Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone said, "What if we were to write a towering love, without reservation or stinting, without nice little constraints, a love so big it encompasses all of time and space?" And then did that. Because that's what the conceit of a time war makes possible: love through the ages. The agents' love is both predestined and self-determined. They get to know each other so carefully and so passionately--but a passion that's all in words and thought and all the excesses that words and thoughts allow.
I know your solitude and poise, the clenched fist of you, the blade: a glass shard in Garden's green glowing world .... Love is what we have, against time and death, against all the powers ranged to crush us down.

I mean! That first part reminds me of Psalm 139:

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

So yeah, it's a story to read for the power of the emotion and the language that captures it. This entry was originally posted at Comments are welcome at either location.
Tags: books, friends, reading, recommendations, reviews, this is how you lose the time war

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