I couldn’t get through this book the first time through, and abandoned it. This time it seemed so easy to get through–not sure what happened. More patience? I’ve read a lot more since then, and so find confusing plot threads easier to stick with (helllo Gideon the Ninth and then “hold my coffee” Harrow the Ninth).
I also think the whole conceit of “leaving messages for one another” is cute and all, but once we move past (?) (ha) that to the more plot-y parts of the book is when I was really into it and couldn’t put it down. For those of you living in an alternate timeline where you didn’t hear about this book incessantly, Red and Blue are enemy combatants for two opposing armies that can be summarized as “Garden” and “Robot.” Both are their side’s most devious, skilled operatives in a type of warfare that is less about traditional violence and more about gently, subtly nudging events in the present day (whatever that means) to create a giant catastrophe or lack thereof many, many years in the future. Garden wants more garden(??) and Robot wants more robots (???) it’s really quite confusing and obviously not the point.
The point is, Red and Blue (who are sometimes female and sometimes male and sometimes neither) are playing that seminal trope: cat and mouse to cat-loves-mouse. Enemies to lovers, but cagey ones that can’t ever know if the other is being honest. If the other has been found out. If the other side knows.
For such a short book, this packs a real wallop of emotion and heartbreak and heart. If you, like me, could not get through it…try again.