Author: Seanan McGuire
Publisher: Tor.com Publishing
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Page Length: 528
Age Range: Adult
Goodreads Synopsis: Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.
Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.
Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.
Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.
Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.
I have been debating back and forth whether or not I wanted to tackle Middlegame in a review. The idea of organizing my thoughts, to review what I thought seemed daunting – well still does. But with the love I have of this book I figured it couldn’t hurt to at least try. It’s been a few days now, so hopefully, I can do it justice.
First off, this book is full of atmosphere! McGuire does an amazing job at describing what is going on around the characters so that you, as the reader, feel like you are experiencing it as well. When you’re with Reed everything feels cold, calculated, made-up. There is no warmth in his scenes. While, when you’re with Roger and Dodger (either together or separate) you can feel love and innocence and learning.
As for the characters, Reed is a complete jerk. At first, I figured he would feel like a super smart Frankenstein’s monster, but in the end, he was just a power-hungry… well jerk. The fact that he was created only adds to his calculated appearance. Half the time you aren’t fully sure if what he is doing is planned or an act of anger. While listening to the audiobook, he doesn’t have a particular accent – some scenes he would sound more British and others you couldn’t even figure out where he was supposed to be coming from. Now that is not the fault of the narrator – he was described in the book to have no distinctive accent in order to “comfort” others. Roger and Dodger were so much fun. I could identify with each of them. Roger was curious but more naive and impressionable. Roger wanted to be normal and liked by others and, at times, it felt like he couldn’t see the bad in anyone. Dodger, on the other hand, was wild and experimental. She felt no need to be connected to anyone but Roger because he was the only person she seemed to relate to.
The twists and turns throughout this book were just amazing. Every time I thought I understood where it was going, it changed. Without getting into spoilers, there are time jumps and alterations that just boggle the mind. Not in a way that you can’t understand, in fact, it’s the opposite. By the time the story starts getting intense with the more “advanced” science/fantasy elements in the story, it seems more plausible. You are learning alongside Roger and Dodger and once they believe something is possible, then you, as the reader, seem to be fully aware of the possibility as well.
Once this book ended, I felt shocked. Not just from the ending, but I was shocked it was over. I wasn’t sure what to do, or think. I wanted more about these characters and as of now, we won’t be getting another one. I’m hoping this is wrong and we do get a sequel or companion novel! Honestly, the book ends so that the option is open – and I hope McGuire takes it!
If you liked McGuire’s Wayward Children series, then you will love this one. If I was to give a short review – which was my first instinct, I would say Middlegame is like the Wayward Children series on crack! If your problem with the Wayward Children series was that they were too short – well then go grab this one. To me, it felt like a super extended version of those books. Everything in Middlegame felt possible, which I believe is mainly due to the writing. I will be thinking about this book for a long time to come (maybe until the sequel 😉 ).
Also, side note – I highly recommend the audiobook too. The narration is amazing!