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Middlegame

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Middlegame

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chaima ✨ شيماء

    It’s 3 am. You hear a noise downstairs. You go to investigate. It’s me sitting at your kitchen table. I ask you to sit down. Slowly, reluctantly, you do. I draw in a small, sharp breath and start telling you how the thought of this book still stirs such a storm in me—a thousand smithereens of joy and yearning and grief—all of it seething and bleeding and writhing. How the story settled like sediment in my mind, and, how it was days before I could pull my senses home to my body—most of them, at least. It’s 3 am. You hear a noise downstairs. You go to investigate. It’s me sitting at your kitchen table. I ask you to sit down. Slowly, reluctantly, you do. I draw in a small, sharp breath and start telling you how the thought of this book still stirs such a storm in me—a thousand smithereens of joy and yearning and grief—all of it seething and bleeding and writhing. How the story settled like sediment in my mind, and, how it was days before I could pull my senses home to my body—most of them, at least. Enough to stop the spinning and bail out the excess feeling that threatened otherwise to capsize me. “What’s the book about?” you may ask. Roger and Dodger have hidden their secret for so long, and worked so hard to be normal, but now the truth lay all around them in crimson arcs of gore written out across the ground. But you need context. So, let’s try the ending again, writ sequentially. Greed lies beneath all our ugliest transactions. Roger and Dodger are the product of an alchemist’s covetous desire to make the universe yield to his sounding by controlling the elemental forces of creation. His name is James Reed, and he’s been trying for over a hundred years to follow his master’s teachings and harness a universal concept called the Doctrine of Ethos—by splitting it into a pair of kneadable human bodies, one of whom is endowed with an extraordinary deftness for math, and the other an extraordinary dexterity for language. Ever since Roger had heard Dodger’s voice in his head as clearly as if an unseen person had pronounced the words, he’d stumbled onto something that refused to be believed: Roger has a twin whose name rhymes with his own and they can communicate via quantum entanglement. Their situation was one they drew consolation from as they marveled at it. But things were seldom that simple. When the artfully placed leaves blow away, revealing the shining jaws of the trap beneath, their amazement slips, taking on an unfamiliar, uncomfortable form. And the more Roger and Dodger fight against their destiny, they only draw it more tightly around their throats. James Reed had cast the shining snare long before Roger and Dodger knew about each other, and it is closing, and they will be caught. “ There is so much blood .” It's quite a fitting opening sentence for a novel steeped in the eventuality of menace. McGuire knows how to hold the reader spellbound. Her storytelling has its own energy and speed; it brings the tale into the room, with its dark and its chill. I resented spending time away from the novel. Like Dodger’s voice, it seemed to call to me, like a faint heartbeat, insistent and persuasive. Yet, I did not really chase after explanations, snatch at reasons, or make effortful attempts to connect thoughts. Instead, reading Middlegame was like being caught in a current, drifting along with the river's twists and turns. I simply waited, with a mounting thrill of consternation and exhilaration, until the conclusion that had been inexorably readying itself in the depths came to the surface. I must warn you, however, that this book isn't short on misery, tragedy or violence. Darkness is served up deliciously in this novel, and a tendril of fear for the characters often curled in my belly. But fear not, there is a happy ending. Perhaps, more uncertain than happy. In any case, the world will eventually run at its own pace again. Middlegame is also a complex, intricate clockwork of a story. But the novel's structure is a tricky one, and our dauntless heroes aren't the only ones destined to get their heads turned around here. The concepts in this book come fast, thick and tangled, seeming at first dreamy and obscure, like a sentence half translated into a new language. It’s the kind of tangle that you could easily make worse in your efforts to straighten things out. The past and the present often touch and overlap, and the story makes abrupt jumps ahead in time in sometimes-illuminating, sometimes-disconcerting or confusing ways. But McGuire supports all of that mind-twisting theory with deeply empathetic characters, and, even when the novel lags, the clarity of her prose and keenness of her dialogue slice through. In the end, this is a book that convinces and compels—it is genuinely unlike anything that I've ever read, and altogether triumphant. But what holds steady throughout the novel is how expertly balanced the pursuit of plot is with the pursuit of characterization. I am a reader who leans more towards character-driven stories, and to my delight, Dodger and Roger form the thread that holds the beads of this novel together. McGuire has given us a mind-constellating peek behind the workings of the universe, then distilled it into a quiet, intimate tale of twin siblings who, separated by miles and decades, have constructed between them a sense of unaccustomed security as impressive as a moated castle, but they alone knew how flimsy it really was. See, Dodger and Roger were two sides of a single coin that could be thrown in the air and land on either side. They were quantum-tangled twins, each a presence that surrounded the other and protected them and was no less real for being—for years—invisible. The irony is as hard and cold as ax-fall, for their entanglement often only sharpened the hardship of their existence. Middlegame takes readers through a journey of their obsessive years of curiosity, of waiting for their destiny to reveal its staggering answer to them, then the years of loss and confusion, when the blunted edges of their relationship had suddenly become cut-throat sharp, threatening to slip and slice them both if not handled with care, then the years of revelation when Dodger and Roger realize that their center of gravity have immutably shifted: from being one of one—alone, apart—to being half of something that would crumble if either side were cut away. I felt such a keen sense of connection with the characters. With Dodger who could sense numbers and see their path in her mind, as though they were right there, waiting to resolve, like a kaleidoscope in need of turning. Dodger who feels losses most keenly, whose mind was a torment and whose chest was hinged like a gate and she had simply never noticed until Roger had spoken the word sister and filled an empty place inside her. With Roger to whom words were like a drumbeat constantly pulling at his pulse. Roger who understood the torment in Dodger’s eyes and carried it with him down the long roads of his life, who was always too acutely aware of how porous is the line that separated them. Such a current of love and rage and resentment ran between Roger and Dodger that at times the novel felt colored by it, while all else was drowned and forgotten. Siblings, huh? (I falter into a cutting silence.) Well… I’ve taken too many moments of your time. (I press the book into your hands.) Just trust me. BLOG | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | TUMBLR

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lala BooksandLala

    This synopsis had been taunting me for months. It's honestly just so well written I can barely stand it. For some reason I was hella nervous to actually get into this book. This was my first Seanan McGuire outside of (one of my favourite series of all time) The Wayward Children books, and I figured there's no way I could TRULY love an adult fantasy novel about science....and gods....right? But slap my ass and call me Judy, if this isn't one of my new favourite books of all time. I have an inkling This synopsis had been taunting me for months. It's honestly just so well written I can barely stand it. For some reason I was hella nervous to actually get into this book. This was my first Seanan McGuire outside of (one of my favourite series of all time) The Wayward Children books, and I figured there's no way I could TRULY love an adult fantasy novel about science....and gods....right? But slap my ass and call me Judy, if this isn't one of my new favourite books of all time. I have an inkling this isn't going to be for everyone, I must admit. It was my perfect brand of weird, and her writing is so addictive, and also..accessible? But this isn't a genre (actually...what even subgenre does this fall into) I ever read...so those well versed in this alchemical, mythological, SFF shit- could find something lacking for all I know. But to me it was flawless. Roger and Dodger are precious cinnamon buns who must be protected at all costs. How Seanan McGuire manages to keep things fast paced, fun, and totally otherworldly...but then throws in some Real Life Shit, is inspired. There were scenes right from the jump that almost had me in tears. Also the opening scene is "Five minutes too late, thirty seconds from the end of the world." And I mean, with a start like that, what could go wrong? Please go pre-order this so she writes a sequel.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    “They grew up sort of weird and sort of wonderful and they found each other and lost each other over and over again. But this time, when they found each other, they came as close as they could to the Impossible City. They walked the length of the improbable road, and the girl wrote down everything she knew about the universe, and the boy read it all aloud, and everything was okay.” Going into Middlegame, I don't think I actually considered that I might not like it. It didn't seem possible. I ha “They grew up sort of weird and sort of wonderful and they found each other and lost each other over and over again. But this time, when they found each other, they came as close as they could to the Impossible City. They walked the length of the improbable road, and the girl wrote down everything she knew about the universe, and the boy read it all aloud, and everything was okay.” Going into Middlegame, I don't think I actually considered that I might not like it. It didn't seem possible. I have given five stars to all the four books I've read in McGuire's Wayward Children series, and I just assumed this would be an obvious five-star, love-you-forever kind of read. I actually feel bad saying this, but this was not my kind of book at all. There was a lot of stopping and starting in my attempts to read this book (which have been going on for weeks). I guess I just don’t enjoy being this confused for so long and receiving so little explanation for anything. The Wayward Children series is exactly my brand of atmospheric fairy tale weirdness, but this was a completely different kind of weird. A dense sci-fi novel that was at least 200 pages too long for me. I found it frustrating and confusing-- one of those books where I was kept in the dark for so long that my attention was waning. Trying to stay invested when I had no idea where it was going or what questions I needed to be asking was hard work. And so much feels unanswered. While I’m sure this is wholly intentional, it didn’t quite work for me. I was left with the unsatisfying feeling that I never fully "got" it. There's a lot of repetition, too. Roger and Dodger are "experiment" twins - he a word genius, she a math genius - separated after birth and placed with adoptive parents. They discover each other through a psychic link, lose each other, find each other again. Little is happening during these psychic encounters. Alongside this, we get the perspective of James Reed, an alchemist who wishes to use Roger and Dodger to get to the Impossible City. Unfortunately, I felt zero emotional connection to these characters. Though this is supposed to be a math and logic based sci-fi, it is strange how very little is explained. The lack of details made it hard to picture and suspend disbelief for. I struggled to understand the motivations of Reed or how he really planned to accomplish his ambitions. The "Impossible City" is just a cool-sounding name being thrown around without explanation. Probably my favourite parts were the nods to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which I thought were clever. But, overall, this book was for a reader very different from myself. I know McGuire also writes under her Mira Grant pseudonym, but I'm starting to think she might actually be several different people in one, because all her books are so different. I mean it as a compliment. Middlegame wasn't my cup of tea, but it's pretty impressive to have so many different tricks up one's sleeve. CW: Attempted suicide. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    "In the same ordinary town, on the same ordinary street, lived two ordinary children who had never quite managed to cross paths." MR. HUMPHREY: "So what was this book about?" ME: "Honestly, I couldn't tell you but I loved it." MR. HUMPHREY: ...... ME: ....... Ok, but have you ever read a book that is so intellectually deep and intricately detailed in subject matter that you aren't well versed in, that you haven't got the first clue how to explain it to someone else? Honestly, that's how I feel about "In the same ordinary town, on the same ordinary street, lived two ordinary children who had never quite managed to cross paths." MR. HUMPHREY: "So what was this book about?" ME: "Honestly, I couldn't tell you but I loved it." MR. HUMPHREY: ...... ME: ....... Ok, but have you ever read a book that is so intellectually deep and intricately detailed in subject matter that you aren't well versed in, that you haven't got the first clue how to explain it to someone else? Honestly, that's how I feel about most of Seanan McGuire's books, because her writing is so flawlessly executed that we aren't worthy of her stories, yet she allows us to read them anyway. Even the blurb is fairly cryptic, and I think the publisher wisely chose to keep the cards close in hand on this book for the very reason that it's best to go in open-minded and ready to be lead by the author, hand-in-hand, to The Impossible City. "Medicine rests upon four pillars-philosophy, astronomy, alchemy, and ethics." ^ That above quote, to me, sums up what this book is about. *Insert best SNL Stefan voice* This book has everything-twins, alchemy, quantum physics, fires, Frankenstein creatures, MORE FIRES, telepathy (of sorts), a book within a book, EVEN MORE FIRES- well, I think you get the picture. Throwing a list of buzz words at you is much easier than trying to explain precisely WHAT this book is, and the author even stated in her afterword that her four page pitch of this novel wasn't enough for her agent to get what this book was, so she just wrote the damn thing. Badass level, achieved! This book is long, friends. Please don't let it scare you, because i plowed through all *roughly* 550 pages in 3 days, and that's only because I had adulting to do in between. The beauty of McGuire's novels are that, she takes an idea that seems so far fetched it could never happen, and then magically forms it into this ALMOST realistic and very scientific sounding hypothesis that has you googling at midnight wondering if scientists have achieved this level of madness. It's safe to say that this book won't be for everybody, and will mostly appeal to those looking for a science fiction novel that is heavy on the science side, but once again Seanan McGuire, queen of all things intellectually quirky and deliciously bizarre, has blown me away. Highly recommended for those looking for a challenging read, and I mean that as the highest compliment. "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." -Richard Feynman *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley.

  5. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    My mind is melting!!!! What is Middlegame? Honestly, I don't really know. I legit stared at the wall for a good 20-minutes after I finished it just contemplating words and life. What a freaking achievement for Seanan McGuire?! A tour de force of science fiction. Expertly crafted from start to finish in order to make you feel like the secrets of the universe are being exposed to you. There are so many intriguing concepts in here and the narrative is so vast, following our two main characters, Roger My mind is melting!!!! What is Middlegame? Honestly, I don't really know. I legit stared at the wall for a good 20-minutes after I finished it just contemplating words and life. What a freaking achievement for Seanan McGuire?! A tour de force of science fiction. Expertly crafted from start to finish in order to make you feel like the secrets of the universe are being exposed to you. There are so many intriguing concepts in here and the narrative is so vast, following our two main characters, Roger and Dodger, from the time they are children up through adulthood. I can't lie. It's a challenging read but so worth the effort. You shouldn't be multi-tasking whilst reading this. It needs deserves your full attention. This gave me Dark Tower vibes a bit, a huge positive for me, in how prodigious and all-consuming the narrative was. I absolutely adore McGuire's writing. Each and every word seems to have been carefully selected and placed where it would be most effective. I am really excited for more people to read this. I am so interested to see what others think. I know it will not be for everyone but I know a lot of people are going to be just as impressed as I was. At this point, I will read anything, ANYTHING, that Seanan McGuire writes. She is a gift. Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor, for providing me with an early copy to read and review. I certainly feel blessed to have received it. I appreciate the opportunity and know it will be a huge success!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    ETA: This is too funny! Seanan McGuire is actually going to turn the Up-and-Under/Over the Woodward Wall element of this novel into a real book series! https://www.tor.com/2019/07/01/announ... I am so there for this. 4.5 stars for Seanan McGuire's latest novel! Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature in a slightly different form, as a collaborative review with my friend and co-reviewer Jana. You should read our (excellent) joint review there! :D James Reed and his assistant Leigh Barrow ― ETA: This is too funny! Seanan McGuire is actually going to turn the Up-and-Under/Over the Woodward Wall element of this novel into a real book series! https://www.tor.com/2019/07/01/announ... I am so there for this. 4.5 stars for Seanan McGuire's latest novel! Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature in a slightly different form, as a collaborative review with my friend and co-reviewer Jana. You should read our (excellent) joint review there! :D James Reed and his assistant Leigh Barrow ― a pair of rebel alchemists of the mad scientist type ― have been doing human experimentation for years, trying to make/breed (it’s a combination of both) children who will embody the “Doctrine of Ethos” and have godlike magical powers. Because putting all this power in one person hasn’t worked, they split the Doctrine into its two components, math and language, between two fraternal twins. One twin will be a math genius; the other gifted with language and words. Raising these children under controlled conditions, the alchemists believe they can achieve the results they want and keep the powers under their own control. Roger and Dodger are one of these sets of twins, separated at birth and adopted out to families living on opposite coasts of the United State of America. Roger is the language-gifted child and Dodger (a girl) is the math-gifted one. At age 7 the twins figure out that they have not only the ability to mentally communicate (through “quantum entanglement,” announces Roger triumphantly) but the capacity to see through each other’s eyes ― a revelation to Roger, who is completely colorblind. But meanwhile the single-minded alchemists are keeping a VERY close eye on them. They'll do anything - even murder - to make sure nothing interferes with their plans. In Middlegame, McGuire blends together light science fiction, fantasy and some horror, and then tosses in elements of Greek philosophy (the aforementioned Doctrine of Ethos), Tarot-like concepts, timeline shifting, classic children’s literature, and more in an almost indescribable literary concoction. Initially I found it a little too muddled. I wanted the improbable road leading to the Impossible City to make more logical sense, and I thought the half-explained quasi-Tarot references to the King of Cups, Queen of Wands/Swords, Jack Daw, and Page of Frozen Waters were more distracting than useful. A. Deborah Baker only briefly appears at the very beginning of Middlegame, but her ideas inform the entire plot. The chapter-heading quotes from her Over the Woodward Wall add color to the main plot but didn’t supply all of the additional clarity and meaning I was looking for. (I deeply wish that this were an actual book, though!) But a funny thing happened on my way to the virtual forum where Jana and I were exchanging our ideas and assembling our joint review. I dug back into the text of Middlegame and found that these various elements melded together far more satisfactorily than I thought on first read. Elements that at first seemed opaque appeared much clearer on second read. I especially like the idea of L. Frank Baum using The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to deliberately muddy Baker’s pure division of the four elements (water, air, fire and earth and the related humors) into four quadrants. I’m still dubious about the “Doctrine of Ethos” as the concept underlying the entire alchemical plot. The original doctrine (a Greek theory of how music influences the thoughts and emotions of humans) has an extremely tenuous logical connection to how our unbalanced alchemists are literally embodying the Doctrine in a pair of individuals, “forc[ing] the Doctrine into flesh” as a way to influence the entire world, the fabric of time and reality itself. And I’ve concluded … you just have to roll with it. Suspend disbelief, strap yourself into your seat and enjoy the ride.Smart kids get put on a pedestal by parents and teachers alike, and the rest of the class gathers around the base of it throwing rocks, trying to knock them down. People who say ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ don’t understand how words can be stones, hard and sharp-edged and dangerous and capable of doing so much more harm than anything physical.McGuire has such a gift for putting profound insights into words that strike your heart. As Roger and Dodger, both lonely children who don’t really fit in with others, get to know each other through their long-distance telepathic relationship, they realize how much they fit together, the scholastic strengths of one matching the weaknesses of the other.They can help each other. They can shore up the broken places. He knows the words for this: cooperation, symbiosis, reciprocity. So many words, and he’ll teach her all of them, if she’ll just keep being his friend.I realized, not long before Roger and Dodger themselves mention it, that their last names, Middleton and Cheswich, combine to make Midwich, a clever reference to The Midwich Cuckoos, a classic SF horror novel about a group of alien children (partially) concealed among humans. In Middlegame, though, the cuckoos have our undivided sympathy. Erin, the female half of one of Reed’s failed twin sets, turned assistant, developed into an excellent, multi-layered character, with far more depth than I initially expected. She ended up being one of my favorite characters … unlike Leigh, whose beauty hides an appalling bloodthirstiness. I have to add that I think the main plot of Middlegame is ingenious. I loved experiencing the growth of Roger and Dodger and the twists and turns in their relationship, and seeing how their powers gradually manifested. The astrolabe in Reed’s lab turns out to be more than a lovely symbol. There’s some pretty cosmic stuff going on here! If this is just the middle game in this world, I’d love to read about the endgame. Middlegame is a complex and thought-provoking novel that defies easy categorization. If you’re in the mood for something unusual, I strongly recommend Middlegame. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the review copy! Content notes: Some horror (THAT BURNING HAND THING) and violence, murder, attempted suicide, scattered F-bombs.

  7. 5 out of 5

    karen

    neither the threat of math nor the threat of twins are enough to keep me from wanting this book. only for you, mcguire...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Oh, lordy! Big caveat coming. I'm already a devoted fanboy of Seanan and I read almost everything she ever comes out with no matter what because I trust her implicitly. BUT. Nothing prepared me for this ambitious, thoughtful, mind-blowing modern fantasy of Alchemy and Twins. She spread her wings for this one and turned tons of dichotomies into hardcore story elements, synthesizing Order and Chaos, Math and Storytelling, Isolation and Community, and made a story of Balance a bit more ambitious tha Oh, lordy! Big caveat coming. I'm already a devoted fanboy of Seanan and I read almost everything she ever comes out with no matter what because I trust her implicitly. BUT. Nothing prepared me for this ambitious, thoughtful, mind-blowing modern fantasy of Alchemy and Twins. She spread her wings for this one and turned tons of dichotomies into hardcore story elements, synthesizing Order and Chaos, Math and Storytelling, Isolation and Community, and made a story of Balance a bit more ambitious than any I've seen in almost any novel. That's Middlegame. The space between the beginning and the end. The moment of transformation. The moment of synthesis. I'm SOOOO freaking happy to have read this. :) I'm going to nominate it for next year's Hugo on its own merits and NOT because I'm already a fanboy of the author. That's the quality within. :) My decision has been purified with a universal solvent. :) Oh, and the characters, Roger and Dodger, are freaking cool. :) Great, complicated, beautiful story. The opener isn't quite as strong as the early days of the two kids, but that's merely my own opinion. Once all the elements started mixing together into this alchemical brew, the results were amazing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

    4.25 “Timeline: five minutes too late, thirty seconds from the end of the world.” The Alchemical Congress has no room to speak. No one crosses Asphodel Baker, the creator of the careful design spanning different dimensions. A Doctrine of Ethos has been placed inside the mind of a handful of children. They come in pairs. The problem is, the doctrine is too large and does not leave space for humanity, so it is split into component parts – mathematics and language. The Up-and-Under also called the l 4.25 “Timeline: five minutes too late, thirty seconds from the end of the world.” The Alchemical Congress has no room to speak. No one crosses Asphodel Baker, the creator of the careful design spanning different dimensions. A Doctrine of Ethos has been placed inside the mind of a handful of children. They come in pairs. The problem is, the doctrine is too large and does not leave space for humanity, so it is split into component parts – mathematics and language. The Up-and-Under also called the light and brightness of the modern world is housing the project, an alchemical APEX. Reed is the apprentice alchemist and an invisible eye to see it all unfold in hopes to reach The Imperial City with the aid of the created pair. Some of the pairs have not made it to maturity, but the one that did is separated and placed into civilian family homes on opposite sides of the United States. Meet Dodger, a red-haired girl, great in math and chess, and Roger, a color-blind boy, the one that loves words, writing, and language. The two of them are gifted but don’t know this. They also don’t know that they have a twin. They live their lives, going to school just like all the other kids.…until one day a telepathic connection is made. It creeps in slowly and what turns out as voices in the head, becomes a trove of conversations. In altered pov’s and timelines, the reader becomes witness to the growing bond of the pair, the advantage points of helping each other, the altercations and their silent times. Each of them faces some struggles at difficult times in their lives and one day, by chance, they actually meet. Here lies the problem. They are watched. They are followed. They are toyed with. Roger and Dodger are destined for something. They have powers but they have to figure it out. Not easy as memories are being erased, places and times are altered and friends and families are dying around them. A journey that takes them all the way into their late twenties and will culminate in the ultimate trial of their bond. What will become of civility and the drive to the Imperial City? What is it they have to figure out and how will they be played like pawns in a game they never chose to play? Best to take the journey with them and find out! Happy Reading! *** Fans of McGuire's voice in writing will find it here true and beautiful. Her strong suit lies in the characterization of the pair, intuitive, intricate and emotional. Based upon the connectivity of twins, the novel furthers a very unique fantastical premise that is explored from its infancy in stages of tenderness and accelerates into a captivating, racing plot with twists, kicks, and punches! This concept may not be for everyone and admittedly, the time jumps and the tie-ins with alchemy and its history requires a more careful read to not miss anything or get confused. Most of the needed information is established at the beginning of the novel but does not make as much sense until it all begins to tie together further in the story. This can be off-putting perhaps to some, but the rewards are coming as the plot unfolds. If you have the itch for something new and different, this book is absolutely unique and should be given a try. A definite must for McGuire fans. Enjoy! I received a digital copy of this novel from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you. More reviews here: https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hamad

    This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription 🌟 Seanan McGuire does it again! This was so entertaining and addicting. I should add a disclaimer here that this was sent for me by the publisher who I am thankful for. This however, did not affect my review which is as honest as usual! 🌟 It feels weird to read something by Seanan other than the Wayward Children series which I like very much. I was happy when I received this because the author has such a beautiful prose This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription 🌟 Seanan McGuire does it again! This was so entertaining and addicting. I should add a disclaimer here that this was sent for me by the publisher who I am thankful for. This however, did not affect my review which is as honest as usual! 🌟 It feels weird to read something by Seanan other than the Wayward Children series which I like very much. I was happy when I received this because the author has such a beautiful prose that always leaves me wanting more. 🌟 So the writing was also the thing that I enjoyed in this book which cements the fact that Seanan is a great author in her other works too. The book has a major theme of Maths and Language which are my favorite 2 things in the world. I like how it showed the importance of these 2 things. The quotes at the start of each part were a very good idea! I have to leave a TW for a graphic Suicidal attempt and self harm though. 🌟 Roger and Dodger are going to be 2 characters I am going to be remembering for a long time. Part of that is because we follow them from their childhood to adulthood which was a new experience for me. But part of it is because it was a bit slow and there were some repetitions that could have been cut out to make this shorter. I mean the book was huge and it took me longer than usual to finish it, at the acknowledgment part the author mentions that it is 150,000+ words and it definitely could have been shorter. 🌟 The plot is weird but interesting, it is kind of confusing and you need to have patience when reading this book. I bet some readers will be frustrated by this and will DNF or it will affect their rating and that’s why I recommend reading this slowly and with concentration. I think at the end I was satisfied by the outcome. There are some things that could have been explained better but all in all I didn’t mind the mysterious parts! 🌟 Summary and Prescription: Middlegame may be the weirdest book I read up to this date and I mean that in a very good way! I think if you are into Sci-fi and fantasy then this will be a good book but you must have patience to get all the answers later in the book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    5 reality-bending stars! How in the world do I write this review? The person who just finished this is both the person who started and simultaneously someone new. (It’s a nod to the book and a nod to my feelings.) Middlegame is full of contradictions, belief, soul-forged truth, and an exploration on what we mean when we create myth. Writing: ★★★★★ Concept: ★★★★★ Pacing: ★★★★★ (It was only ★★ until I finished the book and reflected) Execution of themes: ★★★★★ Middlegame is a novel for those of us who a 5 reality-bending stars! How in the world do I write this review? The person who just finished this is both the person who started and simultaneously someone new. (It’s a nod to the book and a nod to my feelings.) Middlegame is full of contradictions, belief, soul-forged truth, and an exploration on what we mean when we create myth. Writing: ★★★★★ Concept: ★★★★★ Pacing: ★★★★★ (It was only ★★ until I finished the book and reflected) Execution of themes: ★★★★★ Middlegame is a novel for those of us who are looking for the spark of the Other that laces every page of Every Heart A Doorway. If you were not a fan of McGuire's novella series, I strongly feel like you will have similar issues with Middlegame, if not for the same reasons. Middlegame is frustrating, feverish, overtly cloudy, and mind-bending in the way that only Seanan McGuire can be. What do you get when splice time travel, parallel realities, chaos game theory, notions of what it means to be human, and a desire for the Other? Something frightening, unending, and heartrendingly beautiful. I spent the first third confused, the middle third learning, and the last third holding my breath. I almost wonder what kind of novel it would be if you read it backwards, chapter by chapter. I think the story would hold up. Roger and Dodger are twins formed, not made, and are separated at birth in order to fulfill their true purpose on Earth at the hands of their creator, a creation himself and the man intent on fulfilling alchemy's Doctrine of Ethos on Earth. They need to become one and to stay separate, to fulfill their purpose and to keep their purpose from fulfilling. We go into the plot with almost no information, and I think that is one of the novel's strengths so I'll leave it at that. Trust in Middlegame to show you its way, in its own time, and for its own reasons. The pacing of Middlegame can be described as a three-dimensional spiral, in the shape of a tornado. Imagine the spiral in your head—it starts out wide, with just one strand in the dark. It's slow. You don't have any frame of reference. Then on your second loop around, it's a bit tighter, and you can see the points of connection between your current place and where you've come before—as well as a vague sense of a slightly-more-tightened coil beneath you. You go faster as the loops get tighter, and your sense of place and knowledge of the world compounds with each loop faster, faster. By the end, you're rolling around the same spot over and over and over and it's almost like you've stopped traveling any distance and are just retracing the same fevered spin, learning and unlearning the same steps in place. I think that Middlegame might lose several readers on its first few revolutions of the spiral. The idea is big, and it is intentionally not well explained. If you can make it through the first few loops and start to see the patterns, I promise it's worth it. In characteristic Seanan McGuire fashion, it is enough and it is not enough. It is beautiful and it is ugly. It is love and it is pain, there and not there, too slow and too fast, complete and undone. I can't get enough of her mind's creations. I would say that this is her magnum opus, the thing that she will never surpass, and yet... I bet she will. ***** Original notes: The person who just finished this is both the person who started and simultaneously someone new. (It’s a nod to the book and a nod to my feelings.) Middlegame is full of contradictions, belief, soul-forged truth, and an exploration on what we mean when we create myth. Review to come!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Warda

    I now consider myself a Seanan McGuire fanatic thanks to her Wayward Children series. April, leave us already. May, come forth ASAP!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress.... Middlegame is the first book that I've read by Seanan McGuire and I finally understand what I've been missing out on all this time. Seanan McGuire is an amazing storyteller and Middlegame was a great read. I am so glad that I gave Middlegame a chance, because I had pretty low expectations and this book wound up being pretty great. Middlegame is a fantasy that focuses on a brother-sister relationship and even though it was You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress.... Middlegame is the first book that I've read by Seanan McGuire and I finally understand what I've been missing out on all this time. Seanan McGuire is an amazing storyteller and Middlegame was a great read. I am so glad that I gave Middlegame a chance, because I had pretty low expectations and this book wound up being pretty great. Middlegame is a fantasy that focuses on a brother-sister relationship and even though it was over 500 pages long I never got bored. This has never been about good and evil. This is about power. Who has it, who doesn't. Who knows how to use it. The idea behind the novel was pretty interesting. Two siblings were created to embody the knowledge of the world, one through math and the other though language. The author also incorporates a children's fantasy book into the world that is supposed to help guide the siblings to reach "The Impossible City". The constant comparison of the real world to a children's fantasy book was really interesting, but lead me to expect the beauty and rich fantasy of that story to be incorporated into the real world, but the book remained much more realistic and I was pretty disappointed in that aspect. "Someone made us. Someone made us, and then they separated us because we were dangerous when we were together." The book is told in third person omniscient narration, which was especially interesting during conversations because as a reader you get insight on both characters. The narration mainly focused on a few main characters, one of which is Reed, who is a mad scientist and the villain of this story. I hated reading the chapters that focused on him as they felt impersonal and there was only so much egotistical mad scientist narrative that I could take. These chapters disrupted the flow of the novel for me as they felt so clinical in comparison to the rest of the book that was otherwise so human and rich. I understand that Reed was supposed to be lacking in some emotions, but as a villain he fell kind of flat for me. In that moment, Roger is sure-- absolutely certain-- of two things: Dodger is real, and he wants her to be his friend. The relationship between Rodger and Dodger is what made this book shine. I loved watching their friendship grow throughout their lives and I absolutely adored these characters. I favored Dodger over Rodger as she looked at the world as a thing to manipulate to her favor. Dodger was more social and friendly, but Rodger was more interesting to me. As far as the characterization of these two siblings the book gets five stars from me, but there were many other areas that I found to be disappointing. She'd approached the issue of social interaction like it was another puzzle to be solved, another prize to be won. The pacing was a bit too slow, even in high action scenes. This book was lacking in tension and fell a bit emotionally flat. The main characters were amazing and the idea behind the book was interesting, but I feel like the plot needed more work. I didn't feel like the story was complete, even though it is a 500 page stand alone. I felt like it was 500 pages of character development and it needed more plot movement and better pacing. I did really enjoy it, but I felt like it missed the mark a little bit. After reading Middlegame I am really interested to check out some of Seanan McGuire's other books. Magic doesn't have to be flashy and huge. Sometimes it's the subtle things that are the most effective of all.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julie Zantopoulos

    I have NO idea how to rate this book. Did I enjoy it? Did I understand it? I have no clue. I mean, I think I loved it but I legit have no clue if I even comprehended some of it. It felt way longer than it needed to be but maybe...maybe that time was necessary. I just...what? I will come back to this with quotes and thoughts but-just not now. I am sitting between a 3&4 but I’m so conflicted...maybe it’s a 5. I just... Also, this book is super adult. Trigger warnings for murder, self-harm, suic I have NO idea how to rate this book. Did I enjoy it? Did I understand it? I have no clue. I mean, I think I loved it but I legit have no clue if I even comprehended some of it. It felt way longer than it needed to be but maybe...maybe that time was necessary. I just...what? I will come back to this with quotes and thoughts but-just not now. I am sitting between a 3&4 but I’m so conflicted...maybe it’s a 5. I just... Also, this book is super adult. Trigger warnings for murder, self-harm, suicide, mass murder, torture, ... like anything unspeakable and awful. So just...yeah Actual Review "His claws, draped in velvet and wrapped in affection, are sharp enough to slaughter the world." As I stated before, I adore the characters in this novel, they're compelling, complex, and all morally questionable but man they get to you. I seriously enjoyed every single character that we meet in this novel but the plot...well, it was intense. The overall story is about Roger and Dodger who were created to try and embody the Doctrine of Ethos, aka the power and secret of the Universe, able to bend reality to their will. Which means that things get space and time and reality...bendy. I'm not a fan of that in my stories as it just becomes really confusing for me. "He believes in exploiting the world for his own gains, but she'd happily ignite the entire thing, if only to roast marshmallows in its embers." Reed is the mastermind behind these experiments and his right hand is a less than stable Leigh. Leigh and Reed are lovers with a less than healthy relationship as Reed created Leigh, uses her as a ruthless assassin, and controls her actions. Then again, somebody has to. Their relationship dynamic is really compelling, hell, both of them are really compelling in their actions and motivations. They're not morally grey, they're straight up black, and I love and fear them both. "When she stops breathing, his heart will follow hers into the dark. He knows that as surely as he's ever known anything, as surely as he knows the difference between myth and miracle, between legend and lie." In this novel Dodger can master math and her brother Roger can master language. One is the Key and one is the Catalyst and man...does shit go down. Their relationship as brother and sister is one that just tugs at the heartstrings. They are raised away from one another and find one another through a bit of telepathy where they can speak in one another's minds and see through one another's eyes. When you take genius children who don't "friend" easily and give them somebody who understands them at such a deep level it's precious and amazing and also heartbreaking because these two are pawns in a much larger game and sometimes they move against one another instead of toward one another. "He left her falling for a long time, but when she really needed him, he was there to catch her. He caught her. He's catching her right now." Dodger does not cope well with being left behind, with not being loved, and this manifests itself in a lot of urges to self-harm. The instances of self-harm are graphic and difficult to read but Roger...oh my heart for Roger, as he loves her the only way he knows how even if it's flawed. The relationships in this novel, from Roger and Dodger, to Reed and Leigh...to Erin and everyone mentioned prior they're so complex and nuanced and they weave so well around one another. "Hand me your reins. Let me bind you to my service, be my children, let me love you, and I will let you live." If that's not the most Labyrinth-ish quotes ever...I don't know what is. Final thoughts: This is a great book. I know the rating may not actually reflect that but if you like books that bend time and space then you're going to love this book. I spent the majority of the novel unsure exactly what was happening, a bit confused about the ruling magic and world that Reed exists in and the fairytale story that his maker wrote (I seriously didn't like those sections in the story). However, as stated the characters are amazing and the overall story was one that I really did enjoy. This novel is a lot more reminiscent of her Mira Grant work and I'm excited to see her writing something darkly adult that is a standalone. I have a feeling people are going to really enjoy this one.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lilith Black

    Amazing, dark, terrifying and magic book! Don't have enough words to tell how much l love this one!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    5/5stars This. Was. AMAZING. This book was beautifully written, had so many of my absolute favorite tropes, had amazing characters, one of the most unique premises I've EVER read, and it all came together into this absolute MASTERPIECE of a novel. If you're reading this or are at all interested in this novel, PLEASE PICK IT UP!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Wolf

    Middlegame is weird and challenging, and I loved it. Let me start by stating that the synopsis doesn't feel very accurate to me. Yes, Roger and Dodger are twins... kind of. But I don't think the books itself refers to attaining godhood. So I'm glad I didn't read the synopsis very carefully before starting, because it might have created some bizarre expectations that definitely would have gone unfulfilled. In Middlegame, Dodger and Roger are creations, but they spend most of their lives not knowing Middlegame is weird and challenging, and I loved it. Let me start by stating that the synopsis doesn't feel very accurate to me. Yes, Roger and Dodger are twins... kind of. But I don't think the books itself refers to attaining godhood. So I'm glad I didn't read the synopsis very carefully before starting, because it might have created some bizarre expectations that definitely would have gone unfulfilled. In Middlegame, Dodger and Roger are creations, but they spend most of their lives not knowing this. They were created by a powerful alchemist, himself a creation of a powerful, game-changing alchemist, and they have a specific purpose in life -- to manifest the alchemical concept of the Doctrine of Ethos. Huh? Yup, that was my reaction... but the confusion is part of the experience of this book, and I was happy to just go with it. Roger and Dodger each have a gift -- language for Roger, math for Dodger. Raised on opposite sides of the country by adoptive parents, they discover a psychic connection as young children, and as they grow up, their bond develops, strengthens, and becomes powerful, dangerous, and more and more inexplicable. Meanwhile, Reed and his allies monitor the pair carefully, charting their progress toward manifestation, making sure to keep them apart when their progress threatens the greater goals of the project. It's all just so twisty and timey-wimey and mind-bending and GOOD. And as always, I love Seanan McGuire's writing. Does she have a bit of Roger's ability to create reality through her words? All signs point to yes. I won't go into a lot of detail, mainly because I just finished this long, complicated book and I'm still sifting through it all in my mind. There's a lot to puzzle through and unravel. So rather than digging further into plot threads, I'll share some lines and quotes that jumped out at me as I was reading: ...and she can no more conceive of failure than a butterfly can conceive of calculus. ------- You can't skip to the end of the story just because you're tired of being in the middle. ------- Everything is perfect. Everything is doomed. ------- Roger has never understood the math that calls to her, but he feels it now, thrumming in his veins like a promise of miracles to come. Dodger has never grasped the need to put a name to the things she knows to be true, but she understands it now, and accepts the names he throws her way gladly, transforming them through the alchemy of her observations before she throws them back to him. Here's one that makes my brain ache: She knows that, as surely as she knows that every second takes away more of her slim opportunity to escape becoming the future self of a girl she, as yet, never was. I really don't think there's much I can say or add that will do justice to the headlong rush of tragedy, violence, excitement, and true deep emotion that mixes together in Middlegame. So I'll just wrap by saying that this is an awesome adventure of a read, and I'm sure I'm going to want to read it again after my mind relaxes. Oh, and I love the fact that one of the super-powerful alchemists wrote a best-selling children's fantasy book series, full of magical quests along the lines of a Narnia/Fillory tale -- but that these stories really are code for alchemical inquiries into controlling the powers of the universe. Which made me wonder just a bit if there's more to, I don't know, Harry Potter? than meets the eye... Extra gold points for great use of San Francisco landmarks (Sutro Baths!)... and how can you not love a book that includes the phrase killer death alchemists as if it's a normal thing to say? Seanan McGuire fans, rest assured -- our beloved author strikes again, and it's fabulous. Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley Full review at Bookshelf Fantasies.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Elise (TheBookishActress)

    I'm living my life exclusively so I can get my hands on Seanan McGuire's new book which is apparently about twins?

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kelsea

    This book was MADE for me. It’s a Slytherclaw’s dream: alchemists, world domination, hyper-intelligent tragedy twins (one math genius + one word genius), murder, bloodthirstiness, cruelty, guarded characters, fanatical perfection and imperfection, loneliness, fire, and blood -- so much blood. Oh, and the writing is PERFECT. I wanted to be absorbed by the book. I’d happily live in Seanan McGuire’s prose, thank you. This is SFF that really lives up to the genre(s), because it’s scientific and it’s This book was MADE for me. It’s a Slytherclaw’s dream: alchemists, world domination, hyper-intelligent tragedy twins (one math genius + one word genius), murder, bloodthirstiness, cruelty, guarded characters, fanatical perfection and imperfection, loneliness, fire, and blood -- so much blood. Oh, and the writing is PERFECT. I wanted to be absorbed by the book. I’d happily live in Seanan McGuire’s prose, thank you. This is SFF that really lives up to the genre(s), because it’s scientific and it’s fantastical. It’s the perfect combination that I never knew I needed. The main story was delicious, fascinating, and full of tragedy. The interludes were confusing in a wonderful, mysterious way. The excerpts from “Over the Woodward Wall,” a book that exists in Middlegame, were fascinating. So fascinating that I wanted it to be a real book. (I was fortunate enough to attend Seanan McGuire’s Middlegame launch event and it *sounds* like it may actually be published as a book sometime next year? If so, I will be first in line to order a copy!) The thing with a story like this is that every word of it is so well-written, so precious, so tantalizing, that readers like myself hope for an ending to match. The ending that it does offer isn’t poorly written, but it’s not mind-blowing, and that was hard for me. I didn’t want to leave the world of Middlegame and I needed a phenomenal ending to make parting hurt a little less. Now, that’s not a fair ask. It’s not Seanan’s job to write me an ending with an epic scope. In fact, the ending she wrote fits the story well, especially if one considers the story structure (starts with Part I, then moves to Part VII, then Part II, etc.) and the title (Middlegame). The ending feels like just that. Moving toward a middle. I mention this not as a criticism, but more a note to other readers, since I think it would have helped if I had set my expectations accordingly, going in. Middlegame is a brilliant book -- perfect for anyone drawn to: evil geniuses, books with interesting formats, tantalizing prose, and books that grip you from start to finish and then refuse to leave your head, even after you’ve turned the last page. 4.5 stars!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    All the stars. Every single one.

  21. 4 out of 5

    ELLIAS (elliasreads)

    holy fuck, this sounds so weird and interesting, i need pls

  22. 4 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    I’m just never gonna stop obsessing over Seanan’s new releases 😍

  23. 5 out of 5

    ☕️Kimberly

    Fans of McGuire's Wayward Children series will love this darker tale that explores, twins, balance, chaos, order, the power of words, math, time, and alchemy. While the Wayward series had a young adult feel, this does not despite some whimsical imagery. The tale started out slowly for me even though the first chapter, Failure, grabbed me. But as we learned about Asphodel Baker, the Doctrines of Ethos, the Alchemical Congress and the creation of James Reed I found myself sucked down the rabbit ho Fans of McGuire's Wayward Children series will love this darker tale that explores, twins, balance, chaos, order, the power of words, math, time, and alchemy. While the Wayward series had a young adult feel, this does not despite some whimsical imagery. The tale started out slowly for me even though the first chapter, Failure, grabbed me. But as we learned about Asphodel Baker, the Doctrines of Ethos, the Alchemical Congress and the creation of James Reed I found myself sucked down the rabbit hole. Roger and Dodger are twins, born in a lab, and separated at birth. At age seven they make contact telepathically. The tale that unfolds was brilliant, ambitious and addictive. McGuire entertains with a complex tale and makes you ponder, dream and explore. I loved Roger and Dodger. While they aren't quite human, they haven't quite become. It was intense as Reed and his creepy sidekicks worked to keep these two separated until it was time for them to manifest. I loved the use of twins and the connection they share. Both are unique individuals. She is obsessed with math, he with the written word and languages. This is a story that one can read again and again, picking up different things each time. Be warned there are dark, sometimes grizzly moments. You will witness a murder and death. But, with darkness comes light. McGuire takes up her magic pen and brings the path to the Impossible City to life. Math and Words leapt from the page delighting me at every turn. Secondary characters become unexpected heroes and others like Leigh will long give you nightmares. Middlegame was brilliant, complex, simplistic and poignant. But those descriptions only scratched the surface of this brilliant novel. This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer

  24. 5 out of 5

    Holly (The Grimdragon)

    “Words can be whispered bullet-quick when no one’s looking, and words don’t leave blood or bruises behind. Words disappear without a trace. That’s what makes them so powerful. That’s what makes them so important. That’s what makes them hurt so much.” Seanan McGuire’s stories are like the Tardis. There is just so much within! More than you could ever imagine. Deceptively so. Being such a huge fan of McGuire’s, you would think I would learn my lesson and stop finding myself surprised after each book “Words can be whispered bullet-quick when no one’s looking, and words don’t leave blood or bruises behind. Words disappear without a trace. That’s what makes them so powerful. That’s what makes them so important. That’s what makes them hurt so much.” Seanan McGuire’s stories are like the Tardis. There is just so much within! More than you could ever imagine. Deceptively so. Being such a huge fan of McGuire’s, you would think I would learn my lesson and stop finding myself surprised after each book. Yet I can’t. Because she continuously ups the game. Just when I think I’ve read the best thing she has ever written.. she tops it. Just when it seems like this character is the most complex.. here comes Roger and Dodger. Just when this plot seems the most interesting, captivating, brutal.. OH HEY MIDDLEGAME!! Seanan McGuire is a glorious weaver of words and we are so incredibly lucky to have her talent out there for us all to absorb. This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019 and HOLY FORKING SHIRTBALLS!!! It completely blew me away. It felt like an extension of the Wayward Children universe, yet something entirely all it’s own and I AM HERE ALL DAMN DAY FOR IT!!! “Everything is perfect. Everything is doomed.” Middlegame is about two undeniably gifted children. Roger and Dodger. Roger Middleton is from Massachusetts. He adores reading, English class, words.. he loves language with everything that he has. He struggles with math, however (relatable af!) Dodger Cheswich lives in California. She’s a brilliant mathematician and idolizes Ian Malcolm. Numbers are her greatest passion. She has trouble with spelling and isn’t much into reading. “His genius and hers were never the same.” One day while Roger is working on a multiplication worksheet, he hears a voice from out of nowhere. A girls voice. Dodger. The two have a radical connection. One that appears impossible to explain. They begin to help each other out with their respective classes that they have difficulty in. Roger and Dodger are imaginary friends. Mental companions. Quantum entangled.. creations, if you will. They have the same eyes. They find out that they were both part of closed adoptions. They are identical, but not. Twins.. of sorts. Their lives intersect throughout the years, until they eventually meet at the Berkeley campus. James Reed is an alchemist. He was created by Asphodel Baker, the greatest alchemist of her time. He dresses like a Ray Bradbury character and is just as intriguing as one. Reed is the puppet master of this story. He controls many people as pawns in his game of chess. He also made the twins. I cannot begin to express just how much I fucking adored this book! I’m not exaggerating when I say that I felt every word within these pages. From the moment I opened it for the first time until long after having finished.. this story not only completely captured my imagination, but my whole entire soul. It bled into me, the way that Dodger bleeds into Roger. The most exquisite gut-punch. “The improbable road spools onward, and outward, and the journey continues from here.” Alternate timelines, manifestations, Hands of Glory, alchemy, Doctrine of Ethos and immortality and and and GODDAMN. McGuire provides a clinic in storytelling with Middlegame. This is her magnum opus (so far!) It’s magical.. truly magical. I could not love it more!! (Massive thanks to Tor.com Publishing for sending me a copy to gush & flail over!) **The quotes above were taken from an ARC & are subject to change upon publication**

  25. 4 out of 5

    The Artisan Geek

    4/5/19 MY REVIEW IS UP ON MY CHANNEL!! You can find it here: middlegame review 22/4/19 Best book that I have ever read in my life. If you know me and if you've read the book you'll know why hahah. Either way, my review will be up on my channel soon! :) 9/4/19 Well, as I am typing this, I am looking at the arc of this book on my DESK. I AM INTERNALLY SCREAMING!!!!! You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tucker

    Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story. Mood. Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math. Double Mood Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Mood (I wish) |blog|

  27. 4 out of 5

    Char

    I'm throwing in the towel at 40%. I like the story so far, I really do, but it's dragging. And I'm dragging my feet every time I have to pick it up again because of that. I feel like I've been reading forever and getting nowhere. I fully admit this is my fault, not the fault of the book. Perhaps I'll go back to it at another time. Maybe then I'll find it more of a fun thing than a chore, which is how it's supposed to be. Thank you to NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book. If I do go back to it, I I'm throwing in the towel at 40%. I like the story so far, I really do, but it's dragging. And I'm dragging my feet every time I have to pick it up again because of that. I feel like I've been reading forever and getting nowhere. I fully admit this is my fault, not the fault of the book. Perhaps I'll go back to it at another time. Maybe then I'll find it more of a fun thing than a chore, which is how it's supposed to be. Thank you to NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book. If I do go back to it, I will be sure to post a review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)

    This review can also be found on my blog! I received this ARC from Tor in exchange for an honest review! 4.5/5 CW: self-harm, suicide attempt, murder, gore, and death Y’all. Like, y’all. I cannot believe this book because I came into it with very little knowledge — it sounded interesting from what I’d heard and I knew that I’d probably love it because it’s Seanan McGuire — and I was not disappointed. While I went into this thinking that it was fantasy, it was definitely sci-fi. There’s alchemy and cre This review can also be found on my blog! I received this ARC from Tor in exchange for an honest review! 4.5/5 CW: self-harm, suicide attempt, murder, gore, and death Y’all. Like, y’all. I cannot believe this book because I came into it with very little knowledge — it sounded interesting from what I’d heard and I knew that I’d probably love it because it’s Seanan McGuire — and I was not disappointed. While I went into this thinking that it was fantasy, it was definitely sci-fi. There’s alchemy and creating people for scientific purposes. Twins yet not twins. (Aka, Roger and Dodger.) Separated from birth to see what might happen. Yet, they can contact each other remotely without even knowing how they’re doing it or their relationship. I loved how this book covered the breadth of their lives. It started from when they were children and kept following them into their late-twenties or early-thirties. And, throughout it, you get to see a peek of what is to come. It’s an incredibly impressive work. When I got my hands on this ARC, I wasn’t expecting the size. It’s around 530 pages, which is huge compared to the Wayward Children series that I’m familiar with. But, I’m so glad that I was finally able to see how McGuire writes a novel, not a novella. The main characters are incredibly compelling. I kept wanting things to go differently and that opening??? Damn. It starts with disaster at the end and then you’re left wondering how the hell you’re going to get there. Which only gets more confusing as the book unfolds and you find out more. But, let me backtrack a bit rather than just gush about how much I enjoyed this book. Roger is the twin that is gifted with language. And language isn’t just words. It stretches further than that and shows the full breadth of what language is, even though we don’t consider it so. Then, there’s Dodger. She’s the twin gifted with math. Numbers are everything to her, the only thing that matters… besides Roger. The book really starts out with their childhood and how they “meet”. Then we follow them as they grow up. At one point, there is a major suicide attempt and hints of self-harm, which gets remembered throughout the story. It wasn’t easy to read, but it was well-handled. Also in the book is the science-y stuff that helped make them. Personally, I found that side less compelling. I wasn’t that interested in what the “bad guys” were doing or anything like that. While I found it interesting to read and it added to the story, I just wasn’t that compelled by it. I wanted to know more about the relationships, not the numbers/science. Which is kind of why I took a half star off my total. I just didn’t feel the science side of the story was as well fleshed out as the characters were. There were some terms used that I vaguely understood — as in, I knew what McGuire was getting at, but I didn’t quite know what it meant at the same time — and even when I finished the book I wasn’t that sure. However, I never wanted to put this book down. I just wanted to keep reading it because I had to know what crazy things were going to happen next. Original review: WELP. I just need this book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Marie

    https://youtu.be/KjxMfSvV96w I knew with such certainty from 10 pages in, that this was my book. This book is everything to me. So many other 5 star reads completely pale in comparison. Is this the book for everyone? Gosh I hope so. I really do. Roger and Dodger deserve all your love. Why I loved this book: • Science Based High-Logic Fantasy • A sibling bond stronger than any romance • Stunning, puzzling and tricky prose • Enchanting and Quizzical concept • Mad scientists and their even madder associate https://youtu.be/KjxMfSvV96w I knew with such certainty from 10 pages in, that this was my book. This book is everything to me. So many other 5 star reads completely pale in comparison. Is this the book for everyone? Gosh I hope so. I really do. Roger and Dodger deserve all your love. Why I loved this book: • Science Based High-Logic Fantasy • A sibling bond stronger than any romance • Stunning, puzzling and tricky prose • Enchanting and Quizzical concept • Mad scientists and their even madder associates • The depth, the whimsy, The quantum-entanglement I became so enraptured by the final pages I missed my train stop and it will now take me another hour to get home. Do I care? No. Because the impossible city awaits me. Seanan McGuire: ‘The Impossible City isn’t far from here, and I can take you if you’d like to go. Just take my hand, close your eyes, and trust me. I know the way’.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mel (Epic Reading)

    Well... that was odd. It was nothing like any other Seanan McGuire or Mira Grant book I’ve ever read. And I love this lady’s writing. Maybe she needs another pseudonym (lol). Overall this is Blake Crouch meets Sci-Fi meets Re-telling (sort of) meets something I’ve never read before. RTC. I need to percolate a bit on this one... ———————————————————————————- ARC received!!! Thank your TOR/MacMillan and NetGalley! For those not aware we are asked by publishers to post reviews NO sooner than two week Well... that was odd. It was nothing like any other Seanan McGuire or Mira Grant book I’ve ever read. And I love this lady’s writing. Maybe she needs another pseudonym (lol). Overall this is Blake Crouch meets Sci-Fi meets Re-telling (sort of) meets something I’ve never read before. RTC. I need to percolate a bit on this one... ———————————————————————————- ARC received!!! Thank your TOR/MacMillan and NetGalley! For those not aware we are asked by publishers to post reviews NO sooner than two weeks prior to publication. I also personally find posting reviews months in advance of a release annoying. It creates false hype for the average reader and an annoying amount of time to wait. So I will be keeping to that requirement.

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