New York Times bestselling and Alex, Nebula, and Hugo-Award-winning author Seanan McGuire introduces readers to a world of amoral alchemy, shadowy organizations, and impossible cities in the standalone fantasy, Middlegame.
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.
Genre: Fantasy / Fiction
Author: Seanan McGuire
Hardcover, 528 pages
Expected publication: May 7th, 2019
Publishing House: Tor.com
“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!
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.
I received a digital copy of this novel from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.
All opinions are my own. Thank you.