I should not be surprised at all that I loved Middlegame by Seanan McGuire. The last few books I’ve read by McGuire have been such hit runs and Middlegame is an epic story of siblings, sacrifice, and ethical dilemmas.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: self harm, suicide attempt
Middlegame is an epic story about the pursuit of knowledge and what those with power are willing to do to achieve this. But even more than that, it’s a story about siblings, rewritten time, and believing we have power. It took everything I adored about the Wayward Children, magnified it, further deepened it, and delivered it all to me. Beginning at the end, Middlegame quickly captivated me. If you see the end, you crave the beginning.
Middlegame embraces all these different tendrils of the children growing up, the conditions of their birth, and the possibilities of their future. It deals with medical experimentation, alchemy, and breaking the rules to reach heights you never knew existed. Throughout the book your heart will ache, shed tears, and believe in tender possibilities.
In a world that is trying to see Rodger and Dodger only for what they can do, you fall in love with who they are. The way it’s hard for Dodger to be a girl math genius, how easily things have come to Rodger. Within the course of the book, my loyalties were constantly shifting from Dodger, to Erin, to the pair of them. The truly excellent writing style of McGuire narrates multiple perspectives, giving us a rare treat where we are able to make sense of the grand schemes of the world before our main characters themselves. In this epic book, this is really a treat.
While you may come for the delightfully dark writing or the fantastic premise, you will be moved by the main characters. Once I started this book, I couldn’t stop reading. The story pulls you in without asking questions, making you wonder how their story will play out. And yet at the end of Middlegame the theme that touched me the most was their quest for agency, to fight their purpose, and to stop believing in conventions.