I received this book for free from Tor.com in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
Published by Tor.com on May 7th, 2019
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
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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. 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 want to preface this review by stating that I love Roger and Dodger so much. I would DIE for these kids. Months ago, when Middlegame had just come out, I saw someone describe this as a story about two superheroes who screw up a whole lot (paraphrased because I don’t remember who said this or even what platform I came across this description on.) That description is absolutely perfect for this boo. Even though there is a LOT of stuff-bigger than both the MCs- going on, at its heart, Middlegame is 1000% a coming of age story. It follows these kids from childhood well into adulthood as the navigate all the pains of growing up.
My love for the main characters unfortunately did not help the plot or the world this book is set in, make sense. It also didn’t make the book 200 pages shorter. I finished Middlegame happy and satisfied but discussing it with friends made me realize I didn’t know half of the things that were happening. I could not tell you what the impossible city was or what the improbable road is even though the existence of these kiddos is tied directly to those things. The vagueness felt intentional at times but the degree of it didn’t really work for me and took away from my enjoyment of the story.
The book is also, simply put, too long. A weird thing to say given that I enjoyed almost every minute I spent reading this book but so many things felt unnecessary. As much as I enjoyed being able to dwell in the characters’ journeys through time and space, some plot points felt unnecessary?
I don’t know if anyone else would have the same issues I did because so many people seemed to have loved the book. Maybe I was just not smart enough to appreciate the geniusness of this world but I definitely appreciated the amount of work Seanan McGuire put into developing Roger and Dodger and characters. I also appreciated the secondary characters we caught glimpses of throughout the story (Erin in particular.) The villains on the other hand??? I didn’t think they were truly developed because I never understood their intentions for anything they were doing, except to be the BAD guys.
Generally speaking though, if you are a fan of character driven books, Middlegame will absolutely be your thing. While I did struggle with world building aspects, I could also appreciate weird time stuff that was going on and the general unreliability of time itself within this book. I am actually kind of sad this is a standalone because I love Roger and Dodger so much and wish I had more time with them.
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