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.Middlegame

www.miragrant.com , author of Feed and Deadline.Born and raised in Northern California, I fear weather and am remarkably laid back about rattlesnakes I watch too many horror movies, read too many comic books, and share my house with two monsters in feline form, Lilly and Alice Siamese and Maine Coon.I do not check this inbox Please don t send me messages through Goodreads they won t be answered I don t want to have to delete this account.

[Reading] ➶ Middlegame By Seanan McGuire – E17streets4all.co.uk
  • Kindle Edition
  • 528 pages
  • Middlegame
  • Seanan McGuire
  • English
  • 17 November 2018

10 thoughts on “Middlegame

  1. says:

    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 Roger and Dodger fight against their destiny, they only draw it 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, 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 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 wishlist blog twitter tumblr

  2. says:

    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 actuallywhat even subgenre does this fall into I ever readso 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 otherworldlybut 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. says:

    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. says:

    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. says:

    My mind has melted 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 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. says:

    OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG Im not the most religious person but I think I m about to worship the intelligence, evil genius writing skills and visionary creation capabilities of this author I want to read everything the author writes I want to buy us best friends forever bracelets and be the most devoted, batshit crazy fan If you want to completely understand why i gave five stars this book I m also wearing t shirt printed Seanan McGuire is the best like a die hard fan but don t worry I already ordered it after I read Wayward Children series This book only reminded emphasized me of how much I loved the author s works My last 30 hours dialogues or monologues because I mostly made blubbering sounds First 2 hours My bestie Ashley Hey, are you breathing You have been frozen at the same position for two hours You okay I flipped a pageBestie Jesus Christ She moved She s alive 5 hours laterMy husband talking behind gritted teeth Hon, you burned our dinner Me Hmmm My husband It took two hours the firefighters clean the mess Me Hmmm I flipped a page My husband Production company called, you re 30 pages behind your script Me Hmmm I flipped another page My husband And we re out of Chardonnay I dropped my kindle and began screaming.Me NOOOOOOO 20 hours laterOther bestie Dolly on the phone So i m getting a divorce Leaving the country Me Hummmm I flipped another page Dolly You started reading again, right Me Arrrrrggghhhh I flipped another page Dolly You stopped to go to your EBRA Extreme Book Readers Anonymous meetings Oh no, stop it, you have one mouth chip One moment without books didn t kill you You can do it again You re strong enough Just drop the book down, nice and slow I ended the call and flipped another page 30 hours laterHusband dearest Hon, you didn t eat, you forgot to sleep Neighbors called me to complaint about the smell I think it s coming from you So I have to do something about it He poured out a bucket of ice water on me and wiped my kindle and kept reading I flipped another page and I started to cry because the book is ended Summary If you like gory, harsh, terrifying but also mind blowing, head hurting and entertaining, sci fi stories, you re gonna love this book as much as I did

  7. says:

    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 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 DJames 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

  8. says:

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

  9. says:

    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 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

  10. says:

    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 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.

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