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Middlegame
Cover of Middlegame
Middlegame

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.


Named as one of Paste Magazine's 30 Best Fanatsy Novels of the Decade!

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

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.


Named as one of Paste Magazine's 30 Best Fanatsy Novels of the Decade!

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

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About the Author-
  • SEANAN McGUIRE is the author of the October Daye urban fantasy series, the InCryptid series, and other works. She also writes darker fiction as Mira Grant.

    Seanan lives in Seattle with her cats, a vast collection of creepy dolls and horror movies, and sufficient books to qualify her as a fire hazard.

    She was the winner of the 2010 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and in 2013 she became the first person ever to appear five times on the same Hugo ballot.

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2019
    The product of a long-running alchemical experiment, twins Roger and Dodger struggle to understand their unique circumstances and gain control over them.In the late 19th century, ambitious young alchemist Asphodel Baker tried to rewrite reality to create a better world. She set in motion a long-range plan to incarnate the alchemical Doctrine of Ethos, encoding her scheme in a series of children's books destined to become classics. In the present day, the considerably more ruthless James Reed, who is her creation and her killer, breeds twins designed to each incarnate half of the Doctrine; once they have fully matured, united, and manifested as "the living force that holds the universe together," he will seize their power to control everything. Failed experiments are terminated. Roger Middleton, brilliant with languages, develops a strange telepathic connection with Dodger Cheswich, a math genius living across the country from him. Despite all of Reed's brutal and covert efforts to keep the pair apart so their abilities will flower fully, they cannot help re-encountering each other and then separating in the wake of tragedy. Their attempts to avoid becoming one of Reed's failures force them to draw upon their more arcane powers: Roger can persuade people--and reality itself--to bend to his wishes, while Dodger can actually reverse time back to a certain fixed point. With the help of Erin, the living incarnation of Order, they must craft the timeline that allows them to survive long enough to realize their potential. Books that include magic range across a spectrum that puts rules-based, logical magic on one end and serendipitous magic with no obvious cause or structure on the other. This book falls intriguingly far on the logic end; with its experiments and protocols, it redefines what is typically meant by science fantasy. If there's a flaw in McGuire's (That Ain't Witchcraft, 2019, etc.) gripping story, it's that it isn't clear how Reed could really gain complete control over the Doctrine long term, nor why Reed's followers actually believe that he would cede any of the Doctrine's power were he to gain it.Satisfying on all levels of the reading experience: thrilling, emotionally resonant, and cerebral. Escape to Witch Mountain for grown-ups.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 1, 2019
    McGuire (the Wayward Children series) puts a genuinely innovative spin on the magical child horror novel in this mesmerizing story of two gifted, telepathic children and the unsettling source of their powers. Massachusetts seven-year-old Roger Middleton is struggling with his multiplication worksheet when a girl’s voice pops into his head and gives him the answers. Dodger Cheswich, his mental correspondent, lives in California, and Roger is soon able to reciprocate her assistance when she shares that her academic struggles are with reading and spelling. Roger has an intuitive connection with words that’s as strong as Dodger’s with numbers. As their relationship develops, the two remain unaware that they are pawns in a larger game initiated by James Reed, the son of Victorian alchemist Asphodel Baker; Reed and Baker aspire to create human incarnations of Pythagoras’s Doctrine of Ethos, which concerns humanity’s ability to command nature. As Roger and Dodger grow up and explore their more terrifying abilities, their investigation into their origins puts them in danger. Heightening the tension is a prologue set “five minutes too late” and “thirty seconds from the end of the world,” in which Dodger is bleeding to death as Roger takes desperate measures to save her. Shifts and alterations in timelines demand close attention from readers, but McGuire’s rigorous plotting pulls everything together by the end. This is a fascinating novel by an author of consummate skill.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from April 1, 2019

    James Reed is on a mission, like the alchemist who created him: embody the Doctrine of Ethos in two people created for that reason, control them, and thus gain authority over everything. Roger Middleton and Dodger Cheswich are twins separated at birth. Roger has a flair for language, with words showing him how the world works. Dodger lives for numbers: mathematics are what she sees, studies, and understands. As the two meet at different points through their young lives, they begin to unravel the mysteries of their origins and the power they were created to wield. Monitored by Reed and his ruthless, deadly assistant Leigh, Roger and Dodger are on the journey of their lives, breaking down time and space to numbers and words. While in a different vein than her "October Daye" or "InCryptid" series, McGuire's strong narrative voice and vivid worldbuilding persist, as does a kind of magical understanding of a child's power and vulnerability. VERDICT McGuire sets a high bar for alchemy-based stories in this new stand-alone, twisting themes of time and space as seen through the eyes of children. Note that some painful scenes feature self-harm and violence. Overall this singular work keeps readers thinking long after the final page.--Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from May 1, 2019

    This epic sci-fi adventure will grab fans of Doctor Who and Blade Runner. Twins Roger and Dodger were genetically manufactured in a lab so that their psychotic creator, Reed, who is also genetically manufactured, could unlock godlike powers. The twins are separated and raised on opposite ends of the country. Despite the distance, they are linked and nothing will stop them from connecting with each other. The plot is intricate yet fast paced, with classic sci-fi elements such as genetic engineering, psychic links, alternate dimensions, and time loops. The book follows the protagonists through elementary to graduate school, and teens will readily identify with the characters' thoughts and actions. VERDICT An excellent recommendation for those who enjoyed Lev Grossman's The Magicians and Lauren Oliver's Replica.-Melanie Leivers, Palm Beach Country Library System, FL

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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