Middlegame Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
A Locus Award Finalist!
This program is read by Amber Benson.
New York Times best-selling and Alex, Nebula, and Hugo-Award-winning author Seanan McGuire introduces listeners to a world of amoral alchemy, shadowy organizations, and impossible cities in the stand-alone 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 realize 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.
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|Listening Length||17 hours and 30 minutes|
|Audible.com Release Date||May 07, 2019|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #12,770 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#165 in Contemporary Fantasy
#467 in Adventure Science Fiction
#483 in Action & Adventure Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2020
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Top reviews from the United States
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I hated reading it and I could not put it down.
I don’t think I liked the book and yet it is so wonderfully written, so new in its concepts, so much more than the same old same old we keep seeing in this genre it deserves acclaim. Four stars because, really, I am pretty sure I actually disliked the book and wish it weren’t in my brain but I have to acknowledge the quality of the writing.
I will admit I was a little hesitant about this one at first. I'm a huge October Daye fan, crazy for Incryptid and in love with the Wayward Children books, but this wasn't tied to any of those settings, and I had this irrational fear that I might be disappointed. Oh me of little faith...
Middlegame is a complex tale, and it's more than a little creepy. Roger and Dodger are amazing characters, and amazingly normal, even as weird things begin to happen. The villains are monsters, literally and figuratively, and Erin, well she's probably the most complex character of all. She's at times funny, at times melancholy and always, always scary, and in the end, I wept for her.
Middlegame is one of those stories I will be reading again and again, and I highly reccomend it.
This book is a mind-bending, time-shifting, paradox-handling fairy tale off-the-rails of a ride. When you are fairly sure you know where the story is going, McGuire twists the knife, does indeed wring the chambers of your heart dry, only to fill you with hope the next.
Don't hesitate, don't be dissuaded - this story may break your heart, but it will lift it, too.
I am also very glad that the author had the major trigger warnings on her twitter- if you're concerned I would google it, I don't want to say anything specific here, but I personally was glad to have some warning about some of the heavier subject matter going in.
“They were supposed to grow up with their hands in each other’s pockets, compensating for one another’s weaknesses, encouraging one another’s strengths.”
Roger and Dodger are twins separated at birth and sent to live with families at opposite sides of the country. They are not even close to normal children. They were designed in a lab put together with mercury and gold and other odds and ends lying around. They are two halves of a whole one the embodiment of language and the other math. Together they are perfect, but set to grow up apart they are flawed. They are experiments and they will have so many trials throughout their lives to make them into the people they need to be to bring some fabled doctrine to life.
“Words can be whispered bullet-quick when no one's looking, and words don't leave blood or bruises behind. Words disappear without a trace. That's what makes them so powerful. That's what makes them so important.
That's what makes them hurt so much.”
Roger is all words, he knows the meaning of so many of them, they are his friends and with them he will be able to do almost anything, when he figures out what he is. He started talking to Dodger in his head at nine and they have fallen in and out of each other’s heads throughout their childhood. They are linked in so many ways and while it takes awhile for them to figure out just how connected they are the journey they take is full of wonder and things that could be.
“Numbers are simple, obedient things, as long as you understand the rules they live by. Words are trickier. They twist and bite and require too much attention. He has to think to change the world. His sister just does it.”
Dodger was a favorite character of mine. She is so focused on the math, the numbers and the way they make the universe. She really was the least adjusted of the two siblings since words explain things to people in a way they understand while math just confuses most. But I love her interactions with the world and the way she can break things down sometimes into just facts without the emotional baggage.
They have a slew of people trying to keep them separated, more that are working to make them bring this magic world into being and only a few that will be on their side when the time comes. There are dangerous people who might just take them out of the game completely to give someone else a shot.
This story is strange and magical and different. It has fantastic ideas and metaphors throughout and I was so drawn into the language and the relationship of these kids as they grew into their adult selves and figured out how to travel an improbable road.
Top reviews from other countries
This is a marvellous book. In the acknowledgements, McGuire says that she has had the book in mind for a long time, but waited until now because she didn't have the skill to write it earlier. She certainly has the skill to write it now.
Set in modern day America, yet with a lyrical, fantastical feel, constructed children who are nevertheless very real, weird happenings that slowly begin to make sense, contradictory foreshadowings that heighten the tension, real tragedy and heartbreak, and a stunning finale that is a perfect resolution, yet leaves you wanting more: this is a masterpiece.
Separated at birth, twins Roger and Dodger are adopted out on different sides of the US, one a maths prodigy and the other a whizz with languages, neither knowing they have a sibling out there. It's only when they begin to communicate, a process which is not smooth sailing in more ways than one, they start to uncover the truth about their own origins and also about what they can do. They're tied together, whether they like it or not, with almost-fatal repercussions on at least one occasion.
Add into that the attentions of the man who set up the breeding programme in the first place, frustrated that they might be coming to terms with their powers when he has a much more malleable alternative pair back home on the ranch, and the twins are heading into a world of trouble. There's also an element of time travel involved, all of which would have potentially been an unholy mess in the hands of a less competent and experienced author.
Well worth a read if you're looking for something in the SFF genre you haven't quite seen before, as well as if you're in search of a novel that isn't part of a trilogy. Those have their place but sometimes you just want one and done. If that's the case, Middlegame might work for you too.
Plodding would be a good description.
There’s no attempt to explain how the alchemy practised in the novel sits alongside our world and much of the explanations of what is going on feels like spur of the moment gibberish from the author rather than a thought out set of rules.
Characters are bland and uninteresting except for Erin and the bad guys are one dimensional moustache twirling constructs.
It has a lot of similarities to Feed in the way it's laid out and she knows how to craft a brother and sister story that makes you care about the characters.
Unlike feed though there are no zombies or politics here. This is about magic grounded in the real world. Any more than that is spoiler territory. I really really enjoyed this though! Also enjoyed the moment when I realised what the cover picture was!