*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of NETGALLEY arc Middlegame by Seanan McGuire #Brainfluffbookreview #Middlegamebookreview

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I was intrigued by the Hand of Glory featured on the cover and I also liked the premise, so requested this one and was delighted when I was approved.

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.

And that’s the blurb. Reed is definitely the villain you love to hate – he is completely amoral and fully focused on attaining the highest power that all alchemists are seeking. He has created several sets of twins, who are designed to perfectly complement each other’s strengths. Some are brought up together in the laboratory where they were created, while others are split and brought up separately until they grow into their powers. Roger and Dodger fall into the second tranche.

However, they manage to find each other, even though they are both very young and living hundreds of miles apart. Once their connection is discovered, they are split up again – causing anger and trauma to both… Initially, the viewpoint jumps around a bit as McGuire establishes the stakes and demonstrates just what the hapless twins are up against. But once the action centres on Roger and Dodger and we follow their highs and lows as they grow up, I was pulled into the story and became engrossed in the unfolding action.

I liked both of them – Dodger is the more sensitive and brittle personality, who grows up holding people at arm’s length, while Roger is more comfortable in his own skin. I enjoyed watching their development – and the various twists as first they are separated and then get together.
Meanwhile Reed is always lurking in the background, monitoring their progress and comparing it with his other experiments… And yes, the Hand of Glory features throughout the book. Because we get to know the characters well, I really cared and found this one difficult to put down once it hit its stride. I’m not sure that opening section is necessary as I found it distracting while waiting for that particular shoe to drop, which I think interfered with my enjoyment somewhat.

However, the climax was suitably convincing and brought this epic story to a strong conclusion – although there is potential for another book in this world. While I obtained an arc of Middlegame from the author via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.
8/10

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14 responses »

  1. Ah, nothing promises evil hijinks like twins–I should know! 🙂 But this does sound like a fascinating premise, and that cover! I almost wish the hand were partially melted…

    • She’s very good – I look forward to hearing what you think of her writing when you get to one of her books, Anne – but those teetering TBRs… they are a problem!!

  2. Great review! I had a mixed reaction overall to this book, but I definitely agree about Reed being a villain you’ll love to hate. The beginning was an issue for me too. I agree that some of it felt distracting.

    • Thank you, Suzanne. It’s always a risk, I think, when you take a dramatic situation from the middle of the timeline and choose to highlight it – I know the CSI franchise does it regularly to great effect on TV, but my grizzle is that the timeline is fractured anyway, so this just added an extra layer of distraction. And while it was very gory, I didn’t know any of the characters at the time, so as I did get to know them, I found I was dreading the moment when we got to THAT scene… It certainly skewed my reading experience.

  3. I’m on the fence with this one – I saw it available for request but something about it just didn’t appeal to me and I don’t know why because I do really like this author. Again, I might pick it up in the future when get things under control (if!).
    Lynn 😀

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