Imaginative and insanely readable, Seanan McGuire has become one of those authors who I now pick up whenever I need a little reading pick-me-up, and she hasn’t let me down yet.
In Middlegame we meet Roger and Dodger, twins created by an alchemist bent on distilling The Doctrine (essentially what makes the world go round) into human form and making him the most powerful alchemist in the world. Roger and Dodger aren’t his first set of twins on this rodeo, but they are the most promising – Roger has the power of words at his fingertips, while Dodger’s understanding of maths could change the world.
Having previously experimented with other children, Reed (the alchemist) decides that this time around Roger and Dodger should be separated and raised by different families, but their bond is strong enough that they can see (and hear) through the other’s eyes, leading them to come together again, and again, and again…no matter how many times the world is re-set around them.
While this was a different book to what I was expecting, I enjoyed how this world worked – and was even able to pretend that I understood maths at some points. On the downside, there were some parts which I found a little confusing and I sometimes struggles to keep what had happened in each timeline straight in my head. I also found that while Dodger’s powers were pretty well described, Roger’s were a little more wishy-washy, having not been explored in the way Dodger’s were. And while the book feels imbued with sadness and loss, due to the re-setting I didn’t always feel like the stakes were particularly high.
Minor quibbles aside though, this book was a good enough read to help restore some of my lost reading mojo.