Middlegame – Seanan McGuire

three stars black
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Tor
Pages: 528
Release Date: May 7, 2019

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 was not for me. It is too long, confusing, and frustrating. The lack of explanations and any real action left me lukewarm about everything in this novel.

McGuire’s writing is beautiful. Her prose flows lyrically from sentence to sentence as she weaves her story together. Unfortunately, that story is poorly explained. McGuire purposely leaves the reader in the dark for most of the novel. It isn’t until the end where things start to make a little sense. This left me incredibly frustrated and unsatisfied.

Middlegame is a slow paced novel. The focus is on the characters, their connection, and what it means for the future of the world. So, the reader is left with a lot of the novel being filled with mundane conversations and everyday activities that are not directly related to the plot as the story jumps around years into the future.

The main characters, Roger and Dodger, are interesting, but they’re the only characters that are fleshed out. All the secondary and tertiary characters are white noise that I eventually ignored almost entirely.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy Middlegame nearly as much as I thought I would. My issues with the novel boil down to the poor execution of an interesting idea.

Have you read Middlegame? What did you think?

9 thoughts on “Middlegame – Seanan McGuire

  1. Sorry you didn’t enjoy this! I loved it, but I didn’t mind the slow build up. But you’re right, it was definitely confusing in the beginning.

  2. Hope your next read is better Nadine! I’ve seen some glowing reviews for this, but I had a lot of the concerns you mentioned. The one book I read by her, the characters seemed a little flimsy, but there was enough action/horror I didn’t mind too much. In a slow story, I feel like all the characters should be pretty well fleshed out.

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