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Middlegame

Written by: Seanan McGuire
Narrated by: Amber Benson
Length: 17 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 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.

©2019 Seanan McGuire (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

What members say

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Full Metal Alchemist meets The Wizard of Oz

if you like any of the following, this story is for you:
- evil secret organizations, or villains who are motivated to "control the universe"
- seeing characters change over many years
- literary magical realism
- Harry Potter (minus the wands, but add in some English and math)
- black/white struggles between good and evil (with some gray characters thrown in)
- exposition to move the plot along, but don't mind character melodrama slowing it down
- similies.... many, MANY similies
- lovely, nuanced, let's-hear-teacher-read-a-story type of voice acting.

If even a couple of those tick the box for you, then I recommend giving this a listen. it's great fun, very accessible to young adults. The ending feels very rushed, and there is a lot of worldbuidling that seems pointless, if only to spur on fanfiction or pre/sequels. But it ends on a strong note and the writing is still solid, engaging.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The Improbable Story That's Impossibly Good

This book reawakened feelings of awe and wonder I haven't felt in a long time.

I can't wait for you to listen.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amy Ferrantino
  • 2019-05-22

Couldn't Finish

I was really excited about this book. I didn't read reviews or play the sample, I was that sure I would love it.
I love Seanan McGuire's work. "Every Heart A Doorway" may be in my top 10 Best Ever.
The story seems like it will be good and I will definitely pick up a copy of the book or e-book. I just couldn't get past the narrator. I appreciate an effort to make each character sound different, but this was over the top. It was the kind of voices you would use when reading to a child. And weird accent choices, too. A character from Cambridge, Mass sounded like he'd been hanging out on the Jersey Shore most of his life.
I can see how some people may like this style, but it wasn't for me. If you prefer a subtler narrator, avoid this book.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Eric Lance
  • 2019-05-15

Knocked it out of the park!

Simply amazing! I took a chance on this book and loved every minute. The story was excellent and the narration matched it. My only regret is that i finished it and don't have more to immediately jump into! Time for a second listen, I suppose.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • Woburn , MA, USA
  • 2019-08-18

Mixed

There was some fun in this novel. The narrator did some things very well. However, to my taste she went too over the top with the speech of the main villains. As for the story, I felt that the two main characters could have been a lot more plausible as math and linguistic geniuses—even a little bit of math (or chess) knowledge is going to have you wincing here and there. Despite this, I found these characters appealing enough to persist.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Luisa
  • Brasilia, Brazil
  • 2019-05-18

Beautiful Sci-fi fairy tale

I'm a fan of the writer, and this is up there with her very best work. So unique and lovely, so enthralling. Not for you if you need every single thing to make sense, this book will take you down the improbable road to the impossible city, and if you go with child-like wonder, you will not be sorry.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • HappyMom
  • Pueblo, CO
  • 2019-06-17

Mind melting goodness

20 minutes in I was ready to turn it off and sigh for the loss of a credit. I persevered because I'm a huge fan of Seanan McGuire's other books and really wanted to give this a chance. I'm so GLAD I kept listening.
The story is complex and tightly woven. This isn't brain candy...you must pay attention to the details. No zoning out and hoping to jump back in at any point and be able to follow along. There were a couple times I thought it might actually be better on paper due to the complexity of the story and the large number of quotes the author utilized. However once you get used to the format it's easy to get.
The story is unique and interesting, the characters are real and flawed and perfect.
I was hesitant of Amber Benson as narrator...I love her, but I was worried I would only hear Tara (her Buffy the Vampire Slayer role.) I needn't have worried, she narrates this story beautifully, her characters all have strong easily differentiated voices and agree captured all the emotions and nuances flawlessly. I am hugely impressed with her range!
This wasn't quite a 5 star story for me only because I love the authors other works so much and this story didn't quite hit their level of awesome...but came very close!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jack Q. W. Cantwell
  • 2019-09-19

Good story, only okay narration

I enjoyed this book, especially Roger and Dodger. The narrator was at her best doing their voices and thoughts, and at her worst doing the antagonists, Reed and Lee, who are one dimensional in any case. It's not McGuire's best, but it was enjoyable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • gk
  • 2019-08-05

Mediocore at best

The story is uninteresting. The character development is weak. The use of match and equations in most places is just absurd.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • debra
  • 2019-07-13

not my favorite seaman McGuire book.

I loved the Cryptic books, This was my first book outside that series.
I will give her another shot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Sandy M
  • Nebraska, United States
  • 2019-06-15

Wow, My Head Hurts

I’m in about an hour and a half, and taking a break.
Will try again tomorrow by slowing down the narration. Hopefully that will help.

*** Didn't help slowing down narration. Can not finish

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dee M.
  • 2019-05-17

It's almost perfect...

I enjoyed this book at least as much as any of Maguire's other books, if not more. And that is saying something as she is my favorite author.

However, Amber Benson was a terrible choice for narrator. She is a marginally passable actress and acting is an important skill for a narrator. Some of her voice characterizations were annoying, bordering on ridiculous.

Sometimes good books are re-recorded with different narrators. Maybe this one will be.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful