Middlegame is the kind of all-encompassing fantasy novel that draws you in from the start, filling your senses with magic and haunting visuals. It’s dark fantasy to the core, giving us a set of characters whose evil purposes mesmerize. This world of alchemy doesn’t waste time on the pretty bits of magic, focusing instead on reanimation and the transference of powers in order to power a world-dominating organization.
The story operates in the same vein as Good Omens, introducing us to two characters who have the fate of the world in their hands and don’t know it. As children, they have a spooky dynamic, with each providing balance to the other. The third protagonist is a terrifying creation who won’t stop until he controls the world, complete with a sidekick straight out of your nightmares. Their twisted web of a story is wickedly entertaining.
I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll stop here. In general, it’s a fascinating read that needs as little prior knowledge as possible, in my opinion. Go into it knowing it’s a wild ride and at the end, you’ll be amazed at the scope of such a well-drawn world of wonders and horrors alike.
By Seanan McGuire
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.