Book Review: Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

ByFireAbove_hc.inddMiddlegame by Seanan McGuire is an adult fantasy novel about alchemy, language, math, and family. The story follows Roger and Dodger who were created by Reed to embody the Doctrine of Ethos which would allow someone to control how the world works. Adopted by different families Roger is all languages and works while Dodger is math and logic. When they connect as children talking to each other in their minds they know something is different about them and that it could be dangerous.

The story takes the reader brought different points of Roger and Dodgers life as they try to figure out why and how they are connected and how they can change plans made for them.

If you are interested in reading Middlegame I would recommend being familiar the fantasy genre as this does turn some fantasy tropes on its head. Also their is some dark material in this book primarily related to attempted suicide and the aftermath.

Middlegame is not an easy book or story to explain but it’s beautifully written and one of Seanan McGuire’s bests works. It’s one of my favorite book that I’ve read this year and I read it at the exact right time.

 

 

 

 

Rolling in the Deep and Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant Review

Mira Grant aka Seanan McGuire is one of my favorite authors and these books are no exception. Under Mira Grant, McGuire writes Science Fiction and Science Fiction Horror novels which if your a fan of Michael Crichton I feel like you will love.

23634011Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant is a novella about a research vessel going to the Mariana Trench to find Mermaids. Commissioned by the Imagine Network (which feels to me like if you combined the Discovery Channel fake documentaries with Asylum the creators of Sharknado),  the scientist think that the company sponsoring the trip is just going to film a mockumentary but they end up finding real mermaids who are not kind or beautiful. This book is technically a prequel to Into the Drowning Deep but it works as a stand alone. However, if you want to have no information about what the mermaids are like and the twist at the end of In to the Drowning Deep read the full length novel first. I didn’t know about the novella when I first read the novel so they work in either order. I didn’t connect to the characters as much due to how short the book is but what is there is great. It made me want more from this world and story.

34523174Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant is a science fiction horror novel about a research ship going out to the Mariana Trench to find mermaids and what happened to the ship, the Atargatis, that went out seven years previously. This is a reread for me and I loved it just as much as the first time I read it. The characters are amazing and complex from the woman who convinced Image that mermaids existed, the sister of one of the missing from the previous expedition, two big game hunters and many others. The wonderful thing about McGuire’s stories is she adds diverse characters in a way that is natural, they are diverse because our world is, this includes deaf sisters and a journalist who is both a lesbian and autistic.

The best way I can describe it is the book is everything I didn’t know I wanted out of murderous mermaids. These are not the pretty ladies of the sea but monsters from the deep that humanity has long feared. The character that you dislike or hate have a reason to be there and get what they deserve and those that you love must survive horrible circumstances to make one of the biggest discoveries of the world. The ending is left open ended enough for a possible squeal but doesn’t leaving anything hanging. I absolutely love these books and hope that a squeal will happen. 

Parasite (Parasitology #1) by Mira Grant

13641105Parasite is the first book in the Parasitology trilogy by Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire). In the year 2027 humanity no longer deals with sickness and disease due the genetically engineered tapeworms created by SymboGen that everyone now carries. The story primarily follows Sally Mitchel who nearly died six years ago but was saved by the SymboGen tape worm. However, things are starting to go wrong with the tape worms and people are not acting like they should so Sally must figure out what is going on and her new place in the world.

The story starts out very interesting seeing how the world is different from today. As I don’t think there would very be anything that would convince me to carry a tapeworm. Sal, as Sally prefers, doesn’t remember anything from before that accident that nearly killed her so she is being treated as a medical miracle even years later. It’s clear that while she understand everyone want to find out how she survived and what happened she hates being treated like a child. As a sleeping sickness starts affecting people everywhere Sal and her boyfriend start uncovering secrets that will change everything and that puts them in grave danger.

Though I’ve loved many of Seanan McGuire’s other works there is an important plot twist about halfway through the book that completely lost me. Given that the science seems very sound in the rest of the book this twist seemed to come out of left field and didn’t flow with the rest of the story. Seanan McGuire’s endings though, especially in her science fiction horror books, feel like a gut punch or that didn’t just happen, did it?  Its nothing that I ever expect and it always causes me to want to read more.

If you have any anxiety or fears based around medical events or parasites/bugs I would consider not reading this series.  I absolutely loved the NewsFlesh series and have loved many of Seanan McGuire’s other work so I was expecting to love this book. Though I didn’t enjoy it as much as I was hoping with the ending I do plan on continuing the series but I don’t think I will have that high of expectations for the rest of the series.

Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_3_and_a_half_stars

Wayward Children Series(#1-3)

The Wayward Children’s series by Seanan McGuire follows kids and teenagers who have traveled into fantasy worlds, have returned home and how they cope or not cope with being brought back to a world that is now not really home.

25526296Every Heart a Doorway follows Nancy a new student at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children who traveled to the Halls of the Dead, is now back home and her parents want her to be the way she was before she left. Shortly after Nancy arrives at the school another student is murdered and the plot revolves around who is killing the students and why. This book introduces multiple characters that we gain more information about both in this book as well through out the series and how these other worlds work on a scale of Nonsense/Logic and Virtue/Wickedness though it becomes clear that world can present themselves one way while their rules don’t seem the same. One of the things I love about Seanan McGuire’s books is the fact that many of the characters are diverse such as different religions, sexuality and identities but this diversity is not the main focus of the plot. The characters are diverse because the real world is diverse. Every Heart a Doorway so far is my favorite book in the series.

31450908Down Among the Sticks and Bones follows Jack and Jill, twin sisters that we met in book one, and tells the story of before they arrived at school and the world that they went to. Jack and Jill’s parents treated their daughters as one being a tomboy and the other a girly girl regardless of how they felt about it and that caused them to resent each other. When they arrive at the Moors, a world much like Universal’s classic horror movies, they finally chose who they were for them selves with Jack working for a mad scientist and Jill becoming the favorite of the Vampire that ruled the town which changes everything forever. Technically, books one and two of this series can be read with either working as book one however, I feel like Every Heart should be read first because of what happens to Jack and Jill at the end of book one which shows what they become where Down is their back story and why they are the way they are.

To discus Beneath the Sugar Sky in any detail I will have to mention spoilers for book one, so if you don’t want that just know that Beneath is my least favorite of the series as I feel the story is not as good as the other books and the fat representation is very heavy-handed which makes parts of the story hard to read.

Spoilers:

27366528Beneath the Sugar Sky follows Rini the daughter of Sumi, who was killed the beginning of book one. Rini has traveled from the world of Confection to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children to save her mother’s life and her world. Because of Rini’s quest several other students join her in traveling through different world to put Sumi back together again and help her save Confection which allows the readers to see different worlds than have been shown in the other books and see some of the previous main characters. Though the plot of Beneath revolves around Rini and her quest to save her mother a new student, Cora, is the main narrator/character for the book.

Cora is a curvy young woman who travel to the Trenches where she was a mermaid but is now the new arrival at the school. Generally, I love how Seanan McGuire handles diverse representation but this time it felt very heavy-handed. When the reader meets Cora it is made very clear that Cora is fat (she repeatedly calls herself fat throughout the book) and as the main narrator of the book we hear Cora’s internal monologue thought most of it. It’s clear that in her previous schools that she has been bullied for her weight and at one point was not comfortable in her body but some times it seemed a bit too much and I just wanted it to stop. By the end of the book the only things I felt I knew about Cora is that she fat and a good swimmer. Fat representation is need but I felt like it could be done better. The one thing I loved about this book is the fact that the character travel to some of the different worlds and Seanan McGuire’s writing style is whimsical and sucks you in.

Overall, I love the Wayward Children’s series and I can’t wait for the next book In an Absent Dream which comes out in January 2019.