Tor. May 2019. 528p. ISBN 9781250195524. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250195517. FANTASY
OrangeReviewStarJames Reed is on a mission, like the alchemist who created him: embody the Doctrine of Ethos in two people created for that reason, control them, and thus gain authority over everything. Roger Middleton and Dodger Cheswich are twins separated at birth. Roger has a flair for language, with words showing him how the world works. Dodger lives for numbers: mathematics are what she sees, studies, and understands. As the two meet at different points through their young lives, they begin to unravel the mysteries of their origins and the power they were created to wield. Monitored by Reed and his ruthless, deadly assistant Leigh, Roger and Dodger are on the journey of their lives, breaking down time and space to numbers and words. While in a different vein than her "October Daye" or "InCryptid" series, McGuire's strong narrative voice and vivid worldbuilding persist, as does a kind of magical understanding of a child's power and vulnerability.
VERDICT McGuire sets a high bar for alchemy-based stories in this new stand-alone, twisting themes of time and space as seen through the eyes of children. Note that some painful scenes feature self-harm and violence. Overall this singular work keeps readers thinking long after the final page.
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