Reading time 4 mins
Review: BURNING MIDNIGHT by Will McIntoshBurning Midnight by Will McIntosh
Published by Random House Publishing Group on February 2nd 2016
Pages: 320
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, General, Social Issues, Homelessness & Poverty, Science Fiction
eARC provided by Delacorte Press

AmazonBook Depository

For fans of The Maze Runner and The Fifth Wave, this debut YA novel from Hugo Award winner Will McIntosh pits four underprivileged teens against an evil billionaire in the race of a lifetime.   Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn't pay much--Alex Holliday's stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers--but it helps him and his mom make the rent. No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the greater the improvement--and the more expensive the sphere.
When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold--a color no one has ever seen. And when Alex Holliday learns what they have, he will go to any lengths, will use all of his wealth and power, to take it from them. There's no question the Gold is priceless, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they're here.

This story was so much fun. I love the concept and the delivery on this. The world building and imagination in this story was pretty addictive. Plus, a male protagonist was such a nice change of pace.

This story starts off with Sully, our protagonist, selling spheres at his flea market booth. A girl named Hunter shows up and tries to sell him a rare forest green sphere. From there we learn about how Sully once found a really rare ruby red and how he got stiffed for it. The spheres just showed up all over the planet. This is the second wave of spheres and people are hoping there will be another wave. Somehow people realized that by placing them to their temple they could absorb the power within. Each color sphere represents a different sort of power. Things like memory, ability to go without much sleep, speed, photographic memory, beauty and many more skills lie within the spheres. Many people have become rich by selling spheres, and even more people have burned them to absorb their powers. Sully and Hunter quickly join forces to hunt the few remaining spheres, hoping to find a rare color in order to get rich quick. Along the way they will find trouble and learn more about the spheres then anyone else.

This is another book I find hard to describe. I found myself really wrapped up in the mystery of the spheres and the greed to make money off of them. The spheres have opened up a market to people who had nothing, and given them a chance to gain an advantage and/or get rich quick. The world they live in is just like ours but the spheres have changed everything about it. There are people who don’t trust the spheres. Sully has a friend, Mandy, who questions the safety of burning the spheres and basically throws out questions the reader might have about them. Can the spheres be trusted?

Sully and Hunter are living very different lives. Sully, although poor, lives like a typical teenager. His goes to school and lives with his single mother who really loves him. He really wants to make things better for them both. Hunter was abandoned at a young age. Her loyalty is to herself and getting out of poverty. I rooted for both of these kids so hard. They are good people and deserved a break. I really enjoyed getting to know these characters and how the spheres have changed their lives.

This story starts out without a clear explanation of what the sphere are. At first, I assumed it was a gamer type of product, but the fact that everyone is in on it cleared that up quickly. The first half of this book is really character building and setting the scene. Once Hunter and Sully find a rare sphere, around 50% in the book, things really start to take off. After the 50% mark, the action is quick and the story moves at a great pace.

I think the author did a fantastic job telling this story. It is a bit of a far out concept. The slower pace in the beginning helped me to catch up and really understand the opportunity the spheres represent, both good and bad. This story explores the way the world might exploit the market of the spheres and answers every questions a reader might have about consequences of burning them.

I read this book at a furious pace and I really enjoyed reading this. I think it was really original and very well written. All of the characters had redeeming qualities that are hard not to love. My only issue was at my own confusion at the beginning. This is a great YA Sci-fi that I know readers will enjoy. I will definitely be reading more from this author.

My Rating



About Will McIntosh

Will McIntosh’s debut novel, Soft Apocalypse, was a finalist for both a Locus award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.  He is a frequent contributor to Asimov’s, where his story “Bridesicle” won the 2010 Reader’s Award, as well as the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Short Story.  His third novel, Love Minus Eighty (based on “Bridesicle”) was published by Orbit books in June, 2013, and was named best Science Fiction novel of the year by the American Library Association.  His upcoming novel, Defenders has been optioned by Warner Brothers for a feature film.  Will recently moved to Williamsburg, Virginia with his wife Alison and twins Hannah and Miles.  He left his position as a psychology professor in Southeast Georgia to write full time, and still teaches as an adjunct, at the College of William and Mary.  Will is represented by Seth Fishman at The Gernert Company.

I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

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