Release Date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Boys & Men, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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.
BURNING MIDNIGHT is a refreshing read in many aspects. This is a world where different colored spheres can grant you abilities like better eyesight, speed and agility, and enhanced hearing. Hunting, collecting, and selling these spheres is a lucrative business, with some being worth well over a million dollars. But there is another price to pay for these powers, one that is much more sinister.
“Every time you absorb a pair of those titillating balls, you welcome Satan into your soul. They are Trojan horses,
sin in your choice of colors.”
People have a wide variety of theories to explain the sphere’s sudden appearance and powers; some think they are gifts and some think they are a curse. Sully, our narrator, isn’t sure what to believe beyond the fact that selling these spheres allows him to help his mom pay the bills.
A male narrator in YA is always welcome, and I was surprised at how much I liked Sully. He did make some decisions that seemed little foolish, but I liked his voice. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the other characters nearly as much. They weren’t as fleshed out, and they weren’t super great friends to Sully, either.
“Anyone who wanted to be a little taller, more athletic, or better looking could just pick up a couple of spheres,
if they were willing to take the chance.”
This book is full of real-world references like Slate, CSI New York, and Wal-Mart. I found that these kind of took me out of the story instead of making it more realistic. The writing itself is very readable and flows well. It was just what I needed after my reading slump where I was struggling through other books.
The climax and reveal felt rushed. When everything came to a head I became a little confused and it seemed like way too much was happening way too fast. The twist seemed a little random and I wish more time had been spent on the ending, even though it did wrap up well.
Overall, BURNING MIDNIGHT was an interesting read that kept me turning the pages.