Review: Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh

February 2, 2016 Review 20 ★★★

Review: Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh
Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Delacorte
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 320
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.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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.

Rating Report
Overall: 2.9

20 Responses to “Review: Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh”

  1. Danielle

    Thanks for sharing. I have an eARC of this and, while it looked kind of interesting, I haven’t managed to pick it up yet. Looks like I won’t be making it a HUGE priority, but maybe if I’m looking for something light and fast one day. Thanks!

  2. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    This is a new-to-me title Alise and I have to say that the unique premise sounds appealing. I think I’ll check and see if any other trusted blogger friend has read it to compare. If you had rated it 4-5 stars, I’d add it to my tbr shelf automatically…but I’m trying to keep my tbr shelf under control now LOL so yeah. Thanks for bringing it to my attention anyway^^ Lovely review xx
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #36

    • Alise

      I know what you mean! I recently culled my TBR list from 700 to 300ish so I’m being pretty picky too! Thanks :)

  3. czai

    I like the premise of the book.. it really sounds interesting. I like that fact that it has a male narrator but knowing that the other characters weren’t fleshed out makes me back out a little. I’d still like to really think about picking up this book. Great review! :)
    czai recently posted…[REVIEW] The Standout

    • Alise

      The concept kind of made up for the characters, but yeah, I wish they had been fleshed out a bit more. Thank you!

  4. Lola

    The concept with the spheres sounds very original and a bit weird too. I am glad to hear you liked Sully, even though the other characters weren’t as fleshed out. Real world references and brand names and such usually get me out of the story too, especially when they are used often. It sounds like a fun and easy to read book, but that’s a shame about the characters not being fleshed out and the rushed ending. Great review!
    Lola recently posted…Review: Driven by Kelley Armstrong

    • Alise

      Right? I think some authors believe that it will immerse the reader but references like that don’t work for me. Thank you :)

  5. Lonna | FLYLēF

    I love the premise of this story. Perhaps, it’s because it reminds me so much of The Stormlight Archives, which coincidentally (or not) also uses gemstones a source of magical currency. Plus, I really enjoy male POVs and Sully sounds like a nice character. Great review Alise!
    Lonna | FLYLēF recently posted…February New Release Giveaway Hop

    • Alise

      You think he would have learned after losing so much money. Ah well, guess he just looks for the good in people haha. Thank you!

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