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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Review: Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh

Burning Midnight
by Will McIntosh
Feb. 2, 2016
Delacorte Press
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.


The brightly colored orbs appeared out of nowhere, hiding around the world. When two orbs of the same color are burned together they give you a boost and make you better in some way (better looking, smarter, taller, stronger senses, etc). The rarer the orb, the higher people are willing to pay for it. Sully, an orb dealer by weekend and regular high school student by weekday, is just trying to help his mom get by. When Sully meets a mysterious girl named Hunter, with a knack for finding orbs, the two set out to find rare orbs and cash in big...and they uncover the orb find of a lifetime, a never-before-seen Gold orb. But when billionaire businessman and orb seller, Alex Holliday, finds out what the two teens have found, he’s willing to stop at nothing to get his greedy hand on it.

Will McIntosh’s Burning Midnight is a fast-paced and thrilling YA with a complex, fascinating, and incredibly inventive premise! McIntosh spins a wildly compelling and addictive read that had me excitedly turning pages all night long. Deftly weaving together smart sci-fi elements, speculative notions, edge-of-your seat action, and just enough romance, this YA debut is so fun and entertaining. The world Sully and Hunter live in is just like ours, with the exception of the extraordinary orbs.  The brightly hued orbs, and the amazing abilities they bestow, are just such a wickedly cool idea! Through the orbs, McIntosh offers readers an insightful and thought-provoking look into our own modern society and what people are willing to do and pay to be just a little bit better and more.

Burning Midnight features four distinct and engaging young characters- Sully and Hunter, Sully’s best friend Dom, and their new friend Mandy. Sully and Dom are great, likable characters, but it’s the girls who really shine. Hunter and Mandy both possess strong, fierce, kickass, take-no-crap-from-anyone, but still vulnerable personalities, but in very different ways. Both girls are assertive and confident in ways that, unfortunately, many YA heroines are not.

Burning Midnight is full of twists and turns, and its explosive climax is made even better by excellent execution!

my final thoughts: I had such a blast reading this book! With an irresistible premise, cinematic storytelling, and smart execution, Burning Midnight is a definite must read.

5/5 yummy cupcakes

Will McIntosh is the author of several adult speculative fiction novels and is a frequent short-story writer. His first novel, Soft Apocalypse, was a finalist for the Locus Award. “Bridesicle,” a short story published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, won a Hugo Award for Best Short Story and was later expanded into his novel Love Minus Eighty, which was an ALA-RUSA Reading List selection for science fiction. His newest novel for adults,Defenders, has been optioned for film by Warner Bros. Burning Midnight is his first novel for young adults. Will lives with his wife and twin children in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he is working on his next young adult * twitter


Molly Mortensen said...

I'm just starting this one. I was afraid it wouldn't live up to such a cool premise. I'm glad that it did! I'm more excited to read this now! Nice review!

Booknut101 said...

Great review!! <3

~ Booknut101 @ 21st Century Once Upon A Times