Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Review: Burning Midnight

Burning Midnight
by Will McIntosh

The Goodreads Summary Says:   
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 Say:
3 stars

Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh was a unique read. It's set in an alternate present where people buy and sell mysterious spheres to get an extra boost - better memory, straighter teeth, increased height, etc. The world falls into three camps when it comes to the spheres: take advantage of all you can; ain't nobody got money for that; and apprehension that the spheres are too good to be true. Sully, the main character, falls into the second camp. He's 17, selling spheres to get by, and trying to best the young, rich business mogul who's duped him in the past. When Sully and a (bit stereotypical) friend named Hunter find a previously undiscovered type of sphere, the story really begins.

I'll say up front that I had difficulty with the first half of the book. The pacing felt off, and the characters were a bit simplistic and naive in a way that reminded me more of Middle Grade than YA. The pop culture references occasionally felt like an attempt to mention what "the kids" are into these days. I would almost recommend reading the book's synopsis and then picking it up right around the halfway point, as the first half doesn't give the best impression of the potential the second half has.

But I enjoyed the second half quite a bit more. McIntosh does a great job writing suspense and action, and it was hard to put the book down once the plot really got going. The story took some very unexpected turns, reminding me of a cross between an M Night Shyamalan movie and Rob Wells' Variant/Feedback duology. It was just really different. Although the ending was very tidy, I enjoyed the way the story took me by surprise.

Just So You Know:
I received a free review copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Burning Midnight will be available February 2.


  1. This sounds like it could be fun. Plus, I usually like books you don't, lol.

    1. Lol Jenni that's often true! I'd be interested to see what you thought of this if you ever read it :)

  2. Too bad it took so long to get going. I'm glad you enjoyed it in the end since you stuck with it.

    1. Me too! I try really hard not to DNF review books, so I was happy when it picked up. The second half was fun to read.