Published by Delacorte Press on February 2, 2016
Source: Paperback ARC from Publisher
This YA novel 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 standalone young adult science fiction fantasy by Will McIntosh. And guess what? It features a male protagonist. Do you even know how excited I was to see a character like Sully? I loved him. And I loved Burning Midnight. Everything about this book made me excited to read it, and once I started, even more excited to keep reading. I loved that the world is much the same as the world as we know it. Burning Midnight takes place in present day New York City, and all the regular things like facebook, ebay, and flea markets exist. The one big difference is that little colored marbles (called orbs) are scattered throughout the world. They just showed up one day and no one knows where they came from.
People soon discovered that if you found a pair of the same color orbs and you “burned” them, meaning you held them up to your temples, that you would absorb some sort of talent from the orbs. Each color, represented a different talent. The better the talent, the more rare the orb. And the more rare the orb, the more money you could sell them for. The talents were really cool, ranging from everything like running faster to perfect memory recall.
Will McIntosh has done a really excellent job creating a world that is well thought out, imaginative, and fun to roam around in. I loved hanging out with Sully, Hunter, Mandy and Dom. I was really hooked waiting to see what was going to happen next. And as soon as we learned what the title referred to, (midnight is a midnight blue orb that is way bigger than the rest of them. Everyone is searching everywhere to find its’ match so it can be burned.) I was even more excited. There is a lot of stuff going on in Burning Midnight and the book seemed to gain momentum as it went on. I loved that it was a standalone, but at the same time, I would have liked to have seen the end stretched out a bit so we could have gotten a second installment in. I really enjoyed this world, and these characters. The ending took me by surprise, and while it wasn’t something I normally go for, I liked it in this case.
Bottom line: if you like science fiction books and fantasy books that are set in present day settings with a burst of magic thrown in, Burning Midnight is a plot that you will completely love. The gang of characters is delightful and the action and world building are spot on. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and would recommend it all young adult readers. And did I mention, the main character is a guy? Double points for that.