Author: Will McIntosh
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: February 2, 2016
ABOUT THE BOOK
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'm a fan of YA genre fiction, including the weird, sci-fi and fantasy types. Once in a while, I need to read one of these to just get out there, let my mind do a lot of wandering to worlds of unknown. From the magical world of the Harry Potter series to the dystopian society of The Hunger Games to urban fantasy like the Beautiful Creatures series, I like them all. I have a few on my TBR list, but I'm taking my time to go through them. When I was offered the chance to review Burning Midnight, by Will McIntosh, I jumped on it. It's new and it's sci-fi with a male narrator. It's been some time since I read a story with those categories.
With the premise of "magical" spheres that shows up randomly giving users that "burn" (rub them on your temple) them special abilities from better teeth, to higher IQ to dark hair and avoid getting sick, this story starts off interesting enough. These spheres comes in different colors with categories of rarity and abilities like Magic and Pokemon cards with the most rare collecting a very pretty penny for it. Our protagonist Sully with his friends go on this journey (road trip) to hunt for spheres to "battle" the evil villain of the story, along the way experience teenage hormones - love and angst.
Honestly, can you tell from the above that this doesn't do much for me? I was hyped for it, and maybe my expectations was too high? The writing is decent, but the atmosphere of the plot jumps all over the place, yet not confusing, but just not providing enough answers to those seeking questions. The most basic is where did these spheres come from? The setting is typical modern day society with the sudden addition of these spheres, but no where does it give a concrete explanation as to where and why. Then the characters. They are teenagers, and with what's going on, one would expect a certain level of maturity, but nope. Even the main character seems childish during several key moments in the story. I hate to give this such a poor review, since I do find the writing good and the premise a great start. The execution though was less than desirable. Even with some twists at the end, it didn't change my view. I haven't read the Maze Runner or The 5th Wave, so possibly fans of those series might find Burning Midnight a great comparable read. I was disappointed.
NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book through Rockstar Book Tours for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.
TO PURCHASE A COPY
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Will McIntosh’s debut novel, Soft Apocalypse, was a finalist for both a Locus award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He is a frequent contributor to Asimov’s, where his story “Bridesicle” won the 2010 Reader’s Award, as well as the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. His third novel, Love Minus Eighty (based on “Bridesicle”) was published by Orbit books in June, 2013, and was named best Science Fiction novel of the year by the American Library Association. His upcoming novel, Defenders has been optioned by Warner Brothers for a feature film. Will recently moved to Williamsburg, Virginia with his wife Alison and twins Hannah and Miles. He left his position as a psychology professor in Southeast Georgia to write full time, and still teaches as an adjunct, at the College of William and Mary. Will is represented by Seth Fishman at The Gernert Company. Follow him on Twitter @WillMcIntoshSF