Burning Midnight – Will McIntosh

Burning Midnight – Will McIntoshTitle: Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh
Publishing Info: February 2, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: February 23, 2016

Seventeen-year-old David Sullivan’s life is about to change—all because of one tiny, priceless item found in the murky bottom of a Brooklyn water tower.
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 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 more expensive—and the greater the improvement.
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 worth millions, 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.

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Young adult sci-fi? Crazy ending? A world full of colorful sphere that enhance people’s abilities? Yep, I was totally hooked by the pitch for BURNING MIDNIGHT! I’m such a sucker for all of these things and I’m always interested to see where sci-fi will head next, especially since I’m still discovering so many different types of science-fiction. I will definitely agree that BURNING MIDNIGHT was a fun read and had a crazy ending but it was also a bit of a mixed bag for me.

I actually had a really great time reading this book. It was easy to read and the concept of the spheres/marbles/whatever you want to call them was really neat! They’re hidden all over the world in hundreds of different colors. Find two of the same color and you can “burn” the pair to enhance an ability, from a better singing voice or ability to fall asleep easier to better memory or enhanced speed. Each color endows a different gift and now that the spheres have been around for a while, there’s a whole market based off of the value of each color and how valuable that trait is. I love concepts like this. Specific rules, special abilities, and a specific way to identify them all have me hooked so I really enjoyed the whole first half of BURNING MIDNIGHT! I loved learning what each color did and the hunt for the different colors was exciting!

The characters made for a fun cast as well. I liked Sully (David Sullivan) and his friends a lot and they always seemed really down-to-earth and realistic. The friendship dynamic was a lot of fun and I especially loved Dom, who has been Sully’s best friend for a long time, and new-comer to the group Mandy. They had a great working dynamic and it was a great balance of serious and fun. Sully also ends up working with and falling for mysterious girl Hunter (who hunts spheres) and although I did enjoy their relationship, I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had been more platonic than romantic.

I was really enjoying the book right up until the end and then things started to get… weird. I was hooked by the concept of a crazy, twisty ending so naturally I was hypothesizing what the spheres could possible be and where they came from and this is in fact revealed in the end. Did I like the answer? Frankly, no. The answer to the twist was one of my only real guesses and I was just hoping the book really wasn’t going to to there. It seemed like an easy and obvious twist and also made the book that much more unrealistic instead of having some possible technological, political, or other science-fiction answer. I was fairly disappointed and it really sort of cheapened the book for me. I was just hoping for so much more.

BURNING MIDNIGHT was an exciting and fun read but unfortunately the ending wasn’t a hit for me. I had a really good time reading it but my experience with the ending makes me wary to recommend it to others. If you’re ready for just about anything, I say take a chance but if you’re picky with your sci-fi, maybe peek at some reviews before you pick this one up!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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David Sullivan (Sully) // Character Obsessions: Sphere-hunting, family, friends, Holliday. 
Sully was a fun character! I liked reading from his POV and I really enjoyed his friends and family. He always felt pretty down-to-earth and realistic so that was nice! I also like the balance of his need to hunt spheres (to sell) and how it didn’t become an all-encompassing obsession.
Hunter // Character Obsessions: Sphere-hunting, survival, protection. 
I actually wanted to learn so much more about Hunter. She’s pretty mysterious and obviously has a past that shows she’s been through some hard times. We do find out some things about her and her childhood but I also just wanted to get to know her as a person so much more. Towards the end when THINGS happen, it made me wonder how much I really knew about her in the first place.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Unique sci-fi concepts. I really, really loved the whole concept of the spheres. It was very neat and I was kind of obsessed with all of the different possibilities of abilities and enhancements.
Left Me Wanting More: Reality. Straight up? The ending was just unbelievable for me. It really felt cheesy and average so that was a huge bummer.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

This is so hard to recommend! While I enjoyed reading the book and enjoyed the first 75%, the ending of the book was just not for me. I’d be hard-pressed to recommend it after that. I’d probably have to spoil the book to tell a reader what happened in the end and have them base their decision off of that.

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4 thoughts on “Burning Midnight – Will McIntosh

  1. Debbi MIchiko Florence

    Thank you for another great insightful review! There is nothing worse, in my humble opinion, than a dissatisfying ending! I’d rather be put off by a book from the start and not waste my time reading than get invested in a story and characters and feel completely let down. I’m so curious to know how this book ends though… 😉 But not enough to read this book. Life is too short to read books I don’t love (or at least like a lot). 😉

  2. Alyssaz

    I’ve seen quite a few positive reviews for this one already. It is also an author I’ve been meaning to read for awhile. I think I’ll check my library for a copy first before deciding to buy or not. Thanks for the review!

  3. Audrey Greathouse

    Burning Midnight sounds like a really simple but intense plot. Little spheres, unexplained, does not sound like much, but yet the premise is woefully intriguing and I can see this, and the characters, going in a million different directions…

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