Burning Midnight Paperback – 11 Feb 2016
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Burning Midnight has an inventive plot, unlike any other YA sci-fi you'll have read. The book's best asset is its pace. Once it gets going, it goes hard, and the action sequences are breathlessly cinematic. (SFX Magazine)
How much would you pay for superpowers? Fast-paced action adventure with a world-changing twist . . .
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Burning Midnight is like Pokémon with a helping of magic and a splash of science fiction. It’s made better yet by modern-day references such as eBay and Craigslist that help it become completely relatable for any reader, and its characters have some of the most genuine voices I’ve ever come across.
It’s one of the rare books that I think my future hubby would enjoy reading (he pretty much never reads, but has enjoyed The Maze Runner and Michael Grant’s Gone series), although I spent so much time talking about it while I was reading it that I’ve probably spoiled it for him already. Whoopsie.
At times I found Hunter quite frustrating, and I have some questions that were never fully answered by the end of the novel, but I can let that slide because I enjoyed the rest of the story so much.
Burning Midnight is a standalone novel, too, so everything’s wrapped up in one book which was actually quite refreshing, bucking the fantasy/sci-fi trilogy trend. It’s clever and unusual, and has definitely got me interested in the rest of Will’s YA novels.
Some of this storyline reminded me of our present day situation, instead of caste systems to differentiate classes like India, we now have class systems in the US based on wealth. In this book, 'Burning Midnight' we have colored spheres. With these spheres, the rich can make themselves smarter or prettier or richer, the middles can have a few a year, the poors have none. These spheres were planted years ago and now if you have two matching you can place it on your forehead and become richer, wiser or more beautiful.
Several years ago a young man named David Sullivan, or Sully to his friends, found a rare sphere and became wealthy overnight. However, the check was stopped when the buyer did not appreciate the spheres. Essentially Sully was cheated out of the money. It is now his duty to sell enough spheres to keep enough money for rent for he and his mother. Along with some friends, Sully travels from Yonkers his home town to Mexico looking for an unusual sphere. This storyline is their story.
A lot of action in this book, and my ten year old grandson loved every minute of it. He is attracted to the unusual, mystical and action oriented books. Sully and his friends all had different reasons for looking for this gold sphere. This is the part of the book that intrigued me. The guy wearing the black hat, Holliday, keeps popping up. This is at times is a fact paced book that leads to sharp turns. We keep rooting for the good guys. My grandson really liked this book. The book lost me several times, but I do think the plot line is very original, and preteen and teens will enjoy it.
Recommended. prisrob 02-24-16
David Sullivan knows all about Holliday. Seventeen-year-old resourceful Sully is a hunter, selling spheres at a bargain price on a market stall, and he once thought all his dreams were about to come true when Holliday made him a millionaire in return for a peerless Cherry Red. All of Sully’s many money worries, and those of his mother, disappeared in an instant. But Sully’s dreams were dashed when Holliday found out what the Cherry Red did and tore up the cheque. As Holliday continues to blight his life, Sully wants vengeance. It seems that he might have a chance when he meets Hunter, a girl with a wildness about her who knows far more about poverty and deprivation that Sully ever can. She is also a far better hunter of spheres. Both find it difficult to trust the other but together they might just find something unusual. And it’s not too long before they find a sphere no one has seen before – a large gold sphere of unknown power and it is worth millions. If only Sully and Hunter can stay alive long enough to reap the reward.
I am a huge fan of Will McIntosh, having loved his adult SF thrillers Love Minus Eighty and the outstanding Defenders, which was one of my top books of 2014. Burning Midnight is Will’s first Young Adult novel and I could not have been keener to read it.
Burning Midnight, like Will McIntosh’s other novels, has a fantastic premise and a plot that lives up to it. The spheres are a wonderful idea and are used to reveal the very best and worst of this near-future society. The action is full on from the beginning and moved along by some appealing young characters – brave and troubled – Sully and Hunter. While Sully is the main character and the principal hero, I would argue, though, that Hunter is the star of the novel. I really enjoyed getting to know her and her world on the fringes of society, her hours spent hiding and searching in all of its darkest corners. She’s a great character and Sully has his hands full in competing with her for our attention.
The spheres themselves are fascinating and I couldn’t wait to find out more about them and where they’re from and what they’re for. The answers are slow to come but when they do, it’s a gobsmacking moment. You can almost feel the Earth standing still as the penny drops. The novel, especially its thrilling second half, thoroughly entertains with the thrill of a quest for a beautiful prize of unknown origin and power. Halliday, or big business, or those who have had their rarified lives made even more glorious thanks to the gifts of the spheres, make for worthy enemies. The chase is on. The fact that nobody seems to know where it will end up adds another edge.
Burning Midnight is very entertaining with a great premise and I think that, while it has an appeal for all ages, younger teens in particular will love it. I'm grateful for the review copy.
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