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Title: Burning MidnightBook Review Button
Author: Will McIntosh
ISBN: 9780553534108
No. of Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult; Science Fiction
Origins: Delacorte Press
Release Date: 2 February 2016

Synopsis:

“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.”

My Thoughts: Burning Midnight came to me as an unsolicited review copy. When I was looking at it to determine whether it was something I wanted to read, it did not strike me as a novel that would blow my mind. In fact, I thought it sounded only somewhat intriguing but mostly forgettable. Still, it was young adult, and it was science fiction; I am willing to put up with a rather boring synopsis for a good YA sci-fi. So, with a “What the hell” and a shrug, I dived into it and hoped for the best.

Yeah.

You know that little voice that tells you when something is a bad idea? In the case of Burning Midnight, I really should have listened to that voice. I know what McIntosh was trying to do, but he did not quite succeed in hitting his targets. By the time the truth behind the mysterious spheres reveals itself in a moment so eye-roll worthy as to risk eye strain, you just want to forget you ever read it.

Sully is so earnest and just too gullible for the world in which he lives. In fact, he is something of a wimp, believing what he wants to believe even when the truth is staring him in the face. I know he is the good guy, but it is almost as if he is TOO good. Alex Holliday double-crosses him badly in a life-changing transaction, something that would turn most people into complete cynics, but Sully continues to believe that everyone he encounters tells the truth and has his best interest at heart. It’s an unsettling outlook given everything he experiences. Hunter is his exact opposite, but at least her backstory explains her prickliness. In fact, I admire her more because she has learned life’s hard lessons and learned them well. Sully continues to get knocked down by them but refuses to accept what he learns. In a word, his naivety is rather pathetic.

Then there are the magical spheres. Seriously, this is the part that just makes you laugh. And laugh. And laugh again. They aren’t supposed to be humorous, but there is nothing about the story of the spheres which is not utterly ridiculous, highly predictable, and therefore totally laughable. Magic, indestructible balls that mysteriously appear one day that just happen to grant superpowers to those who use them, and NO ONE thinks that using them might be a bad idea? The people in Sully’s world must not be science fiction fans because there is nothing about this scenario which indicates it will end well. Shady, power-granting objects are never going to result in a happily-ever-after, for anyone. That is why the moment Sully and Hunter unveil what the spheres are, all you can do is sit back and just enjoy the stupidly silly ride. Because that is all it becomes at that point in time.

I have no one to blame but myself for reading this one. I could have stopped reading it at any point in time. I should have stopped reading it. Yet, Burning Midnight is like the accident away from which you cannot tear your eyes. It is one of those books that is just so ridiculous that you have to keep reading it because you want to see just how far it will go. It is almost so bad, it is good. The key word there is almost.

Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh

BOTTOM LINE: Don’t do what I did. Listen to your inner voice and skip it.

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