Burning Midnight (YA Review)

Book Review, Young Adult Books
Burning Midnight

Burning Midnight

Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh

Age Range: 12 – 17 years | Grade Level: 7 and up | Hardcover: 320 pages | Publisher: Delacorte Press (February 2, 2016)


About Burning Midnight:

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.


About the Author:

Will McIntosh is the author of several adult speculative fiction novels and is a frequent short-story writer. His first novel, Soft Apocalypse, was a finalist for the Locus Award. “Bridesicle,” a short story published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, won a Hugo Award for Best Short Story and was later expanded into his novel Love Minus Eighty, which was an ALA-RUSA Reading List selection for science fiction. His newest novel for adults, Defenders, has been optioned for film by Warner Bros. Burning Midnight is his first novel for young adults. Will lives with his wife and twin children in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he is working on his next young adult novel.


Find the Book:
Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


My Thoughts on Burning Midnight:

Burning Midnight takes place in a very near future. Spheres of various colors appeared all over the earth. Different colors do different things to the people that “burn” them. They can make you sing well, make you taller, stronger, prettier, smarter, faster. The rarer the sphere, the more it costs. Finding and selling these marbles can be a lucrative, but dangerous game. When Sully and his friends find a pair of extraordinary marbles, they are set on a path of tough choices with heavy consequences.
This book roped me in from the start. It’s a fast-paced, nearly believable story that kept me glued to the page. I loved it, but I’m not fond of the climax. The story felt believable up to that point, but the ending was so outrageous that it nearly killed it for me. It wasn’t what I expected, but that’s not why I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the sudden Jurassic Park meets The Maze Runner feel of it.I still gave it four stars because the characters are strong, the story is great up to a point, and I became invested enough that I couldn’t put it down – even if I got slightly disappointed. I love the characters. Sully is a realistic teenage boy that is too nice, too trusting, and too loyal. He gets burned because of his good qualities, but of course, those are the very things that also help him in the end.

Burning Midnight is a good read if you like science fiction and don’t mind things getting strange at the end. It begs the question: do good things always come with a price? If you don’t know what the price is, should you take the chance?

Cover Love: Not sure how I feel about this cover. It’s not my favorite cover, and it took most of the book to figure out why it’s titled “Burning Midnight” and why there are snake-ish tentacle looking things winding themselves around the image. For the most part, I like the colors and the shot of the city, but it’s just an okay cover for me.

Content: violence, language (no f-words), and bit of innuendo

Source: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.



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  • Reply
    February 25, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Great review. I love a novel that grabs you from the beginning and is fast paced. Too bad the ending wasn’t as good. That alone may make me skip this one though.

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      February 25, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      It was so good, but the end threw me off for sure. I’m chalking it up to personal taste, so you might not have the same issues with it that I did.

  • Reply
    Olivia Roach
    March 2, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    I do like my science fiction, so that side of things are really appealing to me right now. And it sounds like you were quite roped into this book and it drew you in so all you wanted to do was read. I am going to have to think about this book some more!

  • Reply
    Tressa @ Wishful Endings
    March 7, 2016 at 1:45 am

    Well, you’ve peaked my curiosity for sure. I’ve got an eARC so hopefully I’ll get this read soon. Great review!

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      March 10, 2016 at 3:19 pm

      I hope you like it! I loved the majority of the book. I would definitely read any subsequent books if this turns out to be a series.

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