Review: Will McIntosh – Burning Midnight (N)

Young adult novel with a unique take on small super-powers so to speak. One day indestructible marble-like spheres appeared the world over. When used in paired colours they would improve the person using, or burning, them, make them slightly better than they were before. Resistance to the common cold, become taller, better looking, be faster, stronger, increased ambidexterity, and higher IQ as examples. A total of 43 colours, each with a unique ability, and differing rarity based on availability. David “Sully” Sullivan, a teenager who started the second wave of spheres prior to the boo.

Sully is a sphere dealer, in addition to typical teenager, to make extra money to help his mother pay rent. He meets Hunter, a girl who knows sphere hunting more than anything else. They team up to find and sell spheres. Kicking off a discovery of where the spheres came from and why the spheres ended scattered across earth. The story overall has a solid hook that grabs you in the first few pages and doesn’t let go until you finish the book. It’s a smooth, easy, and satisfying read as an adult. The twist at the end of where the spheres came from was nicely handled. Possible explanations are mentioned through narrative, though none quite hits the mark in terms of reality.

Through Sully, we get a clear picture of what colour spheres provide scattered through the book with each mention. I was a bit frustrated that there was no complete list at the end of the book for easy reference. But the main colours and abilities were easy enough to follow. I’d definitely be curious why certain colours were mentioned and not others. Also why the two new types of sphere discovered in the book had the colours they had. That is largely idle curiosity and not really a requirement.

Overall it’s an great read as a young adult novel, it hits the all the notes it needs to really give a satisfying read. But the twist at the end means some of the mystery is lost for a re-read. That doesn’t stop it from being a very enjoyable way to pass an afternoon.

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