Review: BURNING MIDNIGHT by Will McIntosh

BURNING MIDNIGHT is a thrilling chance for two underdogs to come out on top!

Nobody knows where the spheres came from. One day, the tiny orbs in various luminescent colors were found all over the world. Humanity soon discovered that if someone put two of the same color spheres together, they would be gifted with something special: better senses, more intelligence, better looks, and more athleticism, among the many possibilities. It wasn’t long before the spheres became the world’s biggest commodity.

Burning Midnight follows David “Sully” Sullivan, who was briefly a young hero in the sphere industry… until he was betrayed by hometown sphere tycoon Alex Holliday. Now Holliday runs one of the most luxurious sphere chain stores in the world and Sully is selling his meager finds in a local flea market, scraping by after his single mother loses her job. So when Sully meets a skilled, tough sphere collector by the name of Hunter, he’s pretty eager to begin searching with her. The partnership is tried and tested, but things grow out of control when Sully and Hunter discover a Gold sphere. It’s a brand new color, the rarest of the rare, and they must find its partner before Alex Holliday and his goons chase them down and destroy them.

burning midnight

If you’re a fan of James Dashner or Brandon Sanderson, this book is calling to you. Really! It’s saying “Pick me up and read me. You’ll love me, I swear!” Will McIntosh’s writing has the same tense edge, the thrill of an original adventure through the unknown, and insane twists you couldn’t even guess at. This time it comes in standalone form, so you won’t have to wait three years for the conclusion!

Sully is a solid narrator with an interesting past and a realistic outlook on the future, as is the case with many novels, we found ourselves drawn to the secondary characters. Hunter is a fierce Latina woman with more guts and resolve than the rest of the characters put together. She has a mysterious background that’s slowly revealed, defining her darker edge and making you root for her even in her most desperate of moments. There are also two others prominently featured in the adventure: Sully’s best friend, Dom, the comedic relief trying to out-run his infamous family history, and Mandy, a witty new friend brought into the fold thanks to a shared hatred of Holliday. Both characters are fun, welcomed additions. However, cocky, wealthy villain Alex Holliday, who repeatedly proves he’ll do just about anything to get his hands on world’s rarest spheres, felt a bit like cookie cutter corporate baddie at times. It certainly wasn’t enough to detract our interest in the story, though.

While Burning Midnight is clearly fantasy, it’s actually not futuristic fantasy like you might expect. People are discovering these spheres and becoming enhanced versions of themselves in the modern day, while anticipating Emma Watson movies and referencing Beyonce. Each pop culture reference earned a smirk and a quirked eyebrow from us, especially once all hell breaks loose.

There’s plenty to love in this book, particularly if you love a good quest, but there were a few things that felt a little out of place. There’s a romance that feels like it was forced into the story even though the characters don’t have a ton of romantic chemistry. Nothing about their interactions suggests anything beyond a platonic relationship, but by the end of the story, we’re told that they’re in love. We didn’t necessarily feel it. Our other qualm is that the ending was a little too smooth for the characters given the chaos that precedes it and we would have liked to have seen a few more consequences there. Perhaps that’s the opening for the sequel Will McIntosh never knew he wanted!

Burning Midnight has so much to offer fans of mystery, adventure, and fantasy. This is the author’s first foray into YA fiction and we can’t wait to see what he does next in the genre!

Burning Midnight hits shelves next Tuesday, February 2nd.

RATING: 4 out of 5 stars

By Molly

Molly is a proud Canadian who is currently attending university in Scotland. She loves to read, write, watch films, and talk about Sarah J. Maas books. If not snuggled up with a book, Molly can usually be found tapping at the dance studio, or writing yet another essay.