This YA novel 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.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: February 2nd 2016 by Delacorte Press
Four stars: An exciting fast paced adventure that will keep you on your seat until the shocking finale.
Sully broods as he sits at his flea market stall. The spheres are drying up again, and he and his mother are in danger of being evicted from their apartment. People are collecting and burning through the spheres faster than ever, and the rare ones are harder and harder to come by. If only Sully could score another cherry red find. If only, he hadn't been cheated out of millions of dollars by the man who is now controlling the spheres. If only, he could find a way to score a big find. Then everything changes when Hunter appears at his booth with a forest green sphere. Soon a friendship and a daring plan follow that could change everything. Will Sully and Hunter find a rare sphere?
What I Liked:
- In the YA genre you don't get as many books written by males that feature a male protagonist. I loved that Burning Midnight did both, and that this fast paced adventure kept me entertained until the end. Definitely worth reading if you like male main characters, thrilling story lines and originality.
- I liked the whole concept of the spheres even though I had many questions. Imagine one day waking up and finding colorful spheres hidden all over the world like Easter eggs, and then discovering that when paired with another, the small round balls deliver special talents. Would you be willing to burn a sphere not knowing the long term consequences in exchange for beauty, strength, improved memory, eyesight or hearing to name a few? I enjoyed exploring the whole idea of the spheres, and I loved the way it all played out.
- I loved the fast pace of the story. Once it gets going, it doesn't let up. There are so many exciting twists and turns, all leading up to a stunning climax and a thrilling finale that I didn't see coming. I loved it.
- The story centers around Sully and Hunter, two teenagers who are down on their luck, looking to find a way to make ends meet. I liked how determined and fierce they were, and how they remained loyal to their friends despite the conflict. Yes, the make some mistakes and they have their flaws, but I found them to be likable. Joining them are Sully's long time loyal best friend Dom, and Mandy, a smart girl who questions the spheres. I liked the diversity of the characters, and how they worked together.
- As the pages dwindled and the action and danger notched up, the pace of the book moves into lightning fast speed. I was fully expecting a cliffhanger as so much happens in those final chapters, and I didn't think there was any way the author could tie off all the story lines, but surprisingly, he does. The books ends without a cliffhanger, and the story for the most part is complete. There is certainly wiggle room to continue the story arc, and I am not sure if this is intended to be a series or if this is a stand alone. Either way, I was thrilled that I wasn't left hanging.
And The Not So Much:
- The one aspect that drove me crazy about the story was the lack of detail regarding the spheres. I kept expecting there would be a point in the story where the back story on the spheres was laid out, but it doesn't really happen. Basically, you are given a simple backstory: the mysterious spheres one day appeared, no one knows from where or why, and when they are burned, they grant special talents or abilities. I was so curious to know so much more. I especially wanted the history. Who figured out how to burn them? What kind of tests were done, etc. etc. I am a detail reader, and I wasn't ready to accept that the spheres were just there. I wanted all the fine details. I guess the lack of detail is perhaps because this book is geared toward a younger audience who don't care as much about the how and why.
- Once the shocking truth is revealed about the spheres, I couldn't put it down. Even though it was mostly resolved in the end, I still had lingering questions about the why, how, where and so forth regarding the spheres.
- There is a bit of romance in the story, but it doesn't really work, and I felt like it was more of a distraction. It could have been left out. Don't read this for the romance that's for sure.
- I have to admit, I was a bit irritated with some of Sully's decisions. I was especially frustrated that he insisted on telling so many people about his big find, that can only lead to trouble. He is far too trusting, especially considering what happened in the past. Furthermore, I didn't like that he didn't pursue those who stole from him.
- The villain felt to cartoonish and he lacked development.
- I was left at the end wanting to know if there was more to the story. Yes, the loose ends are tied off, and the story could stop here, but I think there is more to tell. I need to know if there will be a sequel.
Burning Midnight was a book that I couldn't put down. This one delivers an exciting scifi tale with plenty of action, danger and a thrilling finale that you won't see coming. I loved the concept and the story, but I was a bit disappointed in the lack of depth and detail regarding the spheres. Still this was an original story, and one that I enjoyed. I would recommend checking this out if you want something fast paced and different. I hope that a sequel is in the works.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.