Author: Will McIntosh
Publication: Delacorte Press (February 2, 2016)
Description: 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.
My Thoughts: Will McIntosh (SOFT APOCALYPSE, HITCHERS, etc.) has made a successful transition to YA science fiction with his new novel BURNING MIDNIGHT. The setting is the present day with one exception. Some years in the past the Earth was seeded with various colored spheres. Holding two matching spheres to your temple would grant you some new ability from the minor like white, straight teeth to major like higher IQ.
The main character is David Sullivan who is seventeen and who once discovered a rare sphere. However, he was cheated out of his $2.5 million paycheck when the sphere didn't perform as the buyer - Alex Holliday - didn't expect. Currently Sully is buying and selling spheres at a flea market trying to make enough money so that he and his mother aren't kicked out of their apartment and forced to move away and live in a relative's basement.
Things change when a young woman who calls herself Hunter comes to his stall at the market and offers to sell him a rarity. Though they lose that sphere to hijackers, the two form a partnership to find more spheres. And, when Holliday announces the discovery of a bigger sphere in a previously undiscovered color, Sully and Hunter are even more determined to find spheres.
The kids find another new sphere - a gold one. But this one is different; it moves. The kids believe that it is trying to guide them to its match and set off on a road trip that takes them from Yonkers to Mexico City. Sully recruits his friends Dom and Mandy to go along to help for a cut in the take for the new sphere. Holliday and his goons are also on their trail and it becomes a race to see who can get to the other gold first. Rather than surrender the golds to Holliday, Hunter burns them which has very unexpected results.
This was an action-packed story with lots to think about too. We do discover what the spheres are for and what the dangers are. I liked that the four kids had a variety of viewpoints about the spheres. Sully wasn't opposed to using them but he needed to sell them to make money his family desperately needed. Dom just wanted the adventure and to make his family name stand for something other than the actions of his infamous uncle. Mandy didn't think the spheres should be used until the long term consequences were known. Hunter's motives were less clear. She wanted the spheres for the money and security they could offer her but she also wanted to find them just because they existed.
Fans of science fiction won't want to miss this exciting story.
Sully found it interesting how split religions were on the spheres. The pope thought they were okay, because they didn't go against anything in the Bible and didn't hurt anyone. Some of the evangelists on TV were like this guy on the podium; others claimed the spheres came straight from God. If there was a God, Sully didn't think he had anything to do with the spheres. They weren't angels or devils; they were pretty obviously things, even if no one could explain how they suddenly materialized all over the world or why they gave people enhanced abilities.I got this ARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.