BURN­ING MID­NIGHT

All- round entertainment

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - Sarah Dobbs

re­leased 11 Fe­bru­ary 320 pages | Pa­per­back/ ebook Au­thor Will McIn­tosh Pub­lisher Macmil­lan Chil­dren’s

Books

If you could just buy a bet­ter sense of hu­mour, or the abil­ity to run faster, or more IQ points, why wouldn’t you? In the par­al­lel world of Burn­ing Mid­night, the rich get to nab all sorts of new tal­ents for them­selves by “burn­ing” pairs of the mys­te­ri­ous coloured balls that have sud­denly ap­peared all over the world. But these im­pos­si­ble gifts have a hid­den price tag at­tached, and soon a cou­ple of hap­less teenage sphere hunters are the only thing stand­ing be­tween hu­man­ity and a deeply un­pleas­ant fate.

Burn­ing Mid­night has an in­ven­tive plot, un­like any other YA sci- fi you’ll have read. On top of that, it’s got di­verse and in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ters, a sweet ro­man­tic sub­plot, and a be­liev­able world – it’s set in present- day New York, and its fic­tional teens love Tay­lor Swift just as much as real ones do. The book’s best as­set, though, is its pace. Once it gets go­ing, it goes hard, and the ac­tion se­quences are breath­lessly cin­e­matic.

The down­side is that it feels a lit­tle slight, and the end­ing is a bit too neatly wrapped up. But since speed- read­ing spheres don’t ex­ist, maybe that’s a good thing. Will McIn­tosh en­listed his teenage niece as a “cool­ness con­sul­tant”, to check his char­ac­ters were be­liev­able.

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