All- round entertainment
released 11 February 320 pages | Paperback/ ebook Author Will McIntosh Publisher Macmillan Children’s
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.