STARRED REVIEW
February 2016

An imaginative urban fantasy

By Will McIntosh
In a universe just slightly different from our own, small spheres in a rainbow of hues are hidden throughout the world, wherever people live. When matched with another sphere of the same color and “burned” by holding them to one’s forehead, spheres increase human abilities: A common pair of Army Green spheres promotes resistance to the common cold, while rare Mustards grant high IQ.
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In a universe just slightly different from our own, small spheres in a rainbow of hues are hidden throughout the world, wherever people live. When matched with another sphere of the same color and “burned” by holding them to one’s forehead, spheres increase human abilities: A common pair of Army Green spheres promotes resistance to the common cold, while rare Mustards grant high IQ.

Sphere hunting has become a global business, where multinational corporations coexist with small-time flea-market sellers. Sully is one of the latter, trying to earn enough in his afterschool sales to help his mother pay the rent on their small apartment. When he meets Hunter, a teen girl in even worse economic straits, they team up to look for spheres, knowing that billionaire Alex Holliday will use any tactic to acquire the most valuable spheres . . . especially the match to the one and only Midnight Blue. The results of Sully and Hunter’s searches will change the world in ways that no one could predict.

The high-action ending, while unexpected in some ways, is appropriately set up throughout the story, making for a surprising yet satisfying resolution. Hugo Award-winning author Will McIntosh ventures into YA lit for the first time with this combination of urban fantasy, magical realism, science fiction and adventure. In this world, the bizarre seems normal, the fantastical follows its own rules and within these rules, anything can happen.

 

Jill Ratzan matches readers with books in a small library in southeastern Pennsylvania.

This article was originally published in the February 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Burning Midnight

Burning Midnight

By Will McIntosh
Delacorte
ISBN 9780553534108

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