Burning Midnight by Will Mcintosh
Published by Delacorte Books on February 2, 2016
Source: Publisher, Netgalley
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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Burning Midnight gave me fond memories of Pokemon, with people trying to find the rarest spheres and collecting them. The coloured spheres have different abilities that get progressively cooler depending on how rare they are. Want to become better looking, improve your hearing, get a higher IQ or my favourite – read faster? There’s a sphere for everything. The spheres are hidden in random places across the world, in the wilderness, in structural buildings, in rivers and ponds and no one knows how they appeared. This concept was actually pretty cool and I enjoyed learning what each sphere was used for.
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.
Sully is a sphere hunter who makes a living by selling them at the flea market. At the start I really felt for Sully’s character, as someone who had lost his father and was just trying to feed himself and his mum. But as someone who’s gotten scammed once before by the big sphere collector Holliday, he seems to trust Hunter and the other people at the market quickly and easily.
He progressively continues to make these mistakes throughout the book, by listening to Hunter’s whims instead of trusting his own instinct. After he was specifically told – you can’t trust anyone when it comes to million dollar rare spheres, he invites all of his friends along to find the rarest sphere. I could just see it all backfiring before my very eyes – and I was right.
While I liked how fiesty and resourceful Hunter was, and how useful she was at hunting down spheres, some of her decisions went against logic – just like Sully. Why would you decide NOT to put a million dollar sphere into a safety deposit box, and instead hug it to your chest at night? I’m pretty sure anyone could have stolen it from under your nose. And why would you take it around with you when you KNOW that Holliday can take it from you with force? Seeing these kids make stupid decisions time and time again just annoyed and frustrated me.
The ending was quite rushed and completely takes you by surprise, taking a strange turn to explain the origin of the spheres and where they came from. It’s completely unexpected, and it gets really, really weird especially what happens with Hunter.
This isn’t a story about retribution against someone who cheated you, or about bettering them. Burning Midnight was surprisingly philosophical, sharing a cautionary tale of greed and of opening Pandora’s box. It’s about learning to realise and appreciate what you have in front of you instead of pursuing more riches – to what end will you stop? Will you keep it to yourself or share it with others? What starts off as an innocent adventure can quickly turn into greed, and it doesn’t have it’s consequences.
Although I struggled with some of the character decisions and the strange ending, I enjoyed Burning Midnight’s unique, action-packed adventure with an interesting and philosophical premise. It’s also a standalone, so it’s satisfying to have everything resolved in one book.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Thanks to Random House Children’s Books for the review copy.Reawakened by Colleen Houck
Published by Hodder Paperbacks on August 13, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Mythology, Fantasy & Magic
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From COLLEEN HOUCK, New York Times bestselling author of the Tiger's Curse series, comes the first book in a series about a teenage girl entangled in an epic Egyptian quest full of romance, adventure, and mythology!
When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.
And she really can't imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe.
But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.
From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.
When I was in primary school, I was obsessed with Egypt and wanted to become an archaeologist. I thought there was nothing cooler than excavating tombs and uncovering ancient artefacts. Needless to say, my expectations have been adjusted since I was 10 years old, but the fascination with Egyptian Pharaohs and mythology has never ceased. That’s why Reawakened really appealed to me – who doesn’t want to meet an Egyptian Sun God reawakening in the modern day world?
I’ve read one another book, The Chaos of Stars which failed to deliver on the Egyptian setting, and I really liked how the Egyptian mythology was incorporated into Rewakening. It’s actually set in Egypt and the mythology is naturally woven into the storyline, which was done really well. We learn of the ancient Egyptian tale of the dark God Seth and his sidekick Apophis and their plans of plunging the world into chaos. Amon is an Egyptian Prince who wakes every 1000 years with his brothers, to conduct an ancient summoning to thwart this evil from occurring. He also has a host of cool powers, such as teleportation, absorbing others’ energy and calling forth a Golden Falcon to do his bidding.
In just a few pages, we meet the book’s main character Lillian, the perfect, prim and popular straight A rich girl who I refer to as Mary Sue. Lily likes to refer to her meticulous habits and how perfect she is at every turn, using it as the pivotal point for why she chooses to throw caution to the wind. Apparently this girl is a thinker, but she quickly lets Amon’s smooth, tanned skin and set of perfectly formed abs sway her into embarking on a dangerous Egyptian adventure. Lily is snobby, entitled and shallow, which is why I never really connected with her.
Lily also has extremely high standards for a boyfriend (my eyes bugged out when I read this):
Now I knew exactly what my type was. It didn’t have to do with eye color, or height, or how muscular his frame was. It was that elusive quality, so difficult to capture. I wanted someone who loved me so much he’d be willing to die for me.
Amon on the other hand, also epitomises perfection. He’s attentive, caring, protective, chivalrous, and incredibly fit and drop dead gorgeous. He’s also an Egyptian Prince with Sun God powers, projecting light from within, which brings a whole new meaning to sparkly love interest. I rolled my eyes at a scene on the airplane, where Lily fended off the hordes of women throwing themselves at him. I liked Amon (because how can you not), but I cringed every time he broke out into a soliloquy over his feelings for Lily:
“Lily, I can honestly tell you that I have never in my long life come across a creature as beguiling as you. You are as fresh and as lovely as a budding flower kissed by the dew of a golden morning. I breathe you in and am filled with the taste of sunshine, life, and hope. You are much more than beautiful. You are…temptation personified.”
The cheese is strong with this one.
My only consolidation is that it wasn’t all about the romance, Amon had a mission and he was hellbent on achieving it. These cheesy lines were scattered between defusing ancient curses, discovering the secrets of a tomb and defeating ancient necromancers, which is what kept me reading. I wanted to know whether Amon ended up saving the world and getting the girl because my god (no pun intended) it was a slow burn romance.
While I enjoyed the exciting adventure incorporating Egyptian mythology, cursed tombs and mythical powers, as well as the hot Egyptian Sun God, there were definitely problems I had with this book. The main character was way too perfect and the cheesy romance grated a bit too much. However, if you love the setting, Rewakened would definitely satisfy your craving for an Egyptian YA adventure.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Thanks to Hachette Australia for sending me a review copy.
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[…] Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan – 4 stars (Review) Reawakened by Colleen Houck – 2.5 stars (Review) Burning Midnight by Will Mcintosh – 3 stars (Review) Of Beast and […]
Well, you already know what I thought of Burning Midnight, so. 🙂 I haven't read Reawakened yet, but I do want to since I did hear good things about it from others. 🙂
I could definitely see how Burning Midnight would remind you of Pokemon. It sounds pretty interesting though!
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Lol it was seriously in my head while I was reading it! Yeah, the concept was interesting lol
I've always found Houck's books to be a cheesefest so I stayed away from Reawakened. I'm glad I did. As far as Burning Midnight goes, I feel like the characters will drive me nuts. :/
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Oh man, I have the Tiger's Curse series on my shelf to read but I don't think I'll get to it.
OH GOD I cannot deal with those cheesy quotes. HAHA. But Burning Midnight sounds pretty interesting – that one turned up on my doorstep and I love the idea of the spheres! 🙂
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Hahahah I know right? Oh man, *insert crying laughing emoji* Burning Midnight was so much fun – I hope you enjoy it Emily!
Oh the cheese. THE CHEESE. It was just not fun to read at all. Well, it was FUNNY to read. I was incredibly sad because I absolutely LOVE Ancient Egypt and mythology as well, so I put this book on hold the moment it came out at the library. And I don't know, I just was expecting great things. Also, I did love it right after I finished it, but then as I sat there, I started thinking about how there were so many negative things, and of course, all the cheese. And I was like "What did I see in this? The action?" SO yeah, I don't know. I might read the second book just to know what happens, but if I can't take it then I'll be DNFing.
As for Burning Midnight, IT DOES SOUND LIKE POKEMON.
Awesome reviews Jeann! A+ on the Reawakened review lol
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Hahaha I know right, it was hilarious in Reawakened, I kept on rolling my eyes and picking out passages while reading it lol. The Ancient egyptian parts were done really well! I'm glad that you enjoyed it, but yeah I gave it 3 stars then downgraded it slightly because of the romance and the character. GLAD ITS NOT JUST ME
I liked Burning Midnight for the most part, even that strange bizare ending. I screamed at them too about how stupid they were being! Most of the book was so predictable and then the author threw that ending at us!
Reawakened sounds like my kind of book, so I'm glad I read this review. I hate main characters like her and that romance is so cringe worthy!
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I know right? I mean they kept on making stupid decisions throughout and it's no wonder why they kept on getting scammed and stuff! It was just so frustrating. I liked Reawakened, but yeah just some things really grated!
I'm sad that Reawakened wasn't better because it sure is hella pretty! Overly perfect MCs and super cheesy romance can definitely kill the mood. Too bad. Hope the next read will be better! Lovely reviews, Jeann!
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It definitely has a gorgeous cover, that's for sure Cyn! Yeah, I mean you have to be in the mood for a lighter fantasy hehe. Thank you!
Houck's book is too young for y taste. Burning Midnight I like the sound of mostly because the lead is male and its penned by a man. I find the male POV very refreshing
Both of them definitely felt a bit young now that I think about it. Yeah, the male pov was done pretty well although the characters weren't developed all that well in Burning Midnight.
I liked the sound of Reawakened until I read those quotes, gosh that's cheesy with extra cheese D: what a pity, it could have been so much more!
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Hahahha I know right! I mean if cheese is your thing, go for it!
I just posted my review of Burning Midnight today as well, and while I liked it more than you did, my big thing was it felt young for a YA book. I think it actually works better as MG. The ridiculous choices they make fits more with that age group. But I did have a blast reading it:-)
I'll have to check it out Tammy! Yeah, it feels young because of the adventures and some of the decisions they made. It was a lot of fun definitely!
I'm very curious about the ending of the first book now. I've seen it around and a lot of people shared the same thoughts as you, so I think I'm going to pass for now.
I'm so sad you didn't like Reawakened, but I completely understand. For me, it was more of a fun, mindless read and I acknowledge that it was pretty cheesy in a few places. Lillian wasn't my favorite character, but Amon was so funny at the beginning. 🙂
Lovely reviews, Jeann! I'm so envious at how eloquent you sound! 🙂
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Yeah, it was really CRAZY I mean if you love crazy endings, would be worth picking up just for the experience! Yeah, you and Faye loved Reawakened but man it was just too cheesy lol. Lily was so annoying! But Amon was definitely entertaining. Awww thank you so much Nick!
LMAO BURNING MIDNIGHT REMINDED YOU OF POKEMON. :'D That's so funny haha. The characters sound like they did some pretty dumb things – like hugging a rare sphere while sleeping. What a novice move! I think I'd get pretty frustrated with them if I were reading.
I have to agree with your thoughts on Reawakened! Like, the romance was superrrrr cheesy. Make that a double, extra-large cheese, AMERICAN style (which is larger portions lmao). But despite that, I still liked it. The pacing felt really weird to me (or maybe it was the writing)? Or maybe it was just the soliloquies that came out of Amon's mouth HAHA. I'm still picking up the sequel though! (although I heard it was such a disappointment, from someone who loved the first book.)
LOL it really did, because they were going after rare spheres and capturing them in the wild and everything lol! Yeah, I just couldn't believe some of those moves they did throughout – it was pretty frustrating.
OH MAN that romance, I wanted to rate it higher but I was just really annoyed at it and the main character? HAHA yeah Amon just kept on breaking out into it and I was like yes yes moving right along.
Oh gosh, the premise for Burning Midnight sounds AMAZING – I totally see where you get Pokemon from it!! I'll definitely be checking out that book though – even though the characters sound a bit logic-defying, that premise is a killer 😀
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It was a really fun premise actually! I really enjoyed it hehe 🙂 glad you're keen on picking it up!
I had a lot of the same issues with this Burning Midnight that you had. Mostly I thought it was written for a much younger audience than YA. Maybe Upper Middle Grade. I was annoyed with the spheres and the lack of world building around them. I know it was meant to keep us in suspense until the end but it just didn't work for me. And the ending was definitely rushed. There were obvious pacing issues with this. And the situations were too easily resolved. Not enough conflict for me. And I disliked the romance, or maybe I just didn't feel it. There was no build up and no connection for me. Overall I liked the idea and thought the writing was quite good. I haven't read this author before. I know he usually writes adult and now that I know that I feel perhaps he was overcompensating on that end trying to write a YA. It was good but not great.
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You can see my review HERE
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I just want to start by saying how much I love the new Happy Indulgence. My goodness it's BEAUTIFUL! It looks so fresh and professional. I think the white background is perfect too, I can see much better now.
I actually finished Burning Midnight not too long ago and I really enjoyed it, but it felt more like a bridge between middle grade and young adult for me. That ending though was a little…Odd. I love that it was a standalone too, I don't think it would have worked as a series, more filler and less storyline.
I love Egyptian mythology too, I think more the conspiracies behind it as well, as an ancient civilisation that is suspected to have sprung from people not of our world. It's a shame that it comes in the form of a self entitled character who sounds so completely judgmental. I thought it looked like a short read, but it's 400 pages? That's one I might add for a rainy day to give it a go, eventually. Wonderful reviews Jeann and sorry you couldn't have enjoyed these a little more <3
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Thank you so much Kelly! We love our site so much, I am obsessed hehe. Glad you liked Burning Midnight, yeah it definitely felt like a very young novel with all the action and everything. The ending was CRAZY though!
The Egyptian mythology in Reawakened was the best part about it, but oh man it was just so cheesy. Thank you lovely!