Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: Midnight City by J. Barton Mitchell

Midnight City (A Conquered Earth Novel)
J. Barton Mitchell
Published: October 30, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Available: Amazon


Earth has been conquered by an alien race known as the Assembly. The human adult population is gone, having succumbed to the Tone---a powerful, telepathic super-signal broadcast across the planet that reduces them to a state of complete subservience. But the Tone has one critical flaw. It only affects the population once they reach their early twenties, which means that there is one group left to resist: Children.

Holt Hawkins is a bounty hunter, and his current target is Mira Toombs, an infamous treasure seeker with a price on her head. It’s not long before Holt bags his prey, but their instant connection isn’t something he bargained for. Neither is the Assembly ship that crash-lands near them shortly after. Venturing inside, Holt finds a young girl who remembers nothing except her name: Zoey.

As the three make their way to the cavernous metropolis of Midnight City, they encounter young freedom fighters, mutants, otherworldly artifacts, pirates, feuding alien armies, and the amazing powers that Zoey is beginning to exhibit. Powers that suggest she, as impossible as it seems, may just be the key to stopping the Assembly once and for all.

Midnight City is the breathtaking first book of the Conquered Earth series.


Midnight City is a complex tale that weaves together a post-apocalyptic story with aliens and magic. Barton does an amazing job of focusing on both world building and character development, not sacrificing one for the other.

Holt is a great main character. He has a depth to him that is continually exposed in increments through out the story. His personal experiences with the Tone have left him jaded, without turning him into a complete jerk. He comes across as very real with his fears and insecurities mixed with his strength and determination. Mira was also very interesting. She had a sassy, tough side to her, but it didn't define her. She also came across as caring and vulnerable without ever seeming weak. I loved how she was constantly planning and never felt like there was no way out of a bad situation.

The chemistry between Holt and Mira is obvious from the first meeting, but it doesn't consume the story. This is not a romance novel. It is a Science Fiction book with a bit of romance thrown in. And despite being a romance addict, I was perfectly all right with that.

The biggest issue I had with Midnight City was that the alien technology was pretty much exactly like War of the Worlds. It's extremely hard not to notice the sticking similarities, even if you're like me and have only seen the Tom Cruise movie.

Ultimately, what I love about this book and had me putting aside the WotW similarities is that Midnight City is a story for boys and girls. One of the biggest complaints I hear about YA books is that there aren't enough books that appeal to boys. Midnight City is one of those that I think has the potential to do so.

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