I can find your hope again. I can show you that great things can happen. Even right now.
Zoey in MIDNIGHT CITY by J. Barton Mitchell

Eight years ago, Earth has been conquered by extraterrestrial invaders. Since these days, the aliens, known as The Assembly, have broadcast a telepathic signal that ended any resistance. The mind control signal influenced the brains of all adults who then left their families and jobs, marched toward the nearest Assembly Presidium and disappeared forever. Only children and teenagers were left behind, unaffected by the signal, but turning adult, more and more of them also succumbed to Assembly control.

With all military crushed on the planet, most of the population subdued, there is not much hope left for the human race. It seems impossible that children who hardly know anything about fighting could form an effective resistance against the aliens, even more as they seem more interested in killing each other than uniting and facing the invaders. The very depressing perspective is that The Assembly will take more of the adolescents every day and it won’t last long until there isn’t anyone left behind.

In this society, Holt, a young bounty hunter, is transporting his prisoner Mira, when they find Zoey, a little girl who has obviously something about her, but who also needs protection. Although Mira and Holt are enemies at the beginning, they have to learn to work together when they want to survive and protect themselves and Zoey.

They have to face horrible feuding alien armies, zombie-like mutants and also a lot of not so well-meaning members of their own human mankind. Starting as a group of loners who don’t trust each other, they have to stick together and finally form a team that might be the beginning of hope …

Artwork by Evan Cagle

When I first read the blurb I was attracted by the scifi dystopia mix. I like both genres but never read this kind of mix, before. This year’s book market is full of YA dystopian novels and I’ve read a lot. In my opinion J. Barton Mitchell’s start in his THE CONQUERED EARTH series is one of the best of them. The author created an absolutely imaginative new world with awesome and very likeable main characters and interesting side-characters and enemies. The central persons Holt, Mira and Zoey and not to forget the central dog “The Max” were unique, bad ass and ordinary at the same time. I liked how they grew together, pushing away prejudices, fear, old habits, mistrust and selfishness. There were many situations when I had to laugh out loud when Mira and Holt outwitted each other or the author described “The Max’s” behavior. Most of the time I was at the edge of my seat what might happen next in that perfectly described frightening world full of horror. The story was complex but on the whole not too difficult to understand. Mitchell’s fast-paced narrative-style didn’t leave room for long and boring information passages, he chased his protagonists and with them his readers from one major event to the next. Some parts remained a mystery, for example how the artifacts worked or why some people were not affected by The Assembly. I hope that the author unravels these riddles in the next book(s).

In a nutshell – MIDNIGHT CITY is an awesome start of a new series that sucks the reader immediately in its imaginatively described world. I badly want to read more of Holt, Mira, Zoey and Max. Hurry up with the sequel Mr Mitchell – PLEASE!

Five stars – highly recommended for fans of science fiction and dystopian literature of all ages.

The review is based on a copy provided by the publisher St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of the book.

Midnight City
J. Barton Mitchell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
ISBN 9781250009074
ISBN-10: 1250009073
Pages: 384
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
Reading Level: Ages 13 and up


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