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Review: Midnight City by J. Barton Mitchell [ARC]

Monday, October 29, 2012 § 1 Comment

Title: Midnight City
Author: J. Barton Mitchell
Series: Conquered Earth (Book #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release date: October 30, 2012
ISBN-10: 1250009073
ISBN-13: 9781250009074
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
In a post-apocalyptic world controlled by alien invaders, two teens and a young girl with mysterious powers embark on a dangerous journey. What they find will change everything...

Earth has been conquered. An extraterrestrial race known as The Assembly has abducted the adult population, leaving the planet’s youth to fend for themselves. In this treacherous landscape, Holt, a bounty hunter, is transporting his prisoner Mira when they discover Zoey, a young girl with powerful abilities who could be the key to stopping The Assembly. As they make their way to the cavernous metropolis of Midnight City, the trio must contend with freedom fighters, mutants, otherworldly artifacts, pirates, feuding alien armies, and perhaps most perilous of all: Holt and Mira’s growing attraction to each other.

My Review:
Eight years ago, an alien race called the Assembly invaded Earth and emitted the Tone, a signal that caused the adults of the world to forget their lives, board the alien ships, and never be seen again. Holt Hawkins is a Heedless, a human that is immune to the Tone. In order to survive, he's taken to hunting bounties. After losing everyone close to him to the Tone, his only companion is a dog named Max. Together they cross paths with two others named Mira and Zoey. Mira has a high price on her head, and Zoey can sense things that the others can't. The four of them set out to survive and make their way to Midnight City, where more adventures await them.I'm such an avid fan of authors creating unique and mystifying worlds. Mitchell does exactly that with this book as the descriptions were so detailed that I started picturing everything in my head. The image that formed in my mind freaked me out and really didn't look like a place that I wanted to live in, which I guess was the intention. As good as a world without parents may sound to some, it calls for a quick case of growing up. The main characters were around 18-20 years old; they were old enough to take care of themselves, but still young that they needed that guidance that only a proper adult can provide. Too bad they're all brainwashed and being held somewhere. The titular Midnight City has this kind of Lord of the Flies vibe to it, and the kids that reside there have developed a whole system for how things work. It's insane in the best way possible.

The characters were all strong and very interesting. From past experiences, there are authors that can write switching perspectives really well, and some that just don't. Mitchell accomplishes this feat well, I just wish there was more focus on Zoey, the 8-year-old who might just hold the key to saving everyone. The book switches perspectives between the characters, mostly Holt and Mira, with an occasional look into Zoey's mind.You'd think that being the key would be enough reason to include her more, but at the same time it makes me look forward to the rest of the series. Sometimes not revealing too much makes it even better in the long run. Holt and Mira have the typical relationship of initial-loathing-turned-into-love, but Mitchell gave it a new twist with the captor/captive aspect. It started with them on the same level in terms of survival skills. Because of this, they clashed and saw each other as enemies, but it evolved into mutual understanding and respect and grew into something more, especially on Holt's end. I hope we get to find out more about how Mira feels. Also, special shoutout to Holt and Max's relationship; very sweet companionship between them.

I think the only setback for me was the pacing of the story itself. Sometimes it all came on very strong; there were spots where the event felt like too much at once and the feelings between Holt and Mira were more intense. Just a small qualm, but overall it was an enjoyable read.

There's a kind of StarCraft meets War of the Worlds type feel to the book, so I'd imagine that a lot of sci-fi enthusiasts would be interested in checking this out. I was never much of a sci-fi book fan, but Midnight City certainly changed my opinion. I love that there were still some mysteries left unsolved by the end. My fingers were itching to grab the next book already. The books officially comes out tomorrow, October 30. Be sure to look for it!

A huge thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with the ARC.

My rating:

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