Midnight City (The Conquered Earth #1)FeaturedHot
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.
Midnight City is the breathtaking first novel in the Conquered Earth series, and a stunning work of imagination from debut author J. Barton Mitchell.
MIDNIGHT CITY is a fast-paced, action-packed novel that races from one scene to the next. Danger runs high as our heroes navigate a world crawling with aliens bent on dominating every last human on Earth. You can tell that the author is a screenwriter. Every scene flows into the next as the characters encounter disaster after disaster.
Though survival is now the predominating force in this bleak world, the characters haven't lost their humanity, a delicate balance that the author captures well. Morals may have changed, and the characters may think they've hardened themselves against feeling attachments, but they still question their own actions.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The writing is what bogged me down the most while reading. There's heavy info-dumping at times and the science didn't make sense to me. I would actually consider this more fantasy than science fiction (which is what I was expecting from an alien invasion novel). The writing can also be repetitive, with phrases repeatedly exactly multiple times in the book.
The Final Verdict:
If you like plot-driven novels and action movies, MIDNIGHT CITY is the book for you.
Midnight City is a bit of dystopian mixed with the alien invasion genre. The story has a sense of desperation in a world that has been destroyed and the hope of what might be. The story line is wildly imaginative with genuine characters like Holt, Mira, and Zooey. They are likable and interesting from the very start.
I felt at times I was being thrown into the action, and not very sure how to get a grasp on everything. The main characters are out racing alien machines and raiding an ancient nuclear reactor. But once they final reach the Midnight City, the pace picks up and the book is hard to put down.
Midnight City is a fantastic thrill ride that is full of action and appropriate for all ages. It is fun read.
Holt Hawkins, one of three narrating protagonists, was 12 when the aliens invaded and acted as extraterrestrial Pied Pipers, stealing away anyone over the age of 18 by using a magical transmitted frequency. Holt, however, is immune to the frequency, so at 20 years old, he’s sort of an old-timer.
Enter Mira, expert in the “magic” the aliens brought to earth with them. Also enter Zoey, a little kid with “magic” powers that also have to do with the aliens.
Enter aliens, who want Zoey because she’s some sort of “chosen one” or whatever.
Cue national search-and-destroy mission and three kids on the run.
I’d say that has the makings for a pretty good plot, all told.
It was honestly a nice change for the main character to not actually be the “chosen one” or “the most special of all specials” for once. Holt was a normal guy, except that he was immune to alien magic, but even then he was hardly one of a kind. He was a refreshing change from the norm.
Altogether, Holt, Mira, and Zoey were nice, likable characters. I was interested in their individual stories and invested in their success. I would, personally, have wanted a bit more depth in their characterization and motivation, but what J. Barton Mitchell gave me wasn’t bad.
Where Midnight City and I had a disagreement was over the action scenes. Confession time: in any given book, action scenes bore me. I just cannot get engaged in those parts. Problem was, Midnight City has a lot of “fight scenes”—I struggled with them, not going to lie. I think Mitchell is a good writer, if a bit wordy, but that type of thing is just not something I enjoy in a book.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Midnight City. I most certainly did. I just think that I would have liked it more had things been different. Either way, though, Midnight City was far from being a waste of my time, and J. Barton Mitchell’s Conquered Earth series is one to watch out for.
So, yeah, I love this book. It's got all of the sorts of action and aliens that a sci-fi girl could want plus really good characters. The story follows Holt, a bounty hunter who's on the run, Mira, who can create fantastical tools using items that seem to have magical properties, and Zoey, a little girl with memory loss who Holt rescues from a crashed alien ship who is far more than she first appears. They live in on a version of Earth that has been conquered by a mysterious alien race that they refer to as the Assembly; Assembly aliens seem to be light or energy based creatures, and I hope we get more info about them in later books. The aliens have basically captured all of the adults, and almost all children are infected with something that is called the Tone, which seems to be a mind-control virus that becomes worse as they grow up; when they reach adulthood, they fall under the influence of the Tone and walk themselves to the nearest alien home base. Harsh. Those who are immune to the Tone are called Heedless, and Holt just happens to be one of these. I'm sort of in love with Holt. I mean, really, a lonely, sarcastic, surly bounty hunter with a dark past whose main goal is survival, plus he has a dog, plus he's very capable, plus he's witty? Yes. Oh, yes, he is good, and just a very enjoyable character besides his inherent awesomeness; he screws up, makes mistakes and has goofy moments. Mira is kick butt and very clever, and I think she'd be an awesome best friend for anyone. She and Holt have a great love-hate-admiration-annoyance thing going on; it was fantastic. Max and Zoey are great sidekicks, and I hope we discover more about Zoey in the next books.
I guess if I had any problems with this book, it was that they spent a lot of time running away from the Assembly...I mean, a lot. Which was sort of necessary, but maybe some of the running bits could be cut out or shortened. Besides that, I really liked the book, everything from the characters to the setting to the plot.
I was very satisfied with the ending of this book. With most YA books, I'm a little shriveled twist of discontent emotions, often quite upset at the current predicament of characters that I've come to enjoy. With Midnight City, I was happy with the ending, though it's not exactly happy and it definitely left me wanting more. It's hard to describe, but I just was really pleased with the ending that Barton provided. I think anyone who is a bit of a sci-fi nut might want to give this book a try!
Thank you, NetGalley.com and St. Martin's Press, for letting me read the galley of this book!
Holt, Mira, Zoey and Max are the main characters. Three human (maybe--Zoey is under contention because reasons) and a dog. A dog. One of those loyal, intelligent, slobbering creatures who I can't ever remember playing a major role in any YA I've read. But in Midnight City, Max is as important to Holt and the other characters as an human, with a distinct personality that's all his own. I loved him and everyone else in this book.
Another aspect I loved were the Strange Lands artifacts. There was something scientific in the way they could be constructed to become different tool, something reminiscent of Chemistry and Physics that appealed to the science nerd that is me. And the author remembered that it took time to make these things, they couldn't be ready for use instantly, which added extra sense to the wonderful action scenes.
Any problems I had were small ones. The plot was slightly predictable sometimes--I could pick up a general idea of what was going to happen, but the details could still shock me. There were times when it felt like a particular phrase or adjective was used too many times in a matter of pages, which can get on my nerves but is also something I know I am guilty of in my own writing. And I need to know more about the aliens. Please. They're really interesting and I want to know their motives and how they work and everything!
ARC received by St. Martin’s Griffin via LibraryThing
Release Date: 10-30-2012
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Mystical, Mysterious and Malevolent
When I first read the synopsis for Midnight City, I was intrigued; but not really sold. I had that same outlook that I get when I see ANOTHER end-of-the-world alien movie coming out. You know the attitude—seen one, seen them all. I will say, with this book, I was pleasantly surprised. Hooked from Chapter 1, Mitchell kept me guessing, page by page, mystery by mystery, and near-death experience by near-death experience.
This book wastes no time getting to the good stuff. Straight off, I was thrown into a post-apocalyptic barren wasteland where it’s everyone for themselves. It’s kill or be killed. Betray or be betrayed. This world doesn’t have the luxury of time or calm or even love. In fact, love is the thing most likely to get you killed. As a result, Holt and Mira are both loners, highly skeptical of anything and everything—but they must learn to put aside those instincts and embrace each other—because the future of the world rest of their shoulders, as does Zoey—the key to it all.
I really enjoyed watching Holt and Mira bicker and torture each other. They are both such powerful people and are used to getting their own way, so when you throw these two in a ring, it’s wham-bam! Who is out for the count, though? You’ll have to read for yourself; and trust me, you’ll enjoy every minute of it.
My favorite part of this book was the paranormal aspects of the world—the Shadowlands. Things that originate there have some sort of magical quality—put them together and you can be invisible, create light, or even fly on the wind. I loved watching the new things that Mira made, and it gave a much needed mysticism to the plot. The thing that bothered me: the details! It got really confusing when Mira was mixing this coin with that essence and blah blah blah. I don’t need to know how it happens…just rub them together and show me the result. I tended to skip over the ritual parts and go right to what happens next.
Zoey, the little girl with powers, was cute and innocent; yet you didn’t know if you could trust her. I liked watching her cling to Holt and Mira, but then start to discover herself along the way. I have a feeling she’s going to be clutch as the series continues.
The suspense and mysticism were amazing—and I really look forward to these aspects in the next installment.
So, what bugged me?
There were some elements that were just too much like Independence Day and Signs and War of the Worlds. They didn’t feel original, and part of me felt cheated at the similarities.
There wasn’t enough romance woven throughout the action. It needed a softer touch to relieve all the tension.
Overall, this was a thrill-ride of a novel. And the ending? Let’s just say I have a feeling Book 2 is going to be even better!!!!! I highly recommend this to sci-fi lovers and those looking for something a little different than your regular dystopian or paranormal book.