January 5, 2013

Review of Midnight City (Conquered Earth #1) by J. Barton Mitchell


Lord of the Flies meets War of the Worlds in J. Barton Mitchell’s alien-invaded post-apocalyptic world where two teens and a young girl with amazing powers must stop the aliens’ mysterious plan

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.

add to goodreadsMidnight City (Conquered Earth #1) by J. Barton Mitchell
Publication Date:  October 30, 2012
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin

Available for Purchase:
amazon / B&N / TBD / indiebound

I couldn’t find a trailer, so here’s a song!
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** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

MaryAnn NewMidnight City by J. Barton Mitchell was more than what I had initially thought it would be.   In a world where the site of anyone over the age of 20 is a rarity, it was reminiscent of The Lord of the Flies with a sci-fi element that I devoured.  Midnight City is a jam packed story full of adventure and a budding romance in a dying world.

Midnight City follows the path of one Holt Hawkins, a bounty hunter, and his faithful dog, Max, as they  set out to conquer the one hunt that will make his life a little easier to live in a world over ridden by aliens.  His current target, Mia Toombs is not at all what he expected.  She is smart, independent, and a survivor, and she will stop at nothing to get what she needs and above all else, to survive.

As their paths cross, not only are they battling each other, but they must also face the paths ahead riddled with untrustworthy opponents and alien machines, with minds of their own, that will annihilate anything and everything that comes in their way.  As they make their way to Midnight City, where Holt is determined to get his money for capturing the ever elusive Mia, the learn of other alien beings that are similar to the ones they have feared their whole life.  More machines, decked out in various colours, who have made their presence known.  And it seems that all these beings have one goal in mind, a little girl that Holt and Mia have picked up along the way…Zoey.

Holt find Zoey tied up and trapped inside a burning shell of one of the machines that have been shot down by one of the other machines.  On the outside, Zoey is your typical innocent 8 year old girl, but there’s something else hidden deep within her that will change the course of all their lives, forever.

Together, all three make their way towards Midnight City and have formed a bond that can only get stronger when trying to survive.

Midnight City by J. Barton Mitchell is an amazing dystopian sci-fi read.  Although there is the element of a romance in the story, it does not over power this action filled read.  Right from the beginning to the very end, we witness the various scenarios that pop up when trying to survive in an alien filled world.  The action scenes kept coming, one after the other, and was a non-stop thrilling read.  I could easily picture the events unfold before my very eyes, and am really hoping that this stunning read will be a movie.

I can already picture the different pyrotechnics and the imagery that could be projected on the big screen.  The storyline is gripping and had me on the edge of my seat pretty much throughout the entire read.  The characters themselves are ones that you can’t help but fall in love with.  It was  so exciting to watch Holt, Mia, Max, and Zoey foil their foes time and time again, and at the same time wonder which event will end up being their demise.  I really enjoyed the elements of these special objects found in the Strange Lands that, when put together with other various every day, miniscule objects, can be used as a powerful weapon or an object that can get you out of a pinch.

What I did have a hard time believing was the age group of the kids found in Midnight City.  Whether it’s out on the paths during their travels, or within the walls of Midnight City.  The way in which they carried on their conversations, or themselves for that matter, were more adult than youth.  I totally understand that due to the situation handed to them, they are forced to grow up fast…well beyond their years, but I have a hard time grasping that an 8 year old can be so cunning and deceitful and carried themselves with the tone and authority of an adult.

What I did really love was Holt’s character.  Yes, of course I crushed on him.  How could I not?  His survival instincts, his loyalty to his dog, Max, and his memories of his family and his love for his sister Emily.  I loved seeing his vulnerable side, and then seeing how strong and goal oriented he is.  If the world were to end up like this book, I sure as hell wouldn’t mind having a Holt of my very own.  Heck, I even loved Mia!  With her ability to thwart Holt time and time again.  I loved how her mind was constantly working to get ahead.  To get ahead of her enemy so that she can live to see another day.

With a plot that keeps you guessing, various twists and turns hidden throughout this story, strong characters (both main and plot building), Midnight City is one read that you don’t want to miss out on.

About the Author:

J. Barton Mitchell is a creator and writer of speculative fiction, and the author of the science fiction YA novel series CONQUERED EARTHpublished by St. Martin’s Press. He has sold screenplays to Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox, and created the comic book series POE for ‘Boom! Studios’.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


  1. Jenea W

    Glad you enjoyed this. I though that Holt was an awesome character. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  2. This looks like a good one! Totally going on my list.

  3. Ashley

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this book! It does have some pretty cool elements in it. I think the reason I didn’t enjoy it more is because we never really learn ANYTHING about the aliens. That disappointed me a bit. :(

    Great review!

  4. Totally true! I was hoping we’d learn more about where they came from, why there’s more than 1 kind, their purpose for coming to earth. But I was totally sucked into the survival/romance part of the story. Hopefully, more will be explained in book 2!

  5. Ruth

    Haven’t heard of this one before, sounds awesome though!

  6. I really enjoyed this one as well. I hope we get a bit more answers in the next book but overall I was pleased with it.

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