Midnight City by J. Barton Mitchell

Conquered Earth, Book One
Available Now!
ISBN-13: 978-1250009074
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin, Pages: 384
Read An Excerpt, and here!
Available at Amazon, B&N, Goodreads
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.

Concept art by Evan Cagle

IB Teen's Review of Midnight City:

This story is Epic.
Being comprised of an alchemical mix of sci-fi, action, dystopia, romance, and just enough fantasy that Midnight City really marries these genres into elegantly fashioned storytelling gold. Each facet of this story is minutely thought out, imagined, and painted on each page. You see each apocalyptic landscape, and you feel the mechanical horror of the invading alien forces. The action is almost constant, but it would be incongruous to the world they live in to have a quiet moment last for any great length. This world is a savage danger-filled gauntlet that its inhabitants must traverse for daily survival.

Our conquered blue planet is nothing like you know it now. It is more reminiscent of some alien landscape than anything we would recognize today. This post-apocalyptic setting is filled with newly created monsters of all kinds. And most survivors are split into gangs who are at war with each other just as much as they war with the alien invaders.

Strange Lands

Most interestingly, the invasion and conquering of Earth brought the creation of both The Strange Lands and the Midnight City metropolis. One is a place where the laws of science and logic have new meaning, a place that is still cloaked in mystery and is seemingly magical. The other being Midnight City, which feels like it is built on a game-like principle where points are attached to everything, and the hierarchy and value of each citizen is predicated on the point value earned by the individual or gang. You are constantly playing this often bloody and never-ending game for points and privilege.
Midnight City's massive chalk board score wall.

On the road, the characters cover a lot of ground, letting the readers see the varied vistas Barton has created in cinematic proportions. And the characters mirror the setting they inhabit. Holt is from above ground and he reads like he really belongs in a movie, in a game, or in a place where awesome resides- a place like this book! His kick-ass-ness is such that when referencing him, you have to use all caps when spelling the word HERO. He is a character that does the impossible to survive. He has an enduring spirit, who has been molded and hardened by toll the invasion has cost him. He believes in his capabilities, and he is steadfast in his formula for survival: don't let anyone in, and always calculate the odds. Sure he bends his own rules, but his adaptability is a part of that crazy knack of his to survive.

Mira is like Midnight City; complex, mysterious, and having a Rubik's Cube-like mix of skills and agenda. She could be the most talented Freebooter, and is possibly the most elusive target for a bounty hunter like Holt to tract down, but she has this laser focus on the things she believes she HAS to do that trip her up. She plays big, and her success is as massive as her failures are catastrophic.

None of the characters (save for Max!) fully has all cards on the table. There are still some major twists that will be thrown into the tenuous mix of their success and survival. It makes speculation on what can happen in book two rather exciting to contemplate.

Midnight City is a tale of nearly inescapable danger, a multi-POV storytelling experience that allows readers to see a truer version of the characters and their world. Putting this book down for sleep was a strategic move on my part to make the experience last longer. J. Barton Mitchell is my newest hero, wherever his mind takes us, I will follow. This was a riveting nail-biter, and is the kind of story that will stay with me for a long time. The wait for book two will be endless.

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