Author: J. Barton Mitchell
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Length: 374 pages
Source: eGalley via NetGalley
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.
Protagonists: This book focuses one three characters, the first one we meet and the one whom this book focuses on the most is named Holt. Holt is a closely guarded person, he does everything on his own because the only person he can count on is himself. Then there's Mira, a smart and cunning girl who is faced with an impossible task, one which just got harder since being taken by bounty hunter Holt. Finally there's Zoey, a sweet young girl who doesn't remember who she is, just her name. She's strange and seems to always know things, where to go, who to trust, and what to do. As this book goes forward these characters grow closer and grow as individuals. I really enjoyed these characters, while they aren't as compelling as some of the characters I've read, I still enjoyed watching them grow and develop over the course of this book.
Romance: There is actually very little romance in this book. I almost feel bad for even adding this part in here, but since the romance was still very much present in the story I felt compelled to. The romance in this book is between Holt and Mira, it's fairly obvious right off the bat that they're going to have at least some sort of romance, however I really enjoyed that it wasn't grand or overshadowing. Instead there's just talk of feelings at first, innermost thoughts that we see through third person narration, but there's also chemistry and romantic tension there as well. There is a hint at a possible love triangle down the line so I'll be interested to see how that all turns out.
World-Building: In this post apocalyptic world where an alien invasion has invaded Earth, nothing is as it seems. We get a fairly vague overview of what's going on in this world, the fact that there is a weird Tone that forces most adults into a zombie-like state leaving only the children to survive with their free will. I kind of wish we got a better idea of what's going on in this world, though I expect that there is still a lot left to learn in future installments and I understand that giving away too much now will ruin things for the future. Overall, I enjoyed the world-building, there were a few things that don't really make all that much sense, but they're easily forgiven, and I can't wait to learn more about the mysteries of this world.
Predictability: Looking back over this book I'm trying to remember all of the twists that occurred and which ones I saw coming, and apart from a few obvious big picture ones there isn't all that much that I was able to see. There are quite a few twists in this book, some have very subtle foreshadowing and some have none at all. I was really surprised with how many things caught me off guard. Normally I'm very intuitive when it comes to twists, but since the author didn't want to give up too much information too early there weren't all that many times when I saw something coming.
Ending: Gah! The ending of this book is great, although it's highly reminiscent of the ending to the first season of a cult classic cartoon. I won't say which one, but I'm sure when the time comes you'll figure it out if you're familiar with that TV show. There are a lot of choices made in the final climax of this book, things that will indeed have insane repercussions to these characters. The final battle, and it is a battle, was intense action packed and everything I needed in this book. The cooldown period hinted at some possible plot points for the next book and led into the traditional first book plateaued ending where if you need to wait to read the second installment it won't be too tortuous.
So, I thought about this rating a lot, I was on the fence between this and four stars and at the end of the day, while I really enjoyed this world and these characters, and like I said I can't wait to continue this trilogy, it just didn't grip me in a way that I felt merited more than three and a half stars.