Title: The Severed Tower (Conquered Earth #2)
Author: J. Barton Mitchell
Release Date: November 19th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC from author
Holt, Mira, and Max have fled Midnight City with Zoey after watching her repel an entire Assembly army. Zoey's powers are unlocked, but who and what she is remains a mystery. All she knows is that she must reach the Severed Tower, an infamous location in the middle of the world's most dangerous landscape: The Strange Lands, a place where the laws of physics have completely broken down. But the closer they get to the Tower, the more precarious things become. The Assembly has pursued Zoey into the Strange Lands. Among them is a new group, their walkers and machines strangely bereft of any color, stripped to bare metal, and whose agenda seems to differ from the rest. To make matters worse, the group hunting Holt are here, too, led by a dangerous and beautiful pirate named Ravan. So is Mira's first love, Benjamin Aubertine, whose singular ambition to reach the Tower threatens to get them all killed.
Then there's the Strange Lands themselves. They have inexplicably begun to grow, spreading outwards, becoming more powerful. Somehow, it all seems tied to Zoey herself, and the closer she gets to the Tower, the weaker she becomes.Quotable:
Compassion comes in all kinds of flavors. But they don't all taste like pumpkin pie.
Holy cheesecakes—The Severed Tower was amazing! The book picks up a few days after the events of Midnight City, and I was so easily sucked back in to the author's crazy, perilous world. A bulk of the story takes place in the Strange Lands, and I imagine navigating the deadly, constantly-changing landscape was a nightmare for the characters, but for the reader who's safely tucked in a corner, it's a whole lot of fun.
The Severed Tower doesn't waste time with history lessons of what happened in book one, instead thrusting us straight back to action. This may confuse those who read Midnight City a while back, so I suggest a re-read before diving into this one—which is exactly what I did, so it certainly feels like I've been living in this fictional world for days now. I feel sad to be leaving it until the next book is out.
Part One in the first book was quite a struggle for me to get through, but The Severed Tower's was such a breeze. New characters are introduced, people from Holt's and Mira's pasts who give us a deeper knowing of just who they had been. Yep, I'm talking about love interests. I won't discuss them in great detail to avoid tiny spoilers, but know that the distorted love square frustrated me. But then the Assembly started firing their plasma bolts and blowing things up, so what little stagnancy that brought was quickly ended.
A number of mysteries had to be solved in this book: Zoey's real purpose, why the Strange Lands was getting even more insane, and the Assembly. As if the heart-pumping action wasn't enough to keep me reading, these ticking time bombs had me at the edge of my seat. I looked at each lengthy chapter and told myself, "Just one more", but it was simply too hard to stop. And aside from the Menagerie and other Freebooters, another group of characters added color and kickass to this book: spear-wielding, post-apocalyptic ninjas who could see without their eyes. Their reckoning brought totally-unexpected tears to my eyes.
Everything about The Severed Tower is eerily close to perfection. Action-packed and unpredictable, this is one of the most fast-paced books I've read this year, maybe even ever. This sequel gave answers as much as the first book held them back, and the ending was nothing if not a shocker. Just give me the next book already!
MY FAVORITE PART was Zoey getting her answers.
Thanks to the awesome peeps at St. Martin's Griffin, one lucky reader from US/CA will win a copy of this book!