A Review of THE SEVERED TOWER by J. Barton Mitchell

The Severed Tower (Conquered Earth, #1) 
J. Barton Mitchell
400 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: November 19th 2013
Source: Hardcover from Publisher
Rating: LOVED

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.

Second book syndrome: commonly known as the disease that attacks and makes authors fail miserably when they try to write a sequel. So far no author has escaped unscathed. That is until J. Barton Mitchell arrived.

And his book, “The Severed Tower”, was anything but a miserable fail. It was, in fact, completely and utterly amazing. More thrilling than any book I have read in a long while. And that’s saying something since I just finished reading Orson Scott Cards’ “The Lost Gate”. Because even though Midnight City (the first book in the trilogy) was mediocre at best, JBM was able to rebound strongly and come back with this winner here. Not to mention that he completely blew the roof off my expectations (they weren’t really that high!) and the end of the book, while not really a cliff-hanger, was thrilling and amazingly well-written, and the least few lines still left me craving for more. Something that the first book seriously lacked and another thing that I thought JBM wasn’t able to pull off.

The only horrible thing about the plot, was something that’s in a lot of books these days, especially after The Hunger Games. And yeah, I’m talking about that lame and extremely pointless thing… the love triangle. But this book just doesn’t have a love triangle, it’s far worse than that. There is, in fact, a love rectangle. And usually it hurts just to read through the love triangle, so reading through this sappy love rectangle stuff almost killed me. So even though the book is fairly thick, you’re probably wanna skip through that and the boring biology and other science stuff. But the plot, nonetheless, was really complete and awesomely written, and the ending and I know it sounds like a broken record here, but the ending truly is unique and amazing.

Even though JBM did a decent job with his characters in the first book, he stepped up his game with them the same way he did with everything else in his sequel. In my review of the first book, I said I didn’t like how little we knew about Holt (the main character) well apparently JBM heard me and the story line you’ll get on the most important characters will blow you away. The other thing that surprised me was that even though I knew JBM was good at shaping his characters, I didn’t he was so good that he could make you feel for some of the Assembly (the bad dudes).

The setting, not really a biggy in this one since JBM pretty much laid it all out in the first one, so if you remembered most of what happens in the first book imagining the setting should be easy. But if you sorta kinda don’t remember that’s also no biggy cuz I didn’t, and JBM quickly lays down everything all over again and your back in the world of Holt Hawking and of course Max.

The cover was boring and too bright compared to the title, contents, and prequel. I was hoping for a cooler symbol after getting that nice one in Midnight City, but no. And of course, if you read the review you’d know by now the book earned the five stars I’m giving it.

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This review was written by my 15 year old brother


Asma is a cat-loving co-blogger at IceyBooks. She's a 15 year old homeschooler who spends her time blogging (obviously), reading, and whatever else strikes her fancy. She's also a part time pirate and assassin.