Does the Severed Tower grant wishes or death for the children of the Conquered Earth?
Teenage Freebooter Mira, her bounty-hunter boyfriend, Holt, and their young, strangely powerful charge, Zoey, survived the destruction of Midnight City and are on their way to the Severed Tower at the heart of the Strange Lands. There, reality is warped by deadly Anomalies, and only experienced Freebooters with instructional Lexicons like Mira’s survive. However, several factions of Earth’s conquerors, the alien Assembly, are after Zoey for different reasons. When one of them snatches Zoey and Holt, Mira must team with the pirates known as the Menagerie, who have placed a price on Holt’s head and have business of their own in the Strange Lands. Mira must overcome self-doubt as she tries to fulfill her promise to Zoey to get them to the Severed Tower. Mitchell’s second Conquered Earth title would be rough going without knowledge of the first, especially near the beginning. But action will keep pages turning, as the characters are constantly in peril. The mechanisms of the artifacts created in the Strange Lands are clearer than in the series opener, and the science-fantasy explanation of the tower itself is good fun, as is the setup for Book 3 in a much-changed world.
A good-enough read to make it worth plowing through the first weighty installment to get to this one—and that’s something. (Fantasy. 14 & up)