The Severed Tower by J Barton Mitchell
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.
Holt and Mira’s pasts come back to haunt them in this dramatic sequel. Mira confronts an old boyfriend. Then, flashbacks of the two of them continue through the story which I found to be a bit confusing when they first began. And Mira finds out about Holt’s history with the pirates and what made him leave. Meanwhile, Zoey has to confront a branch of The Assembly that want something from her, and finally give her some answers. And she eventually has to make a hard decision that effects the past and future for her friends and the rest of the world.
This post-apocalyptic alien invasion story is dark and exciting. Since it’s been about a year since the previous novel, a recap would have been helpful, but I made do without as it was a unique enough story that I remembered the main highlights of the story. Exciting events build to a climactic conclusion with Zoey and the Severed Tower. And we’re left with a bit of a cliffhanger and plenty of questions still looming that will leave readers eager for the next installment.