ARC review of Valley of Fires (Conquered Earth #3) by J. Barton Mitchell ~ Review by Fallon

Valley of Fires (Conquered Earth #3) by J. Barton Mitchell 
Release Date: December 2nd 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books     

5 Out of 5 Stars

Author Description:

The sci-fi tour de force series set in an alien-invaded post-apocalyptic world concludes as the teens must unite Earth’s disparate survivors to overthrow its alien invaders once and for all.

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 only affects the population once they reach their early twenties. Which means that there is one group left to resist: Children. In Valley of Fires the trio of kid heroes -Holt, Mira, and Zoey- are forced apart to accomplish individual quests if they are to have any hope of uniting what reamins of Earth's disparate survivors against its alien invaders.

Mira ventures west to bargain with Van Cleef, the enigmatic leader of North America's most infamous resistance group. But Van Cleef has his own plans to end the conflict, a destructive solution that might actually work...but at a horrible cost. Meanwhile, Holt travels with Ravan and Avril back to the one place he swore he would never return: Faust, the sprawling and dangerous desert city of the Menagerie pirate guild. He goes not only to resolve his issues with Tiberius, its tyrannical leader, but to enlist the Menagerie in the fight to save Zoey. Except Tiberius has his own problems. Factions within the Menagerie are splintering, and word of rebellion is beginning to spread. If Holt wants the Menagerie's help, he might have to help his greatest enemy in exchange.

Traveling separate paths with little hope of safety or reunion, Holt and Mira bring this thrilling, genre-bending series to an utterly unforgettable close.

Fallon's Review:

Thank you J. Barton Mitchell and Thomas Dunne Books a St. Martin's Press Imprint for this ARC for an honest and fair review.
Zoey has been captured by the Assembly and Holt and Mira finding themselves on very different courses in an effort to save her. Holt is heading with Raven back to the Menagerie hoping to be pardoned from his previous crimes against their leader Tiberius. Mira is on her way to join the resistance to fight to save Zoey. Both Mira and Holt are separated but before they even part they find themselves faced with tragedy and choosing to fight for the majority over their personal emotions.

Mira really finds her backbone again in Valley of Fires. She seemed a little lost and beaten down in Severed Tower but I think she finds strength in the fight. Even through loss Mira seems to grow. Here is my favorite quote from Mira with no spoilers. "Each of weak. Each of us has doubts. Each is afraid. Some admit to it, others don't. Either way, you have all taught me that strength is not an absence of fear. going forward in spite of it." Mira finds the strength to inspire.

Holt finds himself up a creak with the Menagerie. All is not forgiven and Tiberius is seeking vengeance.  Holt arrives to the Menagerie broken and lost. Raven is trying to reach him but efforts seem to be lost. Rebellion is stirring among the Menagerie and in this power hungry group anything can happen. The Menagerie remind me of the hierarchy in Mad Max. The way they take power and throw people in to fights to the death and if you are strong enough to come out you can appeal for your life. Can you really trust the powers that be in a society such as this?

Zoey's journey was a very emotional one. Seemingly trapped by the Assembly Zoey soon discovers it is only herself setting up these boundaries. We also get to see all sides to the Assemble and not all of them are ok with doing whatever it takes for survival. Some seem to have a line that they will not cross. Zoey also soon discovers once the Alien simulate with the humans not all humanity is at a loss. 

J. Barton Mitchell was impeccably detailed with Valley of Fires. He poured out every part of himself in his writing in this book.  I found myself swooning, crying, griping the pages and proud of the characters I had come to know. It got a little steamy which was kind of like wow yah nice. Not inappropriate. I love that he still kept his harder edge to the majority of the story but he added a softer side when needed. I have to say I was very moved and even brought to tears. This is a must read and if you have not read the series then you need to start. I am giving this book 5 out of 5 stars.

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