May 6, 2015 • Cee • Reviews

omega cityOmega City by Diana Peterfreund
April 28, 2015
Balzer + Bray
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* E-ARC courtesy of Edelweiss + HarperCollins

The first middle grade novel in an exciting new series from acclaimed author Diana Peterfreund, perfect for fans of The Goonies and The City of Ember.

Gillian Seagret doesn’t listen to people who say her father’s a crackpot. His conspiracy theories about the lost technology of Cold War–era rocket scientist Dr. Aloysius Underberg may have cost him his job and forced them to move to the middle of nowhere, but Gillian knows he’s right and plans to prove it.

When she discovers a missing page from Dr. Underberg’s diary in her father’s mess of an office, she thinks she’s found a big piece of the puzzle—a space-themed riddle promising to lead to Dr. Underberg’s greatest invention. Enlisting the help of her skeptical younger brother, Eric, her best friend, Savannah, and Howard, their NASA-obsessed schoolmate, Gillian sets off on a journey into the ruins of Omega City, a vast doomsday bunker deep inside the earth,.

But they aren’t alone inside its dark and flooded halls. For while Gillian wants to save her dad’s reputation by bringing Dr. Underberg’s secrets to light, there are others who will stop at nothing to make sure they stay buried . . . forever.


I received this book for free from Edelweiss + HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “It started with a fire.”

What do you get when you cross Cold War secrets and children trying to save their dad’s reputation? You get Omega City!

Things you’ll find in Omega City: lost Cold-War technology, a rocket scientist named Dr. Aloysius Underberg who disappears from the face of the world, a historian/ex-professor with a lost reputation, government cover-up, determined kids on a mission to save their parent’s reputation, a space-themed riddle, gun-toting bad guys, an underground city that was a doomsday bunker, and many more.

Sounds awesome, right?

Reasons Why You Should Read Omega City

  • There’s a treasure hunt about a Cold War technology that will keep you entertained. 

    • The treasure: a lost Cold War technology—a battery that was rumored to last for a hundred years—created by Dr. Aloysius Underberg.
    • The puzzle: a space-themed riddle that would have any astronomy lovers intrigued.
    • The clues: a missing page of Underberg’s diary, a dedication plaque, and the solar system.

Hands down, one of the best parts of the book!

  • These characters will do anything for family and for each other.

You want family-oriented characters? Omega City has that!

You have headstrong Gillian who will stop at nothing to prove to the world that her dad’s not a crazy conspiracy theorist, but a historian whose book is completely factual; an apprehensive Eric who may not believe their dad’s reputation can; a loyal Savannah who’s best friends with Gillian and always on her side; an intelligent, but socially awkward Howard who is obsessed with space; and Nate, Howard’s older brother, who acts as a guardian for the kids on their adventure and defends Nate against any complaints or insults.

  • What the kids find is an underground bunker—the size of a city—that has a secret of its own.

This underground bunker is the size of a city, guys.

When an apocalypse happens—when it’s no longer safe to live on the surface of the Earth—Omega City is the place to be. At least, over 26 years ago. It’s filled with buildings—some intact, and others in ruins as if a bomb had gone off—and many levels, rooms (like a cafeteria or full of water) for different purposes, and traps. It’s insanely amazing. It does get a bit tedious to the point it’s hard to imagine because Peterfreund is extremely prolific.

The City was a hybrid of Grasshopper Jungle (because of the bunker bit) and Inception (particularly the buildings in Cobb and Mal’s dream world) mashed together.

  • The characters have a deep appreciation for astronomy.

Space is love for these characters.

Astronomy plays a huge part in everything Dr. Underberg ever did, the puzzles that lead to the treasure, the reason the Seagret kids go to Howard for help. Seeing how astronomy is presented and the role it plays make me appreciate it even more than I already do.

  • It encourages people to be themselves and promotes acceptance.

You see these characters embracing their intelligence or their weirdness. It’s something that everybody can relate to—like pretending to be another person to fit in. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it sends a great message for young readers, who may be going through the same things.

  • The stakes are high. 

A lot is at stake in this book, and it’s not just reputation. Lives are at stake here. At any moment, the characters in Omega City could die. Their lives are threatened by bad guys with guns, hidden Russian traps, huge whirling fan blades, possible drowning, and remains of the City’s ruins that could crumble any minute. It’ll make you anxious to see if these kids will make it out alive.


Omega City is only the beginning. Who knows what else’s in this world. (I’m hoping for more puzzles.) I shall wait patiently for the next book in this great Middle Grade debut by Diana Peterfreund because oh boy, guys, I am strapped in for this ride.

If you’re looking for a well-crafted Middle Grade book full of adventure, conspiracy theories, puzzles, and a weirdly awesome underground city, Omega City is that book you’re looking for!


3 Responses to “REVIEW | Reasons Why You Should Read Omega City”

  1. Lola says:

    I already have this book on my to-read list after reading some great reviews of it and your review makes it sound like a book I would enjoy with the puzzles and the close group of friends. And that underground bunker as big of a city sounds awesome. Great review!

  2. Alexa S. says:

    Omega City sounds like it would be such a fun read! I definitely have my eye on it, and I really enjoyed how you broke it down for us in this review :D

  3. acps927 says:

    I don’t read MG but I loved Diana Peterfreund’s For Darkness Shows the Stars universe, so I might have to look into this sometime!

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