Article 5 (Book #1)
Author: Kristen Simmons
Paperback: 362 pages (ARC version)
Publisher: Tor Teen
Published date: January 2012
FTC: Received ARC from Tor Teen
A few months ago I started Article 5 and then 50ish pages into it or so I got distracted by a shiny new book and put it away. Two days ago I needed a quick book I could speed through while waiting for some library books to come in. I grabbed Article 5 and had no clue I'd devour it in less than two days. This is going to be a hard review because this is the type of book where I wanted to slap the crap out of the main character the ENTIRE time and after I finished I was quickly looking up when the next book was coming out.
Back of the book:
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. have been abandoned. The Bill of Rights has been revoked and replaced with the Moral Statutes. There are no more police - instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior - instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested don't usually come back.
Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.
In the three years since the war ended, Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random house inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.
That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And what's worse, one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings...the only boy Ember has ever loved.
Ok. There's going to be rants and tiny spoilers because arg...I just wanted to seriously slap the crazy out of Ember.
This is dystopian fiction so the U.S. that Ember lives in is fascinating. I really believed the world Kristen Simmons built even though she left out a lot of back story. Who started the war? What sides fought and what happened? We know some cities are abandoned, some cities are deserted Red Zones (but not nuclear deserted, just cleared out), and we know a side won. But did they win the whole U.S. or just parts? I'm hoping that in her next book she goes more into that part (Sorta Spoiler) because it's going to focus more on the Resistance.
This is dystopian but it's mainly a romance a.k.a. there's got to be some kind of obstacle between the star-crossed lovers. While I have no issue with this, it seemed like instead of the obvious obstacle of the dystopian world or any number of cool things she could have used, the obstacle was Ember's naiveté and selfishness. Again. Slap!
The characters: while the whole story is from Ember's perspective and she was the character who just grated my nerves all the time, I really got sucked into the story because of Chase Jennings. What an interesting character he seemed to be: a boy who lost his family, who got drafted into the military, and who obviously has a post-tramatic stress thing going on. Ember. What to say about Ember. Perhaps Kristen Simmons wrote her spot on. The entire time I was wanting to slap her and shake her because she was so naive and selfish. But then again this is seventeen-year-old and I'll be honest and ask who wasn't a selfish naive person when they were seventeen? I totally was. I'm hoping that in book #2, Ember grows up and becomes someone I can root for and maybe Kristen Simmons will do some alternating chapters from Chase's perspective.
Remember how in the beginning I said that my interest kind of tapered off in the first 50 pages? Without giving you a spoiler - keep reading. I kept thinking that the majority of the book was going take place with Ember being in the rehab place. It's not. Keep going.
End result? While not the perfect dystopian novel or even romantic story, while I seriously had issues with the main character, and while I really wish Chase would ditch Ember and the book would be about him, it ended up being a book I enjoyed and am looking forward to book #2, Breaking Point. Head over to Tor Teen on Facebook and right now you can enter to win Breaking Point.
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