Series: Article 5 #1
Published by: Tor Teen on January 31, 2012
Genre: Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Romance, Science Fiction
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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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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 usually don't 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 for her 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.
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 home 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 one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.
The cover for this book is awesome. AWESOME. Just… yeah. I’m pretty sure I drooled all over my copy.
Article 5 wastes no time getting started. Chapter 1: Ember’s mother is getting arrested. BANG! I loved that. We jumped straight into the story! The only thing I didn’t like about that, was that I then had no idea where the story was headed. The blurb gave us nothing beyond her mother getting arrested, which happens immediately. So I’ll give you a little teaser in case you want to know more about the story (no spoilers though!). Ember gets taken away to some sort of “reform” school for girls, which is all about whipping them into shape (sometimes literally) and training them to be proper women who follow the Statutes. But all Ember can think about is how she has to get out of there to rescue her mother. Eventually, Ember finds herself on the run with Chase (“the only boy Ember has ever loved”) and together they try to find a safe haven, away from the soldiers.
Kristen Simmons created a fascinating dystopian world in Article 5. The world is clearly in some sort of post-war crisis and they think that an overbearing government will help keep everything under control. One thing we never learn is exactly why the world is the way it is. We know there was a terrible war, but we don’t get many details on it. How did the United States go from being “free” to cracking down on control? The transition between freedom and control is still very unclear to me — how did it happen? I’d really love to know the answers to these questions and I can only hope they’ll be addressed in book 2!
This book had a lot of intense emotions, which I loved. Ember had a great mind and was always reflecting and analyzing situations. The story was told in third person, but I feel like we got a great glimpse into her thoughts. She has to deal with Chase having changed, with the idea that she may never see her friends again, and worry about her mother’s safety. However, there were also times when Ember was really annoying. Like when she freaks out because Chase almost kills a man while trying to protect her from getting raped/killed. Ember completely freaked out and tried to run away from him. I mean, really? It’s not like Chase was killing a guy in cold blood.. he was trying to save her life! But by the end of the book, Ember develops into a much stronger character.
My favourite part of Article 5 was the way that Kristen Simmons contrasted the present Chase with memories from their past. We’d get a look at Chase how he is now: cold, hard, and distant. Then, Kristen flashed back to a memory from 1+ years earlier, where he was soft, sweet, and loving. It was really heartbreaking to see the difference and it made me constantly wonder what Ember was wondering: what happened in Chase’s life as a soldier that completely changed him? The romance and tension between the two characters was intense, devastating, and hopeful — all at the same time.
Unfortunately there were times when Article 5 felt slow. In the middle, the bulk of the story was just Chase and Ember alone together, traveling across the country, and trying to find safety while staying under the radar. It was just traveling, some occasional talking, and a lot of reflecting. There were long stretches where it felt like nothing was really happening. And I also noticed a lot of repetition. While I enjoyed a lot of Ember’s “reflections” (as described in the earlier paragraph), it did get pretty repetitive. Sometimes it felt like every single page had something about how Chase had changed so much, or Ember wondering why he was different, or Ember remembering the past, or Ember worrying about her mom, or Ember thinking about how she’d never see her friends again. I really felt like I saw some sentences more than once. One example:
He smelled of the woods and faintly of soap.
Article 5, Page 244
I literally saw that twice. And there were other ones that repeated about how Ember “suddenly realized she’d never see Beth again.”
But Article 5 was still a very strong, emotional, and interesting book. I’m officially stalking the series and can’t wait to read Breaking Point! (February 2013 — seriously?? :().