Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Book Review: Article 5 (Article 5 #1)

Release Date: January 31, 2012
Author: Kristin Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Length: 362 pages

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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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.



Protagonist: Ember Miller begins this story as basically a helpless girl ripped from her mother who will do anything to get her back. She can be reckless, impulsive, and hot-headed. Over the course of the book however, she begins to grow and learn from her mistakes. She learns to channel all of those things and use them to her advantage. At first I wasn't really charmed by her character, I thought she was alright but wasn't really wowed. By the end of the book I was practically out of my seat and cheering for her. She's a well developed protagonist and narrator.

Romance: Under normal Ya conventions I would label this romance at borderline insta-love, because by the end of their journey Chase and Ember's romance has developed really fast, but then I have to remind myself that these two people have known each other their whole lives and as seen through flashbacks these characters have been in a relationship of sorts before. Looking at it from that angle this romance is really real and very well crafted. It's not all puppy dogs and rainbows, but it's also not constant drama trying to tear these two apart. Their relationship is really sweet and unlike some other YA romances I've seen it's for all intents and purposes a very healthy one.

World-Building: Have you ever wondered what the country would be like if prudish and sexist religious extremists took over our government? If you have this is the book for you. Honestly, I'm usually deterred by series that show religion, any religion, in a negative or antagonistic way, but this series did it in a way that focused less on the religious aspects and more on what these extremists mandate. While I would classify this series as dystopian, there are some aspects of it that cross-over with post apocalyptic, which in turn makes for some very creepy moments. Such as Ember stumbling upon a crazy lady in the dirtiest trailer I've ever read about, who has the butchered carcass of some poor animal rotting and festering in the corner. The imagery is spectacular and mixed with a great premise and world it's a home run.

Predictability: On a very base level this book was fairly predictable. With it being a dystopian there was a formula that was followed which made for some easily predicted moments. That being said the specific details and the events are what really make this book pop. While I could easily guess one thing, it was the actual fleshing out of the event or twist that really threw me for a loop. How cruel some people could be or how intense and high voltage this book is revealed to be really caught me off guard and put me on the edge of my seat.

Ending: So the final climax was probably my favorite part of this book, it really showcased how much Ember has developed since the beginning and really sent this book off in a great direction. The actual end of this book, much like the end of many other first books in a series, plateaued at the end. Things are resolved for the time being and while the next book in this series is already out I'm sure that at the time it alleviated a lot of readers' stress about the wait between these first two books.


Of course I have to give this book 5 crests, it was incredible and I'd say that anyone who enjoys and good dystopian or even post apocalyptic series will greatly enjoy this first installment. It had everything,action, adventure, romance, a road trip, and of course a bad guy that you can love to loathe for the rest of the series (hopefully.)


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