Saturday, September 8, 2012

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

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 The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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

I really liked this one; I thought it was one of the better dystopian’s that I’ve read lately. I liked Ember and Chase quite a bit. Ember did seem a bit impulsive at times, not really thinking things through. Which would be fine, but it did end up getting other people in trouble or put people in danger and that kind of bugged me. I would have liked if she had taken the time to think things through a bit more. On the otherhand I could also understand her urgency and how the dangers of the situation would cause you to act without necessarily thinking. I thought Chase was great, the brooding silent type, and also knows you to kick a little butt (especially if you mess with his girl). To me it was obvious that he cared for Ember, but he sure does a good job of pushing her away. I guessed what his secret was right from the beginning.

I thought the story moved along well. I was hooked from the first chapter and each chapter usually ended with a cliffhanger which of course kept me reading “just one more chapter”. There are some violent themes and situations; some reminded me a bit of the holocaust. It definitely shows how giving any government too much power is a BAD thing. While there are some disturbing things, I thought it was handled pretty well and wasn’t overly descriptive.

I admit, I was a bit confused at times. I wasn’t always sure of the timeframe with the relationship between Ember and Chase. There are a few flashback/memories along the way and eventually I think I was able to figure them out. I was also never sure how far into the future the book is supposed to take place. It wasn’t way way into the future, but it also seemed like the events going on couldn’t be this close to our time. If that makes sense. I also wondered what happened to all the people. I mean, I know there was a war that lasted awhile, but it also talks about how certain big cities had been evacuated, but never really made clear where they evacuated to. Who were we at war with? Why did us being at war make the government come down so hard on its citizens? Maybe I just missed some of the explanations.

Overall, it kept me reading, I liked the characters and I look forward to reading the next book.

Content: Maybe a handful of swearwords, a few mild innuendos (Ember and Chase's relationship was clean), and some violence.

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