Book: Article 5 (Article 5 #1)
Author: Kristen Simmons
The cover’s a bit chilling. You can see a girl and a guy just surveying the ruins of what must have been a great city. Initally, I thought they would be one of the few survivors of the city. However I was wrong. Either I came up with something completely random or the cover’s misleading. Assuming the second, the cover gets only 3/5. Sorry.
It’s set in future USA. The time’s not specified but USA is effectively being run by a military regime whose head was a voted President. The President was voted in hopes of stabilization after a war between the rich and the poor broke out. Instead he threw the entire country into a harsh dictatorship which is based on 8 moral conducts. Failure to submit to any of these rules result in imprisonment and execution. Religion, the definition of a family and the clothes you wear are all changed by these articles. The protagonist of our story gets locked into a detention center after her mother violates article 5 (thus giving us the title of the book). She spends most of the book trying to escape it and it’s violent head. When she finally does escape, she’s in a crazy car trip with her fugitive ex-boyfriend. Kristen Simmons does a great job of showing how chaos and panic have set in. Big cities have been deserted and smaller cities are overcrowding. Everyone has to stand in lines at the soup kitchen. Although it’s not explicitly stated, it’s heavily implied that there’s been a high rate of inflation. Food, water, gasoline, etc. are all hard to get. But this is more because nobody has any money, than about any real shortage.
(Taken from goodreads.com)
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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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
Ember’s a bit of a damsel in distress. Even though she tries rescuing herself several times, she’s forced to depend on others for help. She has a bit of a holier-than-thou attitude (which kind of pissed me off but characters shouldn’t be perfect) but will do anything for the people who she loves and trusts. That’s why I think the blackmail fit her character really well. I know a lot of people were horrified by it, but I think the blackmail is the second best part of the book. Here she reveals exactly how desperate she is to save her mother. That was another unique thing- the mother had to be saved. In most books, it’s a younger sibling or best friend who has to be saved. Kristen Simmons made the plot more refreshing by making it necessary to save the mother. The mother is a bit outspoken and is brave (braver than the heroine,) yet sometimes these qualities are what gets the mother into trouble. It doesn’t really seem like she need saving, but the heroine is convinced she does need saving. And I think that’s what helps make this character most human: she thinks she knows what is best for everyone, but don’t we all?
Rachel was the kind of girl who I was sure I would hate at the beginning. She was the fake candy-floss sweet girl. But then we find out it’s all a cover. I was surprised- but this was definitely a good surprise . She turns out to be the loyal friend and even more loyal girlfriend. It’s heartbreaking what happens to her. I hope we see more of her as the series progresses.
Sean…I think I almost prefer Sean to Chase. He’s so sweet, even when he has been blackmailed. Loyal too. I think his story is the saddest in the series, yes this includes his girlfriend’s. But through it all, he still remains funny and lovable. Towards the end of this book, he’s almost like a brother to both Chase and Ember. I really love the banter between the trio.
Chase is swoon worthy. I’m not joking. He’s the best friend who grows up to be more (in most YA books, only the guy wants the friendship to become more). Then he becomes the dangerous, hot soldier who is such a cliche in these type of books. (look under romance for more).
Brock is the first villain. She’s like a muggle umbridge; she inflicts corporal punishment while pretending to be sweet and lady-like. There’s not a single redeemable quality in her. Gah! I intensely hated her throughout the course of the book. She didn’t bite the bullet yet, but I still have hope. There are two more books left in the series.
Tucker is the villain of the piece. And he’s Kristen Simmon’s masterpiece. From the very beginning, he seems to have a perverted, sleazy interest in Ember.
“His green eyes blazed with desire; such a different look than I’d known before. Chase had studied me, reading my feelings. Tucker was only trying to see his own reflection. Disturbing on several levels.”
But before you groan about love triangles, let me tell you that he’s only interested cause Ember is Chase’s girl. Jealousy and ambition seem to be his driving forces but eventually they lead to his downfall. Is it just me or does he sound brainwashed here?
I’m a damn good soldier. I did what needed to be done.
I love how the authoress takes a cliche like a love triangle with the bad boy and the sweet guy and puts both guys into one. Confused? Yeah Ember is too. She refers to the pre-soldier Chase as ‘her’ Chase and the soldier as ‘a stranger’. In the book Chase deals with PTS and this just makes him more humane To be honest, before that, the soldier kind of freaked me out too. He not only deals with Post Traumatic Stress, he deals with guilt too (you’ll find out why by the end).
“I wondered what he’d done that had been so terrible that he wouldn’t accept even an ounce of kindness from another person. It seemed impossible just then that I could ever hate him more than he hated himself.”
Both of these things put a serious dampener on the relationship for quite a while, but when it get’s going…it get’s steamy quickly. Too quickly for me, but then to each their own.
Although there’s action in the book, it’s not very well described. The author says stuff like he kicks, he punches, he breaks his arm. And it’s good but it’s not great. The motions are all very vague and it takes effort to picture them. Kristen Simmons tries but in the end, it doesn’t play in your head like it does in Gone or in Angelfall.
There’s a lot that is left to be explained. But I understand that this is a series and that there are two more books to go. I’m dying to know what Three is and who Roy was. Chase’s uncle is another character who I think will have an interesting story. I have high hopes for Tucker too; I predict his story will be one of redemption.
Though there are a couple of new terms, they instantaneously stick. I think the hardest part to get over, for me was the sisters of salvation. They are treated so badly by men, yet women are supposed to look up to them as role models? Ah well, it’s a twisted world.
Overall recommendations: 4/5
There’s something which makes this book click. I don’t know if it’s the awesome characters or the moving plotline or just the flowing writing style. Maybe it’s a combination of all three. Whatever it is, this story works and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.