Sunday, July 22, 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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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. (from GoodReads)

This was a 2012 debut and a dsytopia, so I was super excited to read Article 5. But while I enjoyed the story, there were some issues that I hope will be addressed before the sequel is released.

Let's start with what I liked. The plot was extremely fast-paced and a lot happens for a book with only about 350 pages. Most of the book Ember and Chase are on the run, and they gets into many shenanigans. I liked that there was never a dull moment. I was also a fan of the ending - Ember finally shows the reader what she's made of and it makes her a better character.

Now there's more that I didn't like, unfortunately. Besides Ember's redemption at the end of Article 5, she is an extremely annoying character. She has conflicted feelings for Chase, because she used to be in love with him, but now he's a hardened soldier for the regime. This makes total sense, except it would be better for all involved if she just discussed this with him. She goes from hating him, to loving him, to fearing him on a whim and we repeat this cycle every few chapters. Most of their relationship woes were based on willful miscommunication, which was used mainly as a plot device. She also refuses to listen to Chase even though he is more knowledgeable and even runs away a few times which screws up their plans.

Also, the reader never gets a definitive reason why the United States has become so rigid. All the rules are now based on morality, so now out of wedlock births, no holding hands with the opposite sex, that kind of stuff. Supposedly there was a war, but I don't understand why that would cause this kind of regression. I really hope it will be a addressed in the sequel, because if not that is a total cop-out and is lazy writing.

Like with most books, I had issues with Article 5, but they weren't so bad that I couldn't enjoy the story. I hope the second book is better because I'm interested in seeing what happens next.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: from library.

2012/Tor Teen/362 pages.

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