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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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.
Kristen Simmons is the critically-acclaimed young adult author of the dystopian Article 5 trilogy, The Deceivers boarding-school thriller series, and speculative fiction stand-alones, PACIFICA, METALTOWN, and THE GLASS ARROW. She has co-written the magic-wielding, gladiator fantasies, SET FIRE THE GODS and RISE UP FROM THE EMBERS. Next up: FIND HIM WHERE YOU LEFT HIM DEAD, the start of a yōkai horror duology.
Her work has received star reviews, librarian recognitions, and been nominated for the Edgar Award and Anthony Award for best young adult mystery. Several of her titles are included in junior high and high school reading curricula, and are used in reluctant reader programs nationwide.
Kristen’s writing is inspired by her work with trauma survivors as a mental health therapist, specializing with soldiers with PTSD and individuals in foster care. She currently lives with her husband and son in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she spins stories, herds a small pack of semi-wild dogs, and teaches Jazzercise.
Follow Kristen on Facebook (Author Kristen Simmons) and Instagram at @kris10writes.
I am very sorry if I gave anyone false hope with my earlier updates on this but I was also misled by the beginning of the book. What seemed like a potentially interesting dystopian world became little more than a roadtrip filled with teen romance and angst. It seems that dystopia is the hottest new setting for romance novels, because really, that's exactly what the author was writing. It was only made into a dystopia because of the current trending of this genre.
I mean, let us ask one of the very basic questions that need to be asked when dealing with a dystopian novel: how and why did this alternate world happen? How did we get from the world we know to one where people are sent to "rehabilitation centres" for being born out of wedlock, amongst other things? And why? Is it the religious right, especially the so-called "radical feminists" that seem to hate women more than care about them? There are some elements that are very The Handmaid's Tale-ish, such as the idea that women are seen as inferior, that they are expected to be chaste and submissive to their husbands. But there is honestly no explanation. There's talk of Reformation Acts and various Articles but nothing to suggest why or how it happened. When did things change? Was the old government overthrown or manipulated from within? I haven't a clue.
My first impressions of the novel were actually quite grim but I was distracted for a while with some shocking violence and the general unfairness of it all. I should have listened to my original gut instinct when I read in the first chapter about Ember's lifelong crush on Chase and encountered various poor phrases that didn't make sense. In chapter one! At least put the stuff that doesn't quite make sense in the densest part of your novel where I'm less likely to notice it. I'm hoping careless things like this will be sorted out in the final version:
"One of the soldiers had short brown hair that grayed around his temples, and wrinkles around the corners of his mouth that made him appear too old for his age."
What's that? You can't see what's wrong with that sentence? Well, what's wrong is that the story is written in 1st person and the narrator has never met the guy before in her life. How on earth does she know how old he is? He could be ninety and just look really good for his age! Am I being too picky? Maybe, but this is basic stuff, right? I'm sure many authors believe that the young adult genre is the easy option, that it requires far less effort and lower quality writing... they fill their plots with action scenes, shock factor and lusty romance, and forget all about stuff like world building and characterisation. These things form the very foundations on which a novel is built - they cannot be simply disregarded in favour of a cheap thrill. It will never support a full-length novel.
Also, the protagonist became increasingly annoying and useless as the plot moved along. It wasn't a great message, to be honest. In a world that doesn't care much for women, a strong female protagonist is a must, but her initial bravery and need to save her mother died out and she became gradually more idiotic and ridiculous. Why is there so much morality, anyway? I'm serious. If someone is going to kill you, it's human nature to defend yourself as much as possible, but Ember berates Chase for attempting to strangle a guard who would have otherwise killed him and raped her.
Ember: "You almost killed that guy! You would have if I didn't stop you."
Chase: "They were going to hurt you."
Ember: "So that makes it okay?"
Me: YES!!!! Of course it bloody well does!!!
Do these heroines know nothing about self-preservation? There may be a religious element to the story but sometimes "love thy enemy" is just going to get you killed. Ember is a really stupid character all round. I hate it when really ridiculous things happen in order to move the plot in a certain direction but just end up sounding so unrealistic, like when Ember decides to leave Chase. The only reason she runs away is so the author can slip in another shock tactic. It's like "oh, I don't feel safe with Chase now he's a soldier", so she runs away, bad stuff happens, Chase finds her, and she's all "oh well, Chase is here so I'm safe now..." Are you effin' kidding me? This happens an awful lot... Chase is evil one minute so she runs away or does something equally stupid that gets them all in trouble because she can't possibly stay with him, then they're reunited and it's all wonderful again without a single thought for why she abandoned him in the first place!
By the way, why does Ember keep saying that none of her troubles would have happened if Chase hadn't become a soldier? What would that have to do with anything because she still would have been born out of wedlock and her mother would still have been arrested? Bizarre.
There are some parts in this book where Chase orders Ember around and he even shakes her at one point. The thing is, in any other novel I would have started a rant about misogyny and glorifying control-freak boyfriends... but how could I do that here? Because if it had been a woman who shouted at and shook Ember, I would have congratulated her on not standing for Ember's endless stupidity... so maybe it's me who has a warped view of gender relations? My point being that I never thought for one second that Chase's actions were unjustified.
And so most of the novel is a romance with an annoying heroine... but is it really only worth 1 star? Can't those moments of heated sexual tension persuade me to give it 2 at least? The answer: no. Because the romance itself quickly became irritating with lots of chick flick moments where they both get wounds that have to be patched up... guess where this is going... and they have to remove their shirts and "wow, would you look at those soldier muscles!" Ick. So so much of the teen love angst could have been resolved if they'd sat down and had one conversation instead of pretending they didn't want to jump one another's bones. How annoying.
Many thanks to the publisher for kindly providing a copy of this for review.
this book has crazy-high ratings and here i come in like a monster to muck it all up for everyone.
i just think this book is...lacking. it is another example of what happens when something gets overexposed. do we need another YA dystopian novel? well, i love them, so i would have to say "yes," but the problem is that when the market is flooded, some of the books are going to be waterlogged. and this one just doesn't measure up to the so-many-better ones out there. too many dystopias! leave them to people who can really build a satisfying world!
and it's not dreadful - i never wanted to stop reading it, but it doesn't bring anything new to the genre.
how did we get here???
at least try to come up with something, please. it doesn't have to be the most convincing backstory ever, but give me a reason. why are things the way they are, why are people being executed for these infractions? what happened and who is in charge and why do the rules keep changing and how and when and wtf??
throw me a bone, here.
oh my god, how hard is it to talk to someone??
this is one of my biggest pet peeves in books, where sooo many things could have been avoided with a single conversation. it is the laziest way for an author to create tension - by letting the audience know more than the characters because they just can't possibly say what they are feeling. get a new bag of tricks, this one has been played out.
It really says something about a Dystopian novel where when you finish it, you still have no idea how their society even got that way in the first place. And that kinda confuses me because I thought building a world of discord was the point of the genre. Throwing two characters in a screwed up world without any further explanation besides, "Hey, there was a war!" doesn't work for me. Because it makes it incredibly hard to the reader to picture it in their mind. I'm no expert, but my favorite dystopians are the ones that tie it in some way to our possible future. When I can sit back and say, "Wow. I can actually see this happening to us. This unnerves me," that is a winner. Article 5 was not a winner.
*mild spoilers ahead. Don't worry, I don't think it ruins anything since it was obvious from the beginning anyway.
I'm not sure I could ever consider Article 5 a dystopian novel. I think it is more accurate to call it a Dystopian Romance novel since most of the plot and major twists largely depends on Ember and Chase's relationship. It's like, yeah, STUFF is happening, but none of that matters because Ember is going to make an idiotic decision based on a spat with Chase. And the biggest plot reveal is very obvious to the reader from the very beginning. But the whole point, from what I gather, is the not the actual reveal, but the way Ember reacts to it and therefore how Chase reacts to Ember's reaction. Does that sounds like a subtle mind fuck? Yeah, well, that's pretty much the gist of Article 5. Have something messed up happen to the characters, watch Ember do something stupid, and watch Chase be forced to save her. And I felt like Simmons was trying to prove to me how bad her society was throughout the whole novel that way. It's like trying to make up for the lack of world building by saying, "Look! My heroine was almost raped! See how evil their world is?!" And I'm like, no, that shortcut just doesn't work for me. What about you GaGa?
I had a feeling Article 5 and I were in for a tough relationship with the introduction of the main character, Ember. She is one of the most infuriating heroines I've had the misfortune of reading, throwing any and everyone under the bus in order to get what she wants. And to top it all off, she possess little to no common sense. Just think of Bella in a dystopian world and you have Ember. -_- Yeah, I'm not even sorry I burned that image in your mind.
When Ember is taken away to the reform school, she blackmails someone who tried looking out for her in an earlier scenario, knowing that it would put that person's ass on the line. I can see what Simmons was trying to accomplish with showing how their society had put people in impossible situations that cause them it to be a "It's nothing personal. I don't have a choice," kinda thing. But, of course, since I didn't have a good grasp on the society in the first place, I couldn't readily associate it that way. In fact, neither could Ember. It was like she didn't even know this was a dystopian novel. She blames the love interest, Chase, for all her misfortune and I'm sitting here, scratching my head wondering, "WTF, dude! You have a corrupt government. Why are you blaming the one person trying to help you??" I'm really struggling to understand her line of thinking. Did she think the Moral Statutes were fair or normal? Did she think the government controlling all forms of travel and media was A-OK? Did not the disappearance of her classmates indicate an oppressive government? And even after she discovered her classmates had been killed by the government, why did she think her mother, a direct violator of the Moral Statutes, would be let go? Her decision-making scared me and I hope when the zombie apocalypse hits, someone like her is nowhere near me, because I swear I'm tripping her.
And then you have the love interest, Chase, who puts himself at great personal risk over and over again just to keep Ember (the little ingrate) safe. I felt sorry for this kid because Ember blames him for her mother being taken away just because he was there when she was arrested. As if he personally told the army, "Hey I know of an Article 5 violator who we can go arrest. Let's go get 'em!" The fact that it was painfully obvious that he was just following orders made me dislike Ember even more.
I think a person's overall enjoyment of Article 5 hinges on the romance. Personally, it did nothing for me. Most of the romance takes place over a series of flashbacks over the course of the novel, so I never felt connected to it, especially after the way Ember treats Chase. Ember struggles against her feelings for Chase, saying she can never forgive him for taking her mom or monologuing several times over about how much he has changed since being drafted into the FBR (I can't remember what that stands for nor do I care anymore, but it's their militia). Her inability to accept him can be summed up at worst, to exist solely to further the plot and at best, frustrating. I just wanted to scream at her! "HE SAVED YOUR LIFE!! HE MUST CARE ABOUT YOU!!! SHAKE HER! SOMEONE SHAKE HER!!" GaGa, get in here!
Article 5'ssaving grace was the last 15%. It's the only reason that while I want to give it only 1 star, I'll bump it to two. Ember does grow, but does that erase the frustration and anger I went through for her to get there? Absolutely not. Why? Because I almost didn't finish the novel. I had to push myself to see what happened at the end long after I had lost interest in Ember and Chase's well-beings. The ending finally has Ember thinking, "Hey, I live in a really wrong society, maybe I should start using my brain?" By that time, even though I'm happy she's finally come to this revelation, I'm like,
Article 5 had the perfect premise, especially with the way things are going in the US. But instead, reading it was like watching someone devour the last honey bun at the vending machine - the one you were there for - and they end up throwing half of it away before finishing. Wasted potential.
Imagine a world where Hitler would have won. A world where if you don't follow the right religion, you won't ever be seen again. A world where its against the law to hang out with the opposite sex after curfew unless you're married. A world where being born from an unwed mother can get you killed - or worse. This is life in Kristen Simmons' Article 5. It's a truly frightening world where everyone is helpless against this corrupt government and their inconceivable rules.
There is barely any room to breathe during this story. It's so action packed that I'm surprised the pages can stay intact. This is surprisingly not overwhelming, however. It simply makes it a book that keeps you reading until you turn the very last page. As someone who's read a lot of dystopians, this one still stands out and brings about a new shocking world that can't help but fascinate you. It's not a fun dystopian like Divergent or Uglies where you get a cheerful rush from the new exciting future before it turns ugly. This one starts, and ends, with the characters running for their lives. This is serious from the start; you are scared for them on Every. Single. Page.
Our protagonist Ember is a character that matures tremendously during this novel. She starts off as this timid girl, blind to the cruel world around her, but once her mother is arrested she is forced to grow strong and confident if she plans on surviving -and she does. Although she does tend to self-blame a lot which gets increasingly worse as the stress of the situation builds on her. This is probably the intention of the author, but it can get just a tad frustrating at times. Her incredible determination still makes it easy to root for her. I also enjoyed her relationship with Chase which is extremely rocky, like walking on eggshells. He's been broken by what he went through since the war. Kristen writes his unpredictable state of mind incredibly well.
As a dystopian, Article 5 delivers with a gruesome world, non stop action and heart pounding energy. Fans of Veronica Roth's Divergent and Marie Lu's Legend should get a kick out of this!
Here I am, about to dish out a scathing review on this book, and I made the mistake of looking at the author's profile picture. Darn you, Kristen Simmons-- why do you have to look so unbearably *nice*?? Now I don't want to hurt your feelings! Augh, shouldn't have put a face to the name; shouldn't have humanized the enemy!
Ok, back to the scathing. And here it is: this book is a mess.
From the setup to the characters to the dialogue to the plot, this was a disaster on so many levels. I mean, not that it was super important, but I kind of would have liked to know what exactly happened to bring society to the point it is in the story. There are a lot hints, but not enough information to justify or even explain why things are the way they are: who bombed us? why? what's the structure of the government now? who's really running the show? why the pretense of morality? The best part of a dystopian story is the ugly, bitter reality of where we might be headed, but if I don't understand how we get there, then it's really kind of pointless.
Next, there are the characters, who are just too stale to stomach. Ember is rash and reckless and naive to the point where I wasn't just embarrassed for the character, I was embarrassed for the author as well. She messes up half the situations because she's trying too hard not to appear vulnerable, and the tougher she tries to be, the wimpier she actually appears. She gets on her moral high-horse at the worst possible times and the only reason they get into 'situations' at all is because she opens her fat mouth. Its so incredibly frustrating to read how many times Chase, who knows a heck of a lot more about what they're doing than she does, gives her safety instructions which she then blatantly ignores. Over and over and over. Why? 'Because you're a jerk and you don't understand me and I don't care about our safety as much as I care that you almost killed the bad man who tried to kill us, you freaking monster!' Yeah, its really awful how he keeps saving you and all you do is blame him for all your problems, you ungrateful cow.
I don't get it. Why do the guys always put up with this kind of immaturity?
And good grief, why oh why do we have to suffer through an entire book where the main characters can't hold a regular conversation because they're so hung up on what they think the other one thinks? It's agony to read all the conjecture and misinformation and deception as maturity takes a back seat to pride once again. So stupid! Its one thing to read a book where bad things just come one after another, but when the majority of the bad things are their own fault, it just constitutes a train wreck. And I don't want to look!
One of the things that irritated me the most about Ember was her whole obsession with her mom. We know next to nothing about their relationship except some vague idea that the mom is flighty and there's a bit of role reversal. That's it. So it really doesn't mean much to me as a reader that she's wigging out over her mom all the time, except to think that maybe this girl is a little unhealthy. And since Mom's her motivating factor through every idiotic move she makes, you can see why I don't think too highly of her.
My final gripe is about continuity. There were so many holes where I was flipping back and forth trying to follow a story that only partly made it to the paper. Half-explained, carelessly over-looked details were missing throughout the book, making it feel jerky and incomplete. How do editors miss this kind of stuff? Seriously.
Well, I didn't go as hard core as I thought I would, but I'm sure I'll still get grief for it, nonetheless. And partially, it's my own fault. I've just read too many of these books. I've probably seen the scope of what is out there, but I just keep holding out for the really good ones that are sure to come. They're getting harder and harder to find...must keep looking.
I couldn't continue. I really, really wanted to but the book was really driving me crazy. I made it to 63% so I really tried. Review coming soon. I just need to read something else before I review this so I'm not so irritated in my review.
Ok.. I just wrote this in comments and I figure it can hold me over until I write a review later....
The majority of the reviews on this book are outstanding.
I just found Ember, the lead female character, whiny, self-absorbed, hypocritical, dumb and unworthy of any romance.
I found the world building so completely lacking that at 64%, I still had no clue why there was a war, who fought in the war, why the rules were created, etc.
Ember's obsession with her mom was ridiculous, I don't care if the ending showed her to be the next Queen of dystopian America, Ember sounded like a 5 year old that lost her teddy bear.
The first person narrative was screwy, at one point Ember is saying "he seems taller" and then she's telling the reader "he's 6ft3".
Wow... see this is me ranting... that is why I need to wait to actually write a non-ranting review.
HOLY WOW. If all dystopian books were like this one, I don't think there would be any complaints in the world! Article 5 was everything I expected and more: brilliantly written, complexly crafted, and containing characters that made my heart ache constantly.
This is one of those books you love so much that writing a review for it is scary because you don't want to let it down. Article 5 is so packed with action and twists and turns that it's sometimes hard to breathe. The dystopian world, filled with its cruel laws and even crueler people, is one that sucks you in and makes you SO thankful that you don't live there.
I loved everything about Ember and Chase! They were both realistic, intelligent, and so much stronger in those awful situations than I would ever be. You can see how much they grow and change from even before the first chapter to the end after everything goes to hell. You love them and hate all the terribly people who try to hurt them. It's a flurry of emotion!
And Ember and Chase together were just PERFECT. ♥ Childhood romances have always been a favourite of mine, but the way Kristen Simmons wrote this one — where they've been wrenched apart and thrown back together years later, having to learn to trust all over again — just stole my breath away. Watching them reconnect was so achingly beautiful.
Intensely heart-pounding, original, and action-packed, Article 5 was a debut that gripped me from the first page and left me breathless until the last! It's everything that an amazing dystopian book should be. A definite must-read! :)
BUY or BORROW?: Do you even have to ask??? Definitely a book you need to buy!! You won't regret it! :)
In a market flooded with heroines possessing super-powers/mind-bullets/martial prowess beyond the ken of mere mortals, it is so INCREDIBLY REFRESHING to read a story about an average girl who, through cruel turns of fate, is forced to live through extraordinary events. Is Ember perfect? No. Does she always have the answers? No. THAT'S what makes her so utterly convincing and compelling as a protagonist. There were passages in this book so intimate and beautifully written that I actually felt like an interloper in her life.
Subversion. Defiance. Desperate, struggling humanity in the face of state-sponsored tyranny. This book was engrossing, unpredictable and thoroughly REAL. Loved it.
I could not finish this book, and that's a big deal, because I always finish books. The story just didn't grip me from the start and though it seemed to have a lot of potential to be amazing, it just didn't work.
I think my main problem was with the protagonist. I could not stand her. She was whiny, annoying, and a complete airhead. She was incapable of rational thought and it grated on every single one of my nerves. I had to put the book down.
I had such high expectations because it had just a decent rating and everyone was raving about how good this book was. It just didn't do it for me.
“Dystomance” doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon, and the appetite for YA romance playing out against a backdrop of government oppression remains healthy, judging by the titles storming my goodreads feed. I’ve had varying degrees of success with this particular subgenre, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer those where the romance takes a back seat to the plot and worldbuilding. It’s a personal preference, but I find that the opposite scenario, with the romance centre stage and the world set up to fuel romantic angst, makes for less of a satisfying reading experience.
So while I approached Article 5 with some trepidation, and I would still shelve it along with its apocalyptic and dystopian romance companions, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked this book. I don’t love it and it’s not without issues, primarily of the worldbuilding variety, but this is a solid contender with more substance than a case of tru luv gone awry.
Lately, it only takes accessing the internet or broadly keeping up with global political developments to see that Simmons’ vision of an ultra / neo-conservative (thanks Angela!) United States is not exactly unimaginable. While the book is somewhat sketchy on the rise of this government, the Moral Statues and the war that preceded, the underlying ideas make for a plausible, interesting premise. If the book is rather lacking in explanation (and it is), it does a decent job of creating a stifling atmosphere of control and surveillance by a regressive right-wing government.
During a systematic sweep of the nation to reinstate strict moral codes and “reform” it’s citizens to traditional gender and family roles, Ember Miller and her mother fall afoul of “article 5” of the Moral Statutes, by virtue of Ember’s illegitimacy. Present at their arrest is young officer and Ember’s former neighbour, Chase Jennings, apparently having been completely indoctrinated by the Moral Militia.
The sparseness of back story will doubtless be a major roadblock for some, and that’s understandable. However, to Simmons’ credit, she has crafted a compelling dynamic between the main characters that keeps the book engaging.
Rather than relying on an instant connection born out of inexplicable chemistry, Ember and Chase’s relationship is tied to their shared history and complicated by their present circumstances. Ember is an impulsive, scared teenager fearing for the life of her mother and her own safety. Chase is a conflicted young soldier suffering the effects of PTSD and a burdened conscience. While the development of their story is predictably hindered by one of my pet peeves – a willful lack of communication – the plot maintains a brisk pace and the focus is not entirely on the will-they-won’t-they element.
The characters are better fleshed out here than some comparable reads of late, and Simmons’ incorporation of mental health issues is insightful without being obtrusive and bludgeoning the reader with cumbersome messaging. Chase, in particular, is strong, well-developed character, gradually revealed in more detail throughout the story. And while Ember was not always a character I cared for, I appreciated the fact that she had agency and motivation independent of the romance subplot. As she gains understanding she becomes a more sympathetic character, and one that I warmed to as her story progressed.
The writing of Article 5 is brisk and even - and as the conduit of Ember’s voice, it’s articulate and aware. It’s a fast paced story and a relatively quick read, with compelling stakes and an ending that avoids cliffhangers, yet leaves the way open for Simmons to further develop her characters and the world they live in.
While I would have preferred more detailed development and solid explanation for the premise, I still found Article 5 held its own in a crowded field, and I look forward to reading the sequel.
ARTICLE 5. I didn't know what that was going into the book, obviously. But now that I do, I'm irritated just looking at the words! The injustices described in this novel are horrifying. Gut-wrenching. Tragic. They elicit reaction.
After Simmons settles you into the unfair world of Ember Miller, she takes you on a crazy, world-widening survival ride. If you like post-apocalyptic survival stories, this book is for you. There was a scene in a trailer house that was so isolated, and the scene was so surreal, very well done.
And oh, I don't usually say this, but, there was something about Chase Jennings. Macho soldier guys don't do much for me. But there was something very...capable...about Chase. I thought, if he was my boyfriend, and he went off to war...I'd probably just make him a sandwich. Because he's Chase Jennings. He can handle it. Psh! Have a PB&J! See you next Wednesday.
Article 5 was a pretty awesome book. With the exception of the MC, I really loved the setting, characters, and plot. Kristin Simmons has certainly written a really good addition to the dystopian genre. I can't wait for Breaking Point!
The main character, Ember Miller, wasn't a bad character. In fact, I did like seeing the story through her eyes. She was a remarkably clear, caring narrater. If only I felt like she sorta stood out. I mean, we don't know much about her other than she has a mother, two best friends, and likes to read Frankenstein. Also, sometimes she fails to notice fairly obvious things. Hopefully we come to know her more in Breaking Point.
You know, the more I am thinking about it... I really did think Ember was a good character. *Sighs*. Wow, this is hard. She is realistic and smart (most of the time). Oh...I think I know how to say this... The thing that bugged me most about Ember is her lack of past. Sure, there is plenty of it included. But, like, all of it is about Chase. I need to know a little more about her than that peeps. In that aspect Ember seemed kind of flat.
The plot is killer. I was always on the edge of my seat. Fake IDs, nightmarish schools, and daring escapes. The Soldiers and Articles in our new terrifying america are particularity disturbing and cruel. This dystopian world and rule will now be on my list of most well done.
There are a lot of interesting characters. Chase, Sean, Ember's mom, Rebecca, and many more. I am mostly character oriented when I read and I definitely loved (or at least felt some sort of feeling) for all the characters. Little note: I especially hope we see this certain character, Sean, in the second book. He seems like one genuinely good person. And by the end he was on a hunt to find another real cool character I liked. I want to know if he succeeds!
Of course, in Article 5, there is a lot of drama, drama, drama. Which is something most book lovers like and expect once in a while. But, just a tip, read this book when you are in the mood for it or the plot and characters could get annoying pretty fast.
I really, really liked Article 5. I recommend it to everyone, particularly dystopian lovers.
Don't you just hate it when books you'd been looking forward to with drooling mouths turn out to be disappointments?
Article 5 was one such book (another example is Divergent).
I was expecting action! And awesomesauce fights! All I got were two bickering teenagers in love. I can go to high school for that.
What sets me off most about this book is...wait. Forget I said that. Everything about this book sets me off.
1) The Characters Ember Miller Throughout most of the novel, our dear protagonist remains, well, useless. In the beginning, when her mother is taken away for violating the Moral Statutes (she bore a child out of wedlock), Ember's all begging and crying for the soldiers to let her go (brownie points for scratching one of the soldiers so badly, the marks don't heal for weeks). After that, she seems to progress toward survivalist and independent - she tries to escape from the rehab center run by the evil Sisters and, although she feels bad for using Rebecca and Sean's love against them, she does it anyway... because that's what you have to do to survive a dystopic world.
As soon as she saw her love interest, however, down she went into the depths of insanely moralistic, argumentative and pretty darn stupid. She reprimands Chase for trying to kill a man who would have hurt her, she tries to run away, and trusts all the wrong people, conveniently putting herself in danger so many times that Chase is forced to play "knight in shining armor".
So what if it's been years since you last saw the guy and he isn't acting sappy in love anymore? Look around you. Open your eyes, he was a soldier. Is it too much of a stretch to assume he must have seen some horrific things to have made him that way? Of course not, you need to throw a tantrum every once in a while to "keep things interesting", never actually just stating the reason why you're so mad.
And how believable is it that she's moping around not caring whether she lived or died one minute, and hatching a brilliant escape plan the next? Although I will admit - I thought the whole escape was super kickass, and Ember has my vote by the end. To survive in a grim world, you must be hardened to the pain and the guilt or it will eat you alive. That's all there is to it.
Chase Jennings And Chase just lets it go on! Although to be fair, he's not much better. His terrible past has made him pretty violent and grim. At times of great emotional stress, he punishes himself by punching his leg, exposing himself to the elements, and at times, even hurting Ember. That's just wonderful. You know what? The tall, dark and handsome brooder thing may work on vampires on TV, but Chase just comes off as a twisted self-harmer. Is that all you got, Kristen?
2) The Romance Why, oh why does the synopsis insinuate loads of fantastic badassery, only to be handed a half-baked romance plot? That's just evil, Tor Teen. Sometimes, I just wish I could love all the romance stories and then I wouldn't have to disappointed so much. And I wouldn't have to mention the romance as my least favorite part over and over like a broken record. Don't get me wrong, I love Saba and Jake, I like Beatrice and Four. Just last week, I said Logan and Erin make a great couple - they've gone through lots of the uncovering of general evilness together, and then also endured betrayal and trust issues in their relationship - it's all real and believable and root-worthy. Not so here.
I did enjoy how their past slowly unraveled through short, italicized sections every few pages. The past romance was cute and fluffy. The now romance... you have to constantly remind yourself of their past for it to seem bearable. And yet it dragged on. And on.
3) The World They are in futuristic USA. That's about all I know. What caused the end of the world as they knew it? Who took over and how did they force this? Who is leading all this? Why was there a world-destroying war to begin with? Just what is going on? I would have appreciated an answer to at least one or two of these and other burning questions. At this point, all I know is that the people are being oppressed by an unknown force. When you write a dystopian novel, it is common courtesy that you at least give the reader hints as to how they got there and whose leadership they should be angry with. I didn't even get a general "evil" entity to hate. How am I supposed to feel for the characters if I don't even understand why they're in this position?
Now I'm sure I could go on ranting for a good long while, but you must be bored out of your mind already. Good night, my bookish friends, and let's hope my next review will be more favorable.
I’ve read so many excellent books recently, I’d forgotten what it was like to read a less than mediocre book.
This was a less than mediocre book.
I had high hopes for it given the many 5* reviews of it on Goodreads. What a disappointment. Let me be clear: this is not the new ‘Hunger Games’. This isn’t even THG’s inferior cousin.
Where to start?
What caused the War? Who’s in charge? Why did things change? These are all questions that need to be answered to give a “realistic” dystopian setting. In order to make a book good, you need to feel like you’re there with the characters, picturing the world they are in and there was just not enough background to bring you into the characters' universe in this book.
The characters. Every good adventure/thriller/novel has the main characters and then the supporting characters which you know just enough about to care about and look forward to them making a recurring appearance. This book seriously lacks in the supporting characters role. What few recurring characters there are, you don’t care about and then the other characters mentioned (Beth, Ryan who seem likeable and even interesting) are mentioned at the beginning, never to appear again.
And then the characters we do have: Ember and Chase. She is obsessed with two things: her mother and pre-soldier Chase. She will repeat her thoughts on the both of these again and again. She is a completely unsympathetic character which is not what you want as your lead heroine in this type of book. And then there’s this fact that her love/obsession with finding her mother would work better if we were actually introduced to their loving mother/daughter relationship in more depth at the beginning of the book.
And then there’s Chase. To be fair, when he makes an appearance (or rather re-appearance), that is when the book becomes moderately interesting rather than dull but as a character? So-so. It takes a fair chunk of the book before you get to see what’s really going on in that head of his.
Which brings me to the Chase/Ember relationship. Don’t get me wrong, every good novel needs a romance but one minute Ember loves him then she hates him, she wants him to protect her then she wants to run away from him. Repeatedly. Has anyone actually reached the end of the book still caring about these two?!
And then the plot itself? It consists of one mildly interesting trek across routed America where it is important that the characters remember not to trust anyone, something which Ember repeatedly forgets and a few forays into prison-type institutions.
Let’s just say, this is one series where I won’t feel compelled to read more of.
If I could, I would give this book 1.5* but as it is, it's a harsh 1* to reflect my disappointment.
Article 5 is set in a future America where citizens have little to no rights, every religion other than Christianity is forbidden, girls and boys cannot date, pregnancy outside of a marriage is against the law and 'immoral' books and materials are banned. Seventeen year old Ember is mortified when her mother is arrested and sent to trial for having a child outside of marraige. Ember is sent to a reform school complete with guards, locked gates and a cruel headmistress. Ember is terrified for her mother, distraught about her new living sitiation and desperate to escape to help her mother. On top of that Ember is heartbroken that the boy she once loved - Chase is the soldier that arrested her mother and sent her to reform school. Ember manages to escape with the help of Chase and together they try to rescue her mother whilst hiding from the authorties, who have put a price on their recapture. Ember is naturally confused that Chase is helping her, but instead of being grateful that he's put a target on his back for her, she whines and bitches about his 'betrayl' even though it's made clear he had no choice in the matter. Chase would do anything for Ember including hurting anyone who is a threat to her, Ember instead of being happy that Chase would protect her, just judges him and makes him feel like crap for being violent against the people who would kill them, she was a hypocrite and a useless weakling. The world felt quite similar to that of Delirium and Matched, but whereas Delirium and Matched seemed a bit unbelievable, Article 5 seemed like a more plausible alternate future. The book had potential but was let down by Ember, she was annoying, reckless, selfish and clueless. Her love interest Chase was capable, protective and smart, although I did question his intelligence for loving the idiot that was Ember. Both Ember and Chase like most YA couples/potential couples suffer from lack of communication and making stupid assumptions about the other - to no doubt add unnecessary angst and drama. Ember was just an awful character - I wanted to throttle her countless times, she didn't deserve to have someone like Chase although she does step up at the end but it's a case of too little, too late. I don't think I want to read the sequel, but if the reviews look good or Ember gets a personality transplant then I'll probably read the next one.
I don't...I don't even know what to call this feeling I have right now. A mixture of happiness, a bit of girly squealing, and pure rage. .
The Good - The plot was full of excitement and intensity. I was always kept on my toes. As soon as I ended a chapter, I just HAD to know what happens next (this is why I ended up staying up until 4 in the morning to finish this book). The concept isn't all that different from other dystopian novels - an over-controlling government in a post-apocalyptic world, main protagonist has to run away from them, rebellion, etc. But the way the author told the story made it very unique. I honestly wasn't really looking forward to reading this book. Yeah, I heard about it everywhere and had wanted to read it, but it wasn't on the top of my list. Now I wish I had read it earlier!
- The world building was really great. I had a clear idea of what happened, how America became this way, and what it looked like now (in the story). It sounded so realistic - it was freaky. I hated the FBR SO much. I know that an author has succeeded in getting to me with their writing when I want to go in the story and strangle someone (and not because the story was written badly, or anything).
- OOOHHHH the romance! I loved it! Ember and Chase's story was SO cute - and heartbreaking. They've been friends since they were little, but unfortunately had to separate after Chase was drafted to become a soldier for the horrid FBR. When they meet again, their relationship is not the same. But it slowly builds up and eventually, you just want them to be together again. *sigh* I find these types of stories so cute.
- This book was very easy to read. Lately, I've having a hard time reading some books. My goal usually is to try to read at least 100 pages a day, but I've been slacking off for the past week. Mostly because the books failed to hold my attention. But this book? I had read 12o pages in a day without even realizing. After that, I refused to put the book down unless I finished it.
The Bad - I tried really hard to think whether I disliked anything about this book, but my mind came up blank. The book was that good.
The In-Betweens - The only teeny, tiny problem I had was the soldiers. I felt that they should've been more, I don't know, developed I guess? Like, why did they get rid of the police entirely and put these soldiers up? And why let them get away with so much?
The Characters - Ember was interesting to read. I'm gonna be honest here, she wasn't really strong. or clever. She even made a ton of dumb mistakes that made me want to scream at her. But all of these flaws were what made her so real. I can't sit here and honestly say that I would have acted differently, because I haven't been through what she has. For example, Chase. She keeps pushing him away and hating him, and I couldn't figure out why. I get it, she felt betrayed, but couldn't she sense that he has a reason to act this way? That he was somehow trying to protect HER? Even I could see it, and I wasn't the one who's known him since childhood. But what surprised me the most was her dramatic change from the obedient girl who was afraid to be separated from her Mom to the angry, revenge seeking rebel. By the end of the book, she was braver than anyone else in the story.
- Chase. Chase Jennings. This guy...*sigh* I just want to hug him forever. He's been through so much. All for one girl. He was caring but tough, thoughtful but scary at times. But I loved all sides of him. .
Recommended? - Yes, definitely! This book may not be anything totally different than the other dystopian novels, but it is VERY enjoyable. Get ready for an exciting adventure!
I want the second book now. 2013 is too far away. UGH.
Jenny Ikeda was fantastic reading Article 5. She just has a voice for audio, if that makes sense. She doesn't exactly sound like a teenager, which I know bothers some when listening to YA, but I don't think she sounds old either, more like early 20's. Sometimes that bugs me, but it really didn't at all with Article 5. It almost read like someone who was telling a story about what happened to her in the past, and so I thought the voice really fit. Her voice was soothing, yet engaging. She got excited when the book got exciting, and angry when the characters were angry. It was really a fantastic and exciting book to listen to. Her voices for the different characters weren't as distinct as others I've heard. This might be a problem in books where there are a lot of prominent characters, like the Nightshade series, but Article 5 was mostly narration and internal dialog, with two main characters that did the speaking, so it worked great. If you'd like to listen to a sample of her reading, you can check that out here. I absolutely recommend listening to this one! It will completely suck you in!
Okay, I am having tremendous luck lately with the Dystopian genre. I loved the Hunger Games trilogy (of course), Divergent, Delirium, Legend and now Article 5! Yes it deserves to go in with the Hunger Games category of best Dystopians ever. The storyline was phenomenal, adventurous and a roller coaster ride. The story was set years and years from now. Everything was illegal... owning certain magazines to having an affair. You could be locked up for anything in the world that Ember and Chase live in.
Ember was the main character, she was such a sad girl. Ember only had her mom, she and her were so close. I loved Ember's character, she went through so many ups and downs in Article 5, she was always a trooper. Ember sometimes was a little naive. She wouldn't let Chase protect her fully. She was constantly distrusting of everyone and she risked her life and a few lives of others to find her mother after they were separated. I did get very frustrated with Ember at times, her distrust of certain people put her own life into jeopardy. Multiple times!
Chase was an excellent addition to this book. He was mysterious and he took care of business. Chase cared for Ember but ever since he became a soldier they drew apart. I liked how the author wrote Chase's character. He was sensitive when he needed to be and a fighter when it was time.
I would say read this book as soon as it's released. It had several holes in it that annoyed me, but only a little, and the rest of the story made up for what was lacking. Article 5 was amazing and such a nail-biter. Seriously, if you like non-stop action with some pretty intense moments/scenes, you'll LOVE this book! The tension in Article 5 was really hard core, the book wasn't scary but really dramatic. I doubt I would have made it out alive if I were Ember, but maybe if I had Chase at my side, I would at least enjoyed the near death experiences.
I am so burnt out on Dystopia books. It seriously feels like out of the 10 I have read so far 9 of them have been dystopia. I know that isn’t true but I it sure feels that way. I enjoy dystopia but I really need a break. I had to read this one for review purposes and even with my burnt out state this one stood out like a shining star. I am so glad that I picked it up!
The story is the same set up as with most dystopias nowadays. The Government runs the country and it is not for the better. I am not quite sure why things got so corrupted but they did and now everyone must live by a set of impossible rules set to “help” their country become “one whole family” Ember tries to live by the rules as much as she can, but when soldiers come knocking on her door to take her mom away for violating article 5, having a baby out of wedlock, everything flies out the window. Her only thought is to get to her mom and save her from punishment. Thrown into this mess is the boy she loved, Chase, who was drafted and never came back until the day he shows up to take her mother away. The story takes off from there with escapes, heists, strange people, and resistance struggles.
Ember really bothered me with her choices throughout this book. Every time she would decide to do something I would just scream at her. I didn’t end up appreciating her until the very end (and I do mean like the last page or so), but I have a feeling she will redeem herself in the next installment. I absolutely loved Chase. I think if the story would have been told in his perspective I would have given it 5 stars hands down. He was something beyond just the hero and when he laid his story out for Ember to see my heart shattered for him. I have never wanted a character to get revenge as much as I want him to.
The ending bothered me though. I think what happened was too convenient and I am not sure I buy it. I wanted more of a show down and I guess that will come to pass in the next installment, but it sorta felt anti-climatic. I know I have listed some pretty big problems but I just can’t seem to give this book anything less than 4 stars. The story itself with all it’s flaws just worked so wonderfully. I will give a warning though, this book is way more of a romance than a dystopia and maybe that is why I loved it so much. If you are looking for a hard core dystopia book look elsewhere. This one is full of romance and stolen kisses, but the outside world does linger in the background making it there but just less so than other books. All in all I enjoyed this one and I can’t wait to read the next!
Wow! Article 5 is undoubtedly one of my favourite reads of 2012 because it had everything I could have wanted from a book and MORE! From page one, I was sucked into the cruel and harsh world that Kristen Simmons has created and was taken on a thrilling and heart-stomping journey – one that only made me want more!
Ever since the soldiers took over parts of America, Ember Millers life has changed drastically. She now lives in a world where being compliant is mandatory and civilians have to follow the 5 Article rules. When Ember’s mother is arrested for noncompliance of Article 5, she is taken away to trial leaving Ember to be taken into custody. While there, Ember finds her life under rules even harder than she ever imagined - all she knows is she needs to rescue her mother and she cannot do it inside the rehabilitation centre. It’s only when Chase; a boy from Ember’s past comes to her rescue - but once he does, Ember can’t help question if he is the same boy – the one that she once loved or if he is the solider that he has been trained to be?
It’s safe to say Article 5 completely surpassed my expectations! I heard it was good but I didn’t realise it would be this good - that its left’s me longing to be back with the characters already. And now I know, 2013 is going to be an even longer wait because I’m dying to know what happens next.
Kristen Simmons has created a master piece with Article 5 and she has truly been able to capture the intensity of Ember’s world. It’s dangerous, scary and brutal and without the right people there to save her, she is truly doomed. Kristen Simmons has also managed to create the perfect blend of excitement, suspenseful and intense scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seat and let’s not forget the romance. Oh the romance - It will make its way into your heart and leave a trail of butterflies in your stomach. Yeah, it was that good!
My favourite thing from this book was the characters. I adored both Ember and Chase! They were both head-strong, independent and my god stubborn. Their scenes together were so intense that you can honestly feel the sparks fly off the pages and their romance will not leave you disappointed. Not convinced yet? Well here are some amazing quotes that will surely change your mind……………
“He was my anchor in the hurricane, yet at the same time, the hurricane itself, so that I nearly always felt safe and afraid simultaneously. There was nothing in the world as confusing and powerful as being close to him.” – Ember
“Ember, you're the only piece of me I have left. Everything else-my family, my home, my soul- they're all gone. I don't know who the hell I am anymore. If it weren't for you... I don't know.” – Chase
“Don't do that again! Not ever again!" I told him. "I should say the same to you," he said. I could feel his breath, warm on my neck. "Promise me!" I demanded. "I... I promise." "I can't lose you.” - Ember & Chase
“It was you," I say softly. "It's always you I think about." The intensity in his gaze took my breath away. I could feel him. Every part of him. His soul was sewn to mine. His heated blood flowed through my veins. I'd thought that I had been close to my mother, and I was, but not like this. Chase and I barely touched- our hands, mouths, knees- but there was no part of me that was not his.” - Ember
Overall, Article 5 is one the best dystopian novels I’ve read by far! So if you’re a fan of this genre, then this book is for you and even if your not – I urge you to pick up it up because I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
A huge huge thank you to Tor Teen for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
Article 5 joins the pile of few books in my life that make me want to scream, “Why the hype? Is my copy missing a couple hundred pages or something?” In all honesty, I was unable to understand just what was so great about this book. Not only was there a severe and disappointing lack of world-building, I found the protagonist to be far too annoying for my liking as well. In fact, I’m surprised I even made it through this novel! I think Article 5 had a lot of potential, but ultimately, it simply fell flat as so many other dystopian – no, sorry, dystomances - seem to be doing lately.
In a futuristic world where compliance is mandatory, rights and laws as we know it have been replaced with a set of austere regulations known as the Moral Statutes. Seventeen-year-old Ember's mother has unknowingly broken one of these rules and must now pay the price. Ember is forced to watch as soldiers from the Federal Bureau of Reformation - what Ember refers to as the Moral Militia - drag her mother away from her and to her dangerous fate. Ember, refusing to let this happen without a fight, winds up being taken from her home and placed in a girls' rehabilitation center. Now, Ember will do anything to break out and save her mother before it is too late. Yet, even more disturbing than her mother's demise is the fact that Ember's love of her life, Chase Jennings, was the one who took her mother away.
I'm not going to lie - the beginning of the novel was hooking. I found myself flipping the pages rather frantically, eager to know what happens next. However, when I forced myself to stop, I found a plethora of problems within the story and found it incredibly hard to move on. One of the main reasons I love dystopian novels is because the reader is allowed to experience a different world, so similar to our own, that the author has envisioned. Yet, even more important than that, is how our world became the futuristic realm our protagonist finds herself in. Unfortunately, Simmons was unable to provide me with answers on this front. I was sorely disappointed by the dearth of world-building that was present in this novel and envy readers who were able to work past this road-block. I, however, could not. For me, world-building is essential in any dystopian, fantasy, or paranormal novel and the complete disregard for it in this novel ruined the story for me. I constantly found myself coming up with more questions and fewer answers - something that is most certainly not a good sign.
World-building - or lack of - aside, I also found myself to be extremely frustrated with the characters in this novel. In the beginning of this book, Ember seems to be strong-willed, determined, and intelligent. Yet, as the story progresses, it is evident that she loses her zeal for rescuing her mother and deteriorates into a petulant, useless, and frankly speaking, irritating character. Ember's time in the girls' reformatory center where she is sent reinforces the need of a strong female character in a world that seriously lacks them, but Ember fails to live up to this cause. Furthermore, her actions are borderline ridiculous which simply adds an unrealistic element to the entire tale. Ember actually runs away from Chase, the one character in this novel who has jeopardized his career and reputation in the attempt to keep her alive, twice! Yes, that's right, twice! She is constantly changing her opinions of Chase - one minute he's evil, the next moment he's protecting her, and the next moment she doesn't feel safe with him. In fact, there isn't even a logical sequence of ideas to justify these unruly actions! Ember's intial distrust of Chase makes sense, but why she continued not to trust him and her consequent reasoning for her actions simply mystified me.
Speaking of mystifying, I could not for the life of me understand why Chase stuck around with Ember. If I were him, I would have left her a looong time ago. Yet, that point aside, the romance in this novel just made me roll my eyes and want to hit my head against a wall - repeatedly. Not only the supposed sexual tension in this book cliché, so were any of the scenes were these two actually interacted. Plus, the love story in this novel is your typical we've-been-in-love-since-forever which almost annoys me just as much as insta-love and love triangles do as there is virtually no development between the romantic interests. Sadly though, the romance in this novel would have been greatly improved if these two had actually talked and had a conversation opposed to just thinking about how handsome/pretty/hot the other was. If anything, that simply served to make me regard this romance as artificial and as a plot device opposed to an actual love story.
Article 5, in my opinion, should be renamed to Article Monumentally Disappointing. Not only was the hype surrounding this novel false, but the world-building was lacking, the protagonist annoying, the love story non-swoon-worthy, and I even had quite a few issues with the manner in which the first person point of view was written. While I appreciate the unique dystopian setting Simmons created, I wish we could have gleaned more insight into it. Perhaps my plethora of questions will be answered in the sequel, but I am most certainly not sticking around to find out. (Can you imagine me reading another book with Ember in it? I'll skip that, thank you very much!) While I didn't enjoy this story in the least, many other readers did, and like always, I find myself wishing I could have seen the brilliance of this novel that they saw. Yet, I think it's safe to say that Article 5 was most definitely not a novel for me.
1 star. This is one of those dystopias entirely made up of romance, and it's one of the worst romances I've ever read.
Let's address my first point. Article Five tries to build up a world where women are oppressed by an evil government of conservatives. I like the idea, but it doesn't work out for a few reasons. First, we get no idea how the world got this way. I think in most cases, that could've been a forgettable detail– “world where women are oppressed” is a fairly typical idea. Unfortunately, this novel acts as if it's about to show some feminist knowledge and goes on to stereotype women as weak and stupid.
Take our protagonist Ember. She's naive and constantly has to be saved by her boyfriend. She's also the only significant female character in this book. If you're writing a novel about the need for feminism, don't make me spend my time with a lead who's weak both mentally and physically. I don't understand this.
Ember is also just a flat, undeveloped character. Her story is supposed to revolve around saving her mom, yet we never see their relationship. Also, she's a complete idiot.
If we're really going to talk about how this book steps on women, we're going to need to talk about the romance. Full stop, I think this is the worst romance I have ever read. Chase spends the entire book ordering Ember around. She has every reason to distrust him, yet he is cold and unfeeling towards her without trying to resolve their relationship. At one point, he physically shakes her in anger. Ember describes him as physically terrifying, and yet somehow, in a world where the threat of rape is around every corner, she falls for him anyway.
I read this book in a period of time where I actively disliked approximately 2% of books. This book made my 2%. That's all you need to know.
Currently, the only way I think I can describe what I felt about Article 5 is by introducing Melanie's life story at high school *cue groaning and sighs of boredom* Okay, I admit, my school life is boring but I live in it and I survived so hopefully no one dies of boredom. In Drama class today we were analysing comedy. And we were watching this DVD on what makes us laugh; one of them being to overstate or understate the matter of something. (i. e. A pan being slammed on someone's head and then overreacting or under reacting)
Article 5 is a bit like this. Every single shining element I was expecting from this novel did not make an appearance. And everything I didn't want was in it. Overdoing the inessential elements and under-doing to ones that could've made me fall in love with this book.
Firstly, the world building and plot was pretty much at the origin on my gradient line of expectations. Yup, I'm that mad at this once promising book that I'm bringing in the dreaded maths. Not only could I not feel anything being developed in the dystopian world, the characters were literally like robots. Stupid and mechanical, so damn predictable and stupid. (Wait? Didn't I already say that? Eh, double the stupidity won't hurt.) Kristin had seemed to have assured me from the beginning about every aspect of her book. I was honestly hooked from the beginning, with the action and just digging right into the pages. I guess I was wrong. About 40 pages in, everything went, BOOSH. Down, right into snoozeville.
What was overdone? The romance. This was what I least expecting from a blood bath- looking book. Apparently not because 3/4 was focused on the angst for each other. That's right, Chase and Ember. The dynamic duo of love that was oh-so-freakin-predictable. URGH. Horrible really. It was completely romance driven. Some books are fantastic when driven by love, for example, Black City By Elizabeth Richards, but this was a complete, pardon me but, disaster.
Then why, as I've been bagging this book for the last 3 paragraphs, have I given it 2 flimsy stars? 1 star to the promising start and idea. 1 star to the action, and one star to the little boy who lives down the lane. Baaa baaa black sheep.... *coughs* I did not just get carried away. And no, I don't recommend this book to anyone.
It's the near future, and after a devastating, frightening war on American soil, civil liberties have been eliminated. The Bill of Rights is a thing of the past, and the nation is in a constantly militarized state. The Moral Statutes have been instituted and are absolute - nothing lavish or lascivious is allowed. Practicing religions outside of Christianity are punishable offenses. Romance novels are outlawed. Unchaste women are hauled away, never to be seen again.
Seventeen year old Ember comes home after school one day and finds soldiers from the Federal Bureau of Reformation on her doorstep, and this time they have come not just to slap her mother with a citation, but to take her away. Ember's single mother is found of violating Article 5 - having a child out of wedlock - and she and Ember must be quarantined and rehabilitated.
Stripped from her mother, her home, and friends, Ember is taken away to the equivalent of a prison camp, full of other girls just like her - illegitimate children and juvenile "article offenders" alike. Under the sadistic watch of a twisted headmistress who has the muscle of the Moral Militia eager to beat and kill the girls should they step out of line, Ember knows she must escape and find her mother. But when her ex-boyfriend, and Moral Militia soldier, Chase comes to rescue Ember under the guise of taking her to her mother's trial, Ember's desperate plans to escape come to a frantic tipping point. Can she trust Chase, or is the boy she loved dead and gone?
Article 5 is an incredibly frustrating book. One the one hand, I loved the premise of the novel and the dystopian mindset. The background of Ember's world is brilliant and chilling, reminiscent of Margaret Atwood in terms of the status of women in this new society. This is the best aspect of the novel, as Article 5 is a terrifying glimpse at an entirely possible future America, ravaged by war and turning to religious zeal and militant patriotism, with a focus on the kind of aggressive, fear-inspiring dialogue that rings scarily close to home. There isn't much known about the actual war that has caused the implementation of the Moral Statutes and the cancellation of basic human rights and civil liberties, but I didn't mind that lack of knowledge. The vision of this future dystopian America is so frightening because it feels like a truthful, natural extrapolation of some of the ugliest current aspects of society. Make no mistake - Article 5 is absolutely a true dystopia, and I respect that Kristen Simmons has the chops to go there in this YA novel.
These praises for the worldbuilding and dystopian setting said, I found that the actual execution of the novel incredibly frustrating and hindered my enjoyment of the book. My problems with the novel are twofold:
First, there's the irritating characterization of protagonist Ember. Ours is a heroine that is *officially* Too Stupid To Live. At two points in the story, Ember (idiotically) runs away from Chase - the boy that has risked his life, his reputation, his career solely to save her. Ember knows that Chase is trying to help her, but out of some weird, undefined, misguided teenage angst, she runs away from the one person in the world that is out to keep her alive and nearly gets herself killed. TWICE. The motivations for her initial mistrust of Chase make sense, but what doesn't add up is the continued distrust, the fact the the two characters never TALK about their emotions, making the romance between them feel artificial and tediously protracted as a plot device.
Not to mention, the relationship between Chase and Ember is of the dreaded "we've always been in love" variety (which, apparently, can be even worse than the instalove trope).
From a storytelling perspective, the "twist" to the novel (concerning Ember's mother's fate) was obvious and the fact that Ember never once asked or pressed Chase about the fate of her mother, accepting his initial explanation at face value, reeks of artifice and half-baked character motivation. Additionally, the writing was poor and used lots of bizarre imagery with her organs shivering and jumping around (seriously, you can't make this stuff up).
Ultimately, there were things I liked about the book - notably the critique of sexism, religious zeal, and aggressive militarism - but these high points were dwarfed by the massive missteps in terms of plot and characterization. Unfortunately, I can't say I enjoyed this book much at all, though I did finish it.
Wow, this book was not what I expected!! It had action, a scary and disturbing setting, characters with depth, and a romance that broke my heart over and over again. I love that the story starts out with the heroine, Ember, already in distress. There was no grace period where we got to see her world before the action happened. No slow-to-develop plot where you have to wait for the action to pick up or the proverbial shoe to drop. No, Article 5 pretty much starts from the get-go with Ember and her mother being dragged away because her mother broke one of the Moral Statutes. And it just so happens that one of the heartless guards dragging them away is none other than the boy she'd given her heart to, Chase.
Ember is a great heroine, she's feisty and fights the system as soon as they grab her. She's on a desperate mission to find her mother, despite the fact that they've dragged her to the facility where they "rehabilitate" girls to be moral women by using abusive force. It was hard to stomach the way the girls were treated and the idea of such a place was sickening. Ember manages to make it out just in time, thanks to Chase devising a plan to get her safe. Ember doesn't know whether or not she could ever trust Chase again, given his cold and heartless attitude towards her. She sets off with him, both now on the run and being chased, her only goals being to find her mother and not let herself fall for Chase again.
Chase came across as a complete ass the moment he comes back into Ember's life. He's cold and cruel towards her at her arrest, and even when he takes her from the facility he's distant and unreadable. I spent the majority of the story trying to figure him out along with Ember, and I loved the mystery behind him. We get to see snippets of their past through Ember's memories, and it's like little pieces of a puzzle coming together to eventually reveal something beautiful.
The action and plot twists were pretty much non-stop in Article 5, and there were few parts of the story where Ember and Chase could even take a breath. The constant threat of the soldiers finding them, crazy citizens, dangerous civilians, and for Ember, the uncertainty about Chase and her mother, kept me hooked. One twist in particular was a real game-changer for all of them, and despite the sadness of it I'm looking forward to seeing how it changes Ember. It was exciting and unsettling how they always had to look over their shoulder as they traveled, and I anxiously awaited those moments when Chase and Ember tried to figure each other out. We had to wait a LONG time for them to finally open up to each other completely, and I think it was definitely worth the wait. Article 5 was a great book, and an exciting start to a new series!!
Article 5 has an interesting premise, and as someone with a passion for dystopian novels, I was anxious to get my hands on a copy of Kristen Simmons' debut. Unfortunately, however, there were a multitude of flaws within the novel that prevented me from enjoying it as much as I could have, despite the creative premise.
In Simmons' futuristic America, the country has completely changed. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution have been abolished, replaced by the Moral Statutes, a series of rules and regulations against individual rights. Those who break these rules are arrested, and rarely return.
Article 5 follows the story of 17-year-old Ember Miller. Ember has managed to keep a low profile and her life is relatively peaceful considering the circumstances, but that turns upside down when her mother is arrested for noncompliance of Article 5 in the Moral Statutes. And the officer that arrests her mother is none other than Chase Jennings - the only boy Ember has ever loved...
Article 5 could have been so much more engaging if a simple backstory was given. Apparently, this drastic change in American government is the result of another civil war. This seems logical, but I found myself wanting a lot more detail. What was the war fought over?
What different sides fought? How did it start / end? How did the war lead to the creation of the Moral Statutes? Additionally, I find it hard to believe that American citizens would so easily give up their much-loved democracy without fighting the government to get it back (or attempting to, at the very least).
Additionally, Ember was constantly making decisions that I found both annoying and stupid. She was constantly making decisions without ever thinking of the consequences her actions might have, which quite often put her - and those around her - in danger. She only cared about herself and her looks, and whined and complained as much as she could.
While the story is seemingly a dystopian, I found that classification hard to believe because so much of the story was spent on the romantic relationship between Ember and Chase. Their relationship is one of extreme instalove and utter clichés, one with no chemistry whatsoever. I was never able to feel the true spark between the two of them - their whole romance felt rather forced - and the angst between them was practically unbearable. Most disappointing, however, was the way that the romance was given priority over any chance of world-building and any character development.
Being a huge fan of dystopians is both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, with so many dystopian stories releasing, it is never hard to find what to read next; but, on the other hand, some YA dystopians almost appear to be written mindlessly and simply for the money they bring in, and that's the vibe Article 5 gave off. It's sad to say that not only could I not get on board with this one, but that I absolutely detested almost everything about it.
And so my dystopian/apocalyptic/postapocalyptic marathon has to end on a horrible, off-pitch, just plain bad note.
Three years ago, the War ended. Don't ask what this War was about. It just happened, and it was big enough to need a capitalization. Major cities are abandoned, and the Bill of Rights has been revoked and replaced with the Moral Statues. Ember Miller fell in love with her next door neighbor named Chase, but then he joined the army or whatever, and now he's arrested Ember's mother for violation of Article 5, and Ember has been sent to a reformatory nightmare.
I feel like we were playing a game of hide and seek and this book was too good at the game. I never found it. There was no logic behind this book. How did America go from the land of the free to a country of bigotry, misogyny, and some sort of war-torn hellhole? I forget how long this War lasted, but I doubt America would go this far because of just one war.
Also, more questions about the War:
-Was it a civil war? -Did somebody invade us? If so, who? America hasn't been outright invaded since the War of 1812. Hasn't been attacked in a signifigant magnitude since 9/11. -When does this take place? -How does stopping the War have to do with throwing away everything our country stands for?
Many questions, which must have been hiding too.
Didn't care about them. Didn't care what they were doing, nor what they wanted to do. I didn't feel Ember's motivation to save her mother the way how I felt Katniss's determination to protect Prim, or Saba's somewhat stalkerish desperation to save her twin Lugh. Nothing about the characters and their relationships stood out to me in any way.
For such a heavy element of the book, it was pretty lackluster and weak. Didn't feel this "connection" Ember and Chase were supposed to have. Didn't feel very developed considering they'd had feelings for each other for so long.
I think the romance ultimately ruined Ember's motivation. Too many wonderings of, "Does he still love me?" and "Oh, no, of course he doesn't love me!" that I began to wonder if Ember still realized that people were hunting them down and that her and her mother's lives were at stake.
Probably the strongest point of the story, but it didn't last. The first 100 pages were really good, even though the world-building left much to be desired, yet as soon as the roadtrip begins, my interest drove away with it.
Had some nice parts to it, but nothing special, or extraordinary for a YA novel.
I don't think I want to read the next book in this series.
This is the first review I've written on here. What made me do it? Two things: 1) I'm at work, and I'm bored and 2) I just can't keep quiet about this book. Why does everyone love it other than a handful of people? If you read the one and two star reviews, you'll see that their gripes match my own. Someone (who loved this book) in another review said that there is non-stop action. Really? I could barely find it. I listened to this book and it took me almost two weeks to finish it, when I'm normally listening at night because I can't stand not knowing what will happen in a story. Not this time.
Ember is so damn irritating. She has zero logic. It's not until the last 90% of the book that she starts to become even semi-interesting. She gets a pile of people in trouble in this book, including herself, because she's just so damn stupid. Also, I'm sorry, but if someone is trying to kill my rescuer so he can rape me, I might just let the would-be murderer/rapist be killed by said rescuer. Even if I stopped said rescuer from killing said would-be murderer/rapist, I wouldn't then BERATE my rescuer for his actions. Things are bad for Ember in this book and her morality just doesn't make sense in certain situations.
Also, I got REALLY tired of her "OMG, Chase is EVIL! I can't believe he arrested my mother, even though he has tried to explain his actions to me... I JUST CAN'T LISTEN TO HIM! I think I'll run away without thinking things through and get myself into a bad situation. Oh... crap... someone is going to kill/hurt me... what do I do? Oh, thank God Chase came to find me. I think I'll stick around with him for a bit longer and do my very best to hurt him in any way I can, because I just can't listen to whatever crap he wants to spew at me, despite the fact that he was PROBABLY COERCED into doing whatever it was (I don't know what it was, because I won't let him tell me) that he did." She was just irritating. Chase should have left her on the side of the road and not looked back.
Oh yeah, and did I mention that most of the middle of this book was BORING?
Further, some reviewers have mentioned that characters will randomly appear out of nowhere. This is true. I had to rewind my Audible book several times to figure out who was in what place at what time. Additionally, what is up with Ember "slamming on the brakes"? She does this at least TWICE. Makes you think they are driving, right? Nope. They're walking. I can't handle that kind of writing. It just doesn't work in an audio book. Someone else mentioned this as well, and I think she read it, so maybe it doesn't work in any format. Just... weird writing.
I'm going to get personal here for just a second. Back in my late teens/early 20's I had this recurring dream. Bare with me here. I was at home hiding under my bed and the KKK would bust into my house and try to take me. The always found me. Yes, I know I am a white girl. But, in my dreams it didn't matter. They were after me and it was horrible. I would pretty much always wake up when they looked under the bed and found me. Needless to say, I am completely terrified of these organizations. I can hardly stand to watch movies about Nazi's. It makes me sick because it really happened. I can't stand it. Thoughts stay with me for days on end.
So, when I started reading this book. I was equally freaked out and mesmerized. It was like watching a car wreck happen beside you- You want to look away but you can't.
I imagine this world that Simmons has created is something to the effect of what Hitler was going for. Everyone has the same religon. Women are expected to wear certian attire. There is a town curfew. Everyone is terrified of the "MM", Moral Militia.
On a nice day Ember comes home to find her Mother breaking the law, she's reading an unauthorized book. She shrugs it of and has come hot chocolate. The knock at the door provides her with her worst nighmare, the MM coming to arrest her Mother and take Ember to a Rehab center. Her Mother broke the law you see, she had Ember out of wedlock 17 years ago. Ember must face her consequences as well. Only the rehab center is basically a glorified concertration camp (okay maybe not quite as bad, but you get the idea). Ember is determined to get out, find her mother and get to a safe house. She finds unexpected help in certain MM's and a former love. While trying to save her own skin she is also having to guard her heart.
Yikes. This book really got to me. I could not put it down. I very much so "liked" it. While reading it is not exactly what I'd call pleasant, it still was a wild ride that felt intense and very real. The characters were very easy to follow and feel for.
4 stars from me
P.S. do you think they will go looking for Rebecca?!?!?!?!?
Thank you Crystal for letting me read this!
i am pretty much frothing at the mouth for book #2!!!!!
I was really looking forward to this book, and I think that's part of the reason that I stuck out with it until the end. If I had been of weaker will, I probably wouldn't have finished it.
I'm giving this a rating of 2.5 stars because I can think of more bad things than good in this book. I'll start with those first.
What irked me most about this book: the main character. The protagonist is very important to me, especially in first person YA novels because they guide the story. Ember, however, has the mindset of a five-year-old and seems to see running as the only option. When things get bad, she runs. Even worse, she has no concern for others, especially Chase, who goes to enormous lengths to protect her.
There's definitely action in this book, but it never seemed to tie up for me. Ember would just keep getting into trouble and then getting out of it again, while her character remained immature and selfish. I didn't see any profound character development, and this book should be an example to all authors to show, not tell. The only part that I thought was done well were the action sequences.
As for the setting, I'm still waiting for an explanation of what exactly the War is and how things came to be this way. The problem with dystopian novels is that many of them don't even explain how the dystopian society came to be.
Chase is a decent character, but there's nothing special about him. He has depth, but I've read many characters like him before, and I kind of wanted something better.
At any rate, I built up my expectations for this book and was disappointed. There were redeemable qualities, but not enough.