by Kristen Simmons
Series: Article 5 #1
Published: 31 Jan 2012
Tor Teen, Hardcover, 362 pages
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.
The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.
There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don’t come back.
Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It’s hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.
Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.
That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.
Article 5 was one of those books that have been on my TBR list for ages and somehow I have never read the synopsis even though I intended to read it. Probably because I found the cover meh and its ratings on Goodreads were not sky high either. But when I finally got around to checking out the book properly (I saw it at a library), I simply couldn’t not read it ASAP.
What captured my attention most was the Bill of Rights in the USA being replaced with the (inhumane) Moral Statutes. It seemed like a much more realistic link from our current world and society into a dystopian one as compared to, say, an apocalypse caused by some galactic event.
Honestly, I did not have high expectations for Article 5 (yes, I’m guilty for judging books based on their Goodreads ratings). However, I was actually blown away by it! With not a single dull moment, it was an amazingly gritty and harrowing yet touching dystopian novel.
The start immediately drew me in with the arrest of Ember’s mother. The unfairness and violence of the America portrayed in the book was extremely saddening. I was also completely infuriated with the FBR (aka Federal Bureau of Reformation, MM, Moral Militia) and on multiple occasions, wanted to strangle the soldiers.
After her mother’s arrest, Ember was sent to a reformatory and the painfully visual descriptions of all that she suffered there really isn’t for the faint hearted. Ember isn’t your usual dystopian protagonist either. She’s pretty sensible (apart from when she’s around Chase) unlike many hotheaded (but still awesome) dystopian novel protagonists. However, I did have some issues with certain (stupid) decisions she made on impulse, all of which involved Chase.
As for Chase… I WANT A CHASE FOR MYSELF TOO. He is hands down one of my favorite male leads so far and utterly swoon-worthy. I guess I just have a soft spot for tall, dark and masculine dudes who seem dangerous and brooding but are actually big softies on the inside. I’ve got to admit, that makes Chase sound a lot like Wolf from Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. Chase was actually compared to a wolf at least twice in the book too!
Another thing that took me by surprise was the stunning romance. Ember and Chase’s relationship was utterly real and emotional. It wasn’t overdone at all because all of Ember’s doubts on trusting Chase were perfectly reasonable and the fact that she still had the strong urge to trust him was fine by me too, since they’ve known each other since childhood. Who wouldn’t wish the only boy you’ve ever loved is still trustworthy despite his actions?
Ember and Chase have got to be one of my favorite YA book couples too. Although the odds were definitely against them, what with Chase completely changing after being drafted in the FBR and the trust issues Ember had with Chase since he was there when her mother was arrested, I knew they were meant to be together!
I guess I sound like a crazy fairytale obsessed fangirl, but really, I could tell that despite the hardships life had put them through & changing them, deep down, they still fit. The number of times they’ve got my heart twinging was seriously insane.
The world building in Article 5 wasn’t amazing in its physical aspects but Kristen Simmons has definitely got the emotions and psychological aspects down. I loved the characters in this book; I even loved hating the characters I should hate! They were such vibrant individuals and totally made the story even better.
All in all, I completely loved Article 5 but would still like to see how everything is linked to the President, since he was mentioned as the one who came up with the Moral Statutes in the first place. I also can’t wait to get my hands on Breaking Point, the second installment and continuing with Chase and Ember on their amazing journey. As for recommendations, all those dystopian lovers with a penchant for romance and emotions should definitely pick up this book!