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Thursday, March 21, 2013

[Blog Tour] Michelle's Review: Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

Title: Article 5
Author: Kristen Simmons
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
Publishing House: Tor Teen
ISBN: 9780765329585
Source of Copy: Amazon


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The Bill of Rights has been revoked and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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 don't usually 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 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.

In the three years since the war ended, 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 what's worse, one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings... the only boy Ember has ever loved.

           (Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


My copy of Article 5 was really because of a mistake. I was adding books on my cart on Amazon, when my Mom told me she needed me to order a few things for her. I moved my books to "Save for later", bought all her things, and didn't notice that one book had slipped in with my Mom's orders. You can only imagine how surprised I was that a book came in with the fragile items. 

Nonetheless, Article 5 delivers a strong storyline and 

Ember Miller's free-spirited mom has just been arrested right in front of her very eyes for non-compliance to Article 5, all because her mother has had a string of boyfriends. To make it worse, Chase Jennings, the boy-next-door Ember has known practically forever, could only watch it happen helplessly because he's now part of the Federal Bureau of Reformation. Soon, Ember is carted off to reform school where her every action merits a punishment served with a smile. But when Chase "abducts" her, Ember is thrown in for a real loop, because while he might have saved her from that awful place, he might be keeping something from her that may just drive her right into her personal hell. With their fast-spreading infamy marking them as targets, Ember and Chase have to learn to work together to find Ember's mother and get to the safe house quickly, before the FBR takes them down.

I thought Simmons' characters were very well-written. I wouldn't be surprised if Simmons  herself admitted that she had her characters dictate to her their every emotion and choice of words. She is also not above to fleshing out details of the torture her characters went through. Every time there was a mention of pain, even I had to wince at the ordeals every character went through. I had to admit that I was feeling especially tired for Ember and Chase, what with all the emotional and physical trauma they were constantly subjected to.

With all the distresses Ember has had to face, you would think she'd learn to be less empathic to those around her, and would learn to be more cautious of those people she trusts. But even if there were times I was personally groaning for Ember, I couldn't help but love the fact that she's so selfless, even in the face of her and Chase's own danger. As for Chase, well, I'm not really surprised that Ember fell in love with him. There were moments that I just had to jab a finger at my book and tell Chase to just "Shut up and kiss her already, darn you." 

As you guys would have probably guessed, Ember and Chase's journey to find her mother and get to the safe house isn't exactly the smoothest journey ever. With the FBR and other delinquents frequently nipping at their heels, they both have to deal with the tension between them, especially since Chase just seemingly shut Ember out of his life all of a sudden. I thought that the troubles they got in between were a good touch, as it only established the fact that they needed each other, no matter how many times they voiced aloud that they didn't. Goodness knows that I could cut the tension between them with a knife.

I had to admit that the blurb didn't really leave me with enough material to hazard a guess, but when the gears were set in motion, I had a grasp of what Simmons is driving towards. To be honest, I did find some parts boring, but I could attribute this to the fact that I've been needing some fluffy breather to read. The latter parts were very exciting and as I've lamented before, I could only go as fast as to the speed my fingers can flip pages.

Article 5 is Simmons' debut novel, which comes as a surprise to me since Simmons knows how to pack punches with her word. With this in mind, I am undoubtedly looking forward to her other works.

Breaking Point, the sequel to Article 5, is already available.


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