Sorry, I've been MIA for a bit. I guess you could say I was still recovering from TFiOS, haha :D Anyway, review time~!
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.
The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.
There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don’t come back.
Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It’s hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.
Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.
That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.
This was my train of thought upon seeing this book pop up on the tour site....First: "The cover is really cool, totally a dystopian. I like dystopians." Second, "I like the 'Compliance is mandatory' thing, that sounds pretty awesome..." Third, "Interesting synopsis! The 'only boy she ever loved' sounds a little cheesy, since she's only a teenager, but hey! Cool idea with the arrested-by-him thing! I wanna read this!"
Okay, those weren't my exact thoughts, but you get the idea. See how easy it is to make me want to read something? The book trailer helped as well, but I can't find a link to that anymore, and am starting to wonder if I imagined it, LOL.
The only problem was that this was the first book I read after The Fault in Our Stars. You know how after you read the most FREAKING INCREDIBLE BOOK that anything you read after it, no matter how good, will just pale in comparison? Yeah, it sort of happened with this book. How does one switch from an unbelievably amazing contemporary to a debut dystopian? It'll never go well!
Okay, so full disclosure: I was half-asleep while reading the first few chapters of this book. Not in a oh-this-book-is-so-boring way, but in a reading-before-bed-even-though-I'm-actually-too-tired-to-read-anything way. So, it is highly possible that I missed a bit of important information here and there. That said, I still felt like this book was lacking a little bit of info. Maybe I just didn't understand it (also possible), but I needed to know more about this world and more about why it was the way it was. Everything seemed somewhat regular: Ember goes to school, has friends, etc. But there are a lot of things she's not allowed to have, like books (noooo!), etc. There are apparently a lot of new rules: you have to be married to have children, stuff like that.
So, I guess it's your basic government-controlled dystopian world, now that I think about it. But, as with Legend, I wish I had learned more about everything.
Now, I don't want to spoil much, but I feel like I should tell you more about what happens. Basically, the aforementioned and brand-new must-be-married-to-have-kids rule (an Article 5--you can see where the title came from!) popped up to haunt Ember's mother, and she was arrested. Since Ember is a minor, and her mother is presumably going off to jail, Ember gets hauled off to a rehab center/reformatory from hell. Her plan is to break out and rescue her mother.
This is the first 90 pages. It was all right up until that point, but it finally got more interesting when "the only boy she ever loved", Chase, steps in, and here is where I stop with the spoilers. But basically, this is an on-the-run-from-the-government dystopian.
Something made me dislike this book a bit, and I think it was Ember. She seemed like a bland, helpless, Bella-ish protagonist to me. Or maybe it was the explain-it-to-you-even-though-it's-obvious and bland writing that did it for me. Since this was written in first person, I guess it was a mix of both. One good thing is that we had a few flashbacks to when Chase and Ember were together, so you get to see how they were in love, etc. (Though they seemed out of character!)
Our guy, Chase, seemed to be the typical YA love interest we've got going on lately. Tortured, hates himself, and barely talks to the girl, but is super protective of her. He was all right, though, and his attitude finally made sense at the end, so I could at least understand what his deal was. There were a lot of very good scenes between the two as well, which made up for his jerkishness sometimes.
Overall, this is a fun dystopian debut with a lot of interesting scenes, and a bit of a cliffhanger. The characters can be annoying, but that's pretty easy to forget about, and there were a lot of interesting subplots around the main plot. This book, of course, is the first in a trilogy and I'm looking forward to the sequel. I think the story, writing and world-building will improve in the next book, so we'll see where it goes!
Article 5 releases on January 31st! So soon! If you're interested, you can read the first chapter here: http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/01/article-5-excerpt