Review: Article 5

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
Release Date ~ January 31, 2012
Tor Teen ~ MacMillan
ISBN13: 9780765329585
ARC received from Raincoast Books

Goodreads Synopsis: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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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.

I love dystopians- but I'm becoming so disappointed by the sheer number of them that are incapable of standing out on their own.
We've gotten to a point where they start to blur together, except they have one unique thing about them that they can point to as their claim to fame. For Article 5, that would be where the title came in. But other than that, I didn't find Article 5 to be an outstanding dystopian read, and one that blended in quite nicely among the rest.
  1. An excellent ending:
    One thing I really loved about this book is that the ending wasn't a complete cliffhanger. Some of the immediate issues had been resolved, but as with most other first books in a dystopian series, we're still left with unresolved questions (like a terrible government that needs to be brought down) that can be handled in the next books. I was really, really glad to see that this one wasn't cut off in the middle of some heart-pounding scene just to keep us excited for the next one. Kudos to Kristen for that.
  2. Ember's growth as a character:
    By the end of the book, I could definitely see a distinct change in Ember's attitude and you could really see how drastically her circumstances had changed her (and for the better). She grows up and finally starts to act like the young woman she is. However...
I had a hard time relating to Ember for the majority of the book; I was shaking my head at her most of the time, and I couldn't fathom how she had ended up as such an entitled, whiny girl with respect to the changes that had occurred in her lifetime. I totally get being breaked out and upset- but she seemed to have an extraordinarily hard time putting the puzzle pieces together, and expected so much from those around her, like for example her problems with Chase. Perhaps I just found her to be overly naive and ignorant, and her reactions seemed unreasonable even for someone who just didn't have a clue what was going on.

But my biggest issue was the world that Article 5 takes place in; can we please, please come up with a more creative dystopian world? My friend Christa over at Hooked on Books wrote a blog post discussing this and how she had a hard time understanding exactly why it was that we would regress to a point that women were at such a disadvantage again. And I agree. It's a good question, but I felt like Article 5 just took all the stereotypes of a dystopian society and threw them in without really giving me any reason to believe that it would happen. It just came across as unnecessarily cliched and lacked creativity.

So, I wanted to love this one. I really did. And I'm still going to pick up the next book in the series because I'm curious to see where it goes, but my expectations aren't high. I really think there was a lot of potential for this one and the topics it raised, but it just fell short.

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1 comment:

Avery said...

I totally agree with you on the Ember front (there were so many times that I wanted to shake some sense into her) and that the dystopian world wasn't all that unique! I think that what the saving grace for me was Chase (I mean, everything that he did for her? *Swoons*). ;)

Sorry that it didn't work out for you- here's hoping that the next will be better!

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