{Blog Tour} Review: Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As part of the Article 5 tour hosted by Pinoy Book Tours, I am posting my review of Article 5 today. Thank you so much to Precious of Pinoy Book Tours for the chance to participate in this kickass tour and to Alexis of Tor Teen for providing us bloggers our own review copies. So without further ado, let's kick it off!

Article 5 (Article 5, #1)
Title: Article 5 (Article 5 #1)
Author: Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Date of Publication: February 11, 2013 (Paperback)

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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I think it's no secret that I love dystopia. I gobble it up like a squirrel with its acorn. And so, I was so eager to join the Article 5 tour hosted by Pinoy Book Tours. Precious at Fragments of Life has raved about Article 5 to me for the longest time. However, I also read mixed reviews and so I read this with trepidation. I was afraid that I won't like it but fear not! Kristen Simmons did not disappoint me and I continue to be a worshipper of dystopia. Yeap, I enjoyed Article 5 so much.

Unlike many dystopian novels, Article 5 isn't too far from reality. The setting here can actually happen, possibly anytime, but of course I'm not hoping for it. So it wasn't hard to get accustomed to the setting because it's Martial Law. The war just ended. No police, just soldiers. Laws being passed and vetoed without consultation and representation. All types of media not run by the government closed. Murders and executions. It's a horrifying time to live in. In the midst of all this chaos, Ember Miller is barely subsisting along with her mom. However, one day, the only boy she has loved, comes into her home and arrests her mother for violating Article 5, or having a child or children out of wedlock. Chase Jennings was drafted into the Federal Bureau of Reformation as a soldier. He left Ember Miller and has now come back, changed - empty, vacant. Ember's mom gets arrested while Ember is sent to reformatory school. Ember loves no one except her mom - and maybe Chase but she hates him now - and she's going to do anything to save her and reunite with her. That's how Article 5 starts and for me, it was a great start.

Kristen gives us a feel of the world this novel is set without having too many descriptions, which was a feat. She need not describe much because the violence and helplessness can already be felt, can already be seen. However, there were also times that there was much telling than showing but that was forgivable for me as I only noticed it at certain times. This novel is chock full of action in every page. High stakes? Definitely. The adrenaline this novel gave me was bountiful. There were tons of running, fighting, strategy, guns and weapons. I read this novel until 4AM and just stopped because I need to be up by 7AM. This is on a school day. Yes, I completely forgone sleep just for this novel. I just couldn't put it down. I love action movies and it also reflects in my books because action in books is certainly a major plus for me.

So on pacing, I'd say it was gripping. However, the twists and reveals were kind of expected and were not that surprising. This novel banks on its action and if you're not a fan of action, you might not be into this book. The romance was not steamy too, without heavy or detailed make-out sessions and whatnot. I was actually thankful for that because Ember and Chase had a lot of obstacles and misunderstandings to go through and solve before they reach that point. Pre-army, they weren't touchy and I would have hated if if they jumped on each other immediately. There were a lot of feelings to be resolved and with them not too much into talking, it took a while. But it was definitely worth it. I hate how in movies, people still find time to kiss when they're in danger. Come on people, RUN! So it was believable here. I wouldn't describe their romance as cute or anything but complicated.

I do admit though, I got frustrated at these two characters at times. Of course we know what's happening and what really happened but they don't know it yet. And with them not into explaining themselves, I just wanna shake them and tell them to start talking, get over everything that happened in the past, don't be hard on each other and just freakin' help one another. But of course, their actions were perfectly in line with their personality and so, it was understandable and I let that feeling go. I just read on, page after page, new set of eyebags after another.

Ember was seventeen and Chase nineteen but due to the war and all the hardships they've gone through, they sound really mature for their age. Still, I pictured them as teens in my mind. However, I couldn't get a feel for the soldiers' age that much. I don't know if they were of the same age as Ember and Chase or quite older. It might have been mentioned but in my mind, they all appeared young. I am happy to report that Ember definitely grew as a character within the span of the novel. Ember herself admitted that she has changed. I don't think Chase grew within the novel (which can make him border as a stock character) and he also has a messiah complex with Ember. Ember is a very empathetic girl and she's the type who wants to help everyone. However, Chase, since joining the army, became stone-like. The only one he cares about is Ember and he would do anything for her. He has lost a lot in his short life and he treats Ember as home. Now, I know this is fiction but I just fear that without Ember, Chase would just be a shell of a person. I wouldn't want that to happen. I do hope this bit changes within the series. I want him to be his own person, even though he pretty much defines himself with regards to Ember.

Overall, I recommend this to action buffs like me and to dystopia fans. Fast-paced with high-stakes action, Article 5 is the book you'll be reading all throughout the night.

About Kristen Simmons

Kristen Simmons has a master’s degree in social work and is an advocate for mental health. She loves Jazzercise, her husband, and her precious greyhound, Rudy. Also chocolate. She currently lives in Tampa, Florida.

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