Series: Article 5 #1
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Published by Tor Teen (1.31.2012)
Hardcover, 384 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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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.
The world painted in Article 5 was horrifying. Citizens have little to no rights and even the smallest of offenses result in the offender being taken away, never to be seen again. Holding hands outside of wedlock is indecent, international travel is banned. Romance novels, dirty magazines, even manicure kits are considered illegal contraband. Owning a copy of Frankenstein is illegal. Hair dye is indecent, therefore illegal. At this point I was thinking, Oh boy, would I be in trouble. Up until recently, my hair hasn’t seen its natural color in years.
I really enjoyed the characters and their development. Especially Ember (love the name, by the way – and her birthday is a day before mine ^.^). I was a bit embarrassed for her (and all of womankind) when she tried to run in the beginning and immediately got lost in corn (yes, corn) and turned into a sniveling, whimpering child. But, she grew as the book went on and, in turn, grew on me.
The way she was treated at the correctional facility was horrific and appalling. The way everyone was treated by soldiers under the FBR (Federal Bureau of Reformation) – aka MM for Moral Militia – was appalling. They were beaten and tortured, treated like animals for even a small act of defiance. The government didn’t have an ounce of humanity left. Anyway, I got off track there – by the end Ember was strong and, if not fearless, she was courageous. There was a major change in her – but then again, I think anyone would change when put through what she dealt with.
I liked Chase as well, even though he was a stubborn pain-in-the-ass most of the time. The relationship between he and Ember was beautiful, flawed, and at times downright difficult – which was what made it so realistic. It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns like so many other YA novels out there. There was deception, danger, and desperation. Not to mention heartbreak – oh my! I think my heart shattered into a million pieces right along with Ember’s. I expected there to be lies that needed revealing, but never did I see that coming. I was so shocked that I just sat there staring at the page with my eyes wide and my jaw hanging open. And yes, I cried a little.
I could not fall back in love with Chase Jennings. Doing so was like falling in love with a thunderstorm. Exciting and powerful, yes. Even beautiful. But violently tempered, unpredictable, and ultimately, short-lived.