Saturday, 14 March 2015

Book Review - Article 5

Article 5
Author: Kristen Simmons
Series: Article 5 #1
Genres: Dystopian | Young Adult
Release Date: 31st January 2012
Publishers: Tor Teen
No. Pages: 362
Source: Borrowed
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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.

So its no secret that I'm a big sucker for Dystopian books right? Well if it was, than let me be the first to tell you that indeed I am. So when I came across Article 5 I added it to my TBR shelf right away and there it stayed for years, sadly forgotten. I wanted to read it for a long time so when I came across it in my local library I was excited and happy to finally delve into what I thought would be another great addition to the already near perfect genre. Sadly that's not what I got with this book. The most upsetting thing for me while reading this story is how it had such great potential, the idea behind it was just genius and I was sure it was going to be a winner, and though it was a fun and easy read I feel like it just lacked a lot.

The United States embraces the Church of America as her official religion.
Literature and other media considered immoral are hereby banned and shall not be owned, bought, sold, or traded in any capacity.

Whole families are to be considered one man, one woman, and child(ren).
Traditional male and female roles shall be observed.
Children are considered valid citizens only when conceived by a married man and wife.

Those are the Moral Statutes of The United States of America and also happen to be the reason I was dying to get my hands on the novel. I mean the premise of the story alone was enough to catch anyone's eye. But when you have a premise like that, and next to no back story it just doesn't work. Instead you are left scratching your head and speculating as to why the world has turned the way it had. Don't get me wrong, backstory isn't a 100% necessary in most other genres, its nice but not always needed, when it comes to Dystopian novels having no back story and trying to get away with saying there was a war or something terrible happened doesn't work because you need to seriously explain why in order for the readers to connect to the book.

When it comes to the plot it feels like not a lot happens other than a road trip. I mean don't get me wrong, things obviously happen as Ember is not only taken from her home and forced into a reformatory because her mother broke the rules, but is treated badly there by guards that think they can do what they like with the girls, but the majority of this book is made up of Ember and Chase on the road and her not being able to make up her mind about him being good guy or not, putting herself in danger because she doesn't trust him. This ladies and gentleman is not just the reason why it feels like nothing happens, but also the reason why it's hard to really call it a Dystopian novel as its more like a romance with only a little post apocalyptic feel to it.

Reading the book it felt more like a sequel, not just because of the lack of back story to everything around them but because of Ember's and Chases relationship. Though we had a few flash backs scattered around the book of when they were a couple , most of the time it felt like we were just meant to already know how they felt towards each other and what they had been through to get to that point in the relationship, they rekindled a little on the road but it came across more as an insta-love because we weren't around the first time to actually connect and swoon over the relationship, does that make any sense at all or am I just rambling?

Even though I've done nothing but highlight the negative things about the book I did like some of the characters. I really liked Ember's friends Ryan and Beth, sadly you don't really get to read much about them so I'm hoping for more character development on their part as the series goes on. I also really liked Chase and as the book went on I really felt for him, Ember put so much emphasis on the fact that he left to go be a solider but there was much more to his side of the story than just up and leaving one day and I think Ember is really unfair when it comes to Chase. Ember as a character was someone who sadly I just could not connect with no matter how much I tried. Like already mentioned she blamed others for a lot of thing without taking any responsibility in it, she was a little bit too much of a 'woe is me' type of character at times. I also couldn't help but feel like she was purposely put in situations by Kristen Simmons to try and highlight how terrible the world they lived in was, but instead it just made Ember come across as reckless and selfish.

As you could have already guess I wasn't a big fan of this book, I think myself I just felt more disappointed than anything. For all its faults though the world building was something I enjoyed because I felt like I could really picture everything around Ember and Chase. Will I continue the series? Yes I will. I'm not sure when but I want to see what happens and hope that a lot more time has gone into explain what happened.


  1. I actually haven't read anything from Kristen Simmons but I've heard such amazing things about her. She's such a nice person on twitter and I'm dying to get my hands on this series and THE GLASS ARROW. Sorry to hear that this book wasn't a full hit for you but I am glad you liked some of the characters!

    1. I really want to read that book too, like I said I wont be giving up on the author just because I didn't like one book, I didn't like The Summer I turned Pretty by Jenny Han as I felt like I was too old for it but then I ended up really liking Burn for Burn because I felt like she had really grown as an author. So I'll be having a look at The Glass Arrow for sure :)

  2. I have a hard time with a romance where we don't "see" them fall in love unless the flashbacks are really good or the author's writing somehow pulls it off. Sorry this wasn't the case for you here. I have a copy of this and I should get to it someday seeing as all the books are out now. I'm just sorta of YA and dystopianed out at this point. Wonderful review! :)

    1. Thank you Rachel, I would love to hear your thoughts on the book if you get around to it. Like I already said I think the most unbelievable thing about this story for me was the romance, not only did we not get to see them fall in love and experience our self, but she was constantly 'I shouldn't love you but I do' and it was in that annoying way that just didn't work for me at all.

  3. I get what you mean. If a couple has already been established as a couple way before the series started, there is the potential to not "feel" the connection because you weren't there when it blossomed. This is why I'm usually not a fan of such romances because it feels lacking :/ And seriously, a road trip D: And mulling whether to trust him or not all the time! That spells boring and, perhaps, indecisiveness - the kind I'm not a fan of, either.

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. Part of me wants to tell you to stay away if you don't like all those things, and because I know I'm not the only one who felt it, but then I can't help but always say that you should try it before you judge so it's 50/50 for me.

      However it does have everything you stated, and the romance just wasn't... there for me. Maybe its because I am actually a really big fan of contemporaries and romance, joint first with fantasy as far as genres go so having a relationship that not only I couldn't attach myself to but didn't feel for myself was pretty hard and such a big let down of the book as I think it was a mega focal point of the story.

  4. I agree with you on Article 5.. I actually gave it two stars because it was more of a stupid romance novel than dystopian, Ember was quite annoying as well. I heard the series gets better though so let's see. Thank you for the honest review <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections


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