Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: Article 5

Author: Kristen Simmons
Release Date: Already out in US / March 2012 AU
Publisher: Tor Teen / Pier 9
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon / Book Depository
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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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.

Set in a post-war future, Article 5 offers a brutal and devastating new reality. When the Federal Bureau of Reformation (MM for short - Moral Militia) come knocking on Ember Miller's door, she is rightfully terrified. Her single mother has apparently violated one of the newly instated Moral Statues - Article 5 - which outlaws the birth of a child when a man and woman are not married. Her mother is forcefully dragged away and Ember is thrown into a girls reform school. One where whippings and violence against teenage girls is not frowned upon. Alone and fearful of her mother's safety, Ember must learn to navigate this terrifying world on her own and decide who is friend, who is enemy and how far she is willing to go to survive.

I loved that Ember stood up for herself. In a world where it's safer to submit to the hand of those holding a gun to your head, Ember stands with her chin held high. It's so easy to sympathise with her desperation to find her mother. She's witnessed first-hand the violence soldiers are happy to use on people her own age, so she can only imagine what they're doing to her mother, the one responsible for the violation. Ember's always been the strong one, always her mother's rock or taking charge when necessary. So for her to have no idea where she is or what they're doing to her, it eats away at her heart. There are few things stronger than a parent-child bond. Ember endures a great deal of torment throughout the book, physically, emotionally and psychologically, but she perseveres on. Sometimes she breaks, in great moments of despair, but you can count on her to get back and keep fighting. She has the spirit of a survivor and a rebel, and that's what I so admire in a protagonist!

The relationship between Ember and Chase was beautifully complex. You could feel the unresolved feelings bubbling like mad, violently threatening to explode any second. But they kept them under a frustratingly good hold. Through flashbacks, we see the boy Chase once was and the sweet, tender relationship he shared with Ember. Compare that with the the present day Chase and the change is heartbreaking. The MM have beaten and broken and tried their best to mould him into the perfect little soldier, but you can see the effect Ember has on him. Her mere presence cracks through the thick walls he has up and touches something rooted deep inside his heart. They both put up barriers against one another, but will either ever let them down? They have their reasons not to. And perhaps one of them is hiding a very troubling secret.

Kristen magnificently captures the brutality of a twisted post-war America. You'll often be sitting there with eyes wide, mouth agape, shocked by the cruel violence. But that shock quickly turns to absolute rage at those responsible. I love when a book is able to elicit such a reaction of out of me. The messed up rules and regulations make me want to scream. In fact, Kristen evoked a different emotion every step of the way. Whether despair, surprise, heartache or the sweet fluttering of hope. From the very first page, she pulled me into this scary world without a moment to catch my breath and then flung me to and fro and around a new bend without a single warning.

This is the kind of dystopian I love. Where it's physically impossible to set the book down for a second, because you need to see what will happen next.  But then it's finished too soon and you're agonising over the painfully long wait until the sequel. Article 5 paints a raw picture of our world twisted into an cruel and ugly future. Lovers of dystopian and post-apocalyptic novels will eat this up and come crawling back on hands and knees, begging for more. Explosive action, heart-clenching romance and suspense so thick, even the MM standard gun can't shoot through it. Article 5 is definitely one of my favourite reads this year!

5/5 Golden Apples!

20 comments:

  1. Ooh! You have me interested in this book now, I'm not a huge dystopian fan and I didn't think I'd bother with this book but now I think I should at least give it a go! Ember sounds like a great main character too.

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  2. Oh wowowowowow! WOW!
    BRODIE! IT SOUNDS AMAZING! YOUR REVIEW IS AMAZING! YOU ARE AMAZING! Seriously. Before, I was merely suspicious. Now, I'm convinced. You have Make-Sarah-Die-To-Buy-This-Book-NowNowNow SUPERPOWERS O___O

    Aaaah! It sounds heartbreaking and wonderful, and I'm already seething with anger over the injustice of this stupid MM and want to hit somebody of something >:O

    Want! Now! I don't WANT to wait for March. A week away, you say? Psh. Stupid lack of time travel devices. Hmph.

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  3. Awesome, awesome... AWESOME review Brodie! You paint this book in such a fantastic light that I just HAVE to read it!! Think I'll be trying to get this as soon as possible!

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  4. *incoherent spluttering* AH. THIS BOOK. I NEED. I WANT. I MUST HAVE.

    I'd heard amazing things about it....but WOW. I guess I'd never really read into it too deeply but it seriously looks really indepth and interesting...especially if its a book that can cause those kinds of emotions. Christ I need this boooooooook.

    Okay, romance, action AND suspence? Gagh. WHY IS THIS NOT IN MY HANDS NOW?

    BRB breaking down the doors of publishers to get me this book.

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    1. LOL you know, I'm pretty sure this is out in bookstores already! Most books seem to be released 2 weeks prior to their official release date, soooo if you check Dymocks/some other bookshop YOU MIGHT FIND THIS<3

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  5. GAWD, I LOOOOOVED this book something fierce! It very nearly hit the Special Shelf mark, but didn't QUITE make the cut. Still, it was so agonizing and beautiful and raw. The terror is so thick and tangible that you can't help but want the characters to hide away so there's never a chance of them getting caught. The violence! I was pissed and stupefied, but unsurprised, because I remembered there were times where actions like this were a very real possibility. Overall, and gorgeous characterizations aside, the emotion in this one absolutely blew me away and I'M SO FREAKING HAPPY that you felt the same way, Brodie. We'll BOTH be painfully longing for the sequel together :D

    Asher

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  6. Fantastic review Brodie. You know I loved it and honestly, reading your review makes me want to go re-read it right now!!! :) ~ Donna

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  7. Seee?? I KNEW IT! I knew you'd love Article 5! I'm glad you finally had the chance to read this! I think 'beautifully complex' is the perfect description for their relationship. Aww, you're making me want to reread it! <3 Awesome review!!

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  8. AAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! I can't wait to read this book! Chase sounds like such an awesome swoon-worthy character!!! Awesome review, Brodie!! <3 That's all I can say! ;)

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  9. BRODIEEEEEEE! Sooooo glad you LOVED this! <3 I'm only up to the part where Chase helps Ember escape...BUT I NEED TO FINISH THIS SOON <3 I seriously cannot wait for more Ember/Chase scenes!! beautifully complex PERFECTLY DESCRIBES THEIR RELATIONSHIP <3 At the moment, I'm fully screaming at Chase to show SOME SORT OF EMOTION towards Ember and not just ignore her all the time :/
    OH MY GOD. As much as I WANT TO GO THROUGH DIFFERENT EMOTIONS, I CAN'T right now!!! Eeeeeee...so scared I'll be so obsessed with this I won't be able to study! Hmphh...BUT I NEED TO FINISH IT!!<3 WHAT DO I DO?!?! Eeeeeee!! Your review is PERFECT! <3

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  10. Brodie, thank you so much for making me die for yet another book. I'm getting this one very soon so not to worry . . . YAY! Can't wait to read it! Everything in this book sounds fantastic! Anyway great review!

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  11. YES YES YES and oh my gosh YES!! I agree with absolutely everything you said in your review! Ember was just so darn strong, even when things were awful and dark, and I love the way you said she has the "spirit of a survivor" -- because that describes her perfectly! :) And just like how much we LOVED Chase (which was a lot), I couldn't believe how cruel the rest of the world was either!

    Absolutely amazing and target-hitting review, Brodie!! <3 If I didn't already have two copies of this sitting on my shelf, your review definitely would've convinced me to go out and buy one -- it's definitely one of my favourites too! :)

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  12. Oh, Brodie! You have me torn! You love for this book has me thinking "I NEED THIS BOOK NOW!" Yet... dystopia isn't my favourite genre because it can make me so mad.. I don't like getting mad! And this sounds like one where I'll be going through negative feelings all the way through, and I don't enjoy that. Granted, that's the point, but it's not something I enjoy. I end up not wanting to pick books back up because I feel so bad when reading them. I think this may have to be one I give a miss, maybe.

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  13. you lovd it/ happy dance/ yes i loved loved ember and chase their relation

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  14. I'm always drawn to books with the whole corrupt/oppressive government idea. I swear I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I'm not! Lol. I guess I just tend to think that us humans are incredibly skilled at getting ourselves in too deep, what with our (generalizing here) ignorance and nonchalance towards the issues that really matter. Knowing this, Article 5 definitely sounds like a book I'll have to try!

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  15. Wow. o.o For every review, I keep getting more and more desperate to read this one! I don't think I've heard anything bad about it so far and I can't wait to get a chance to pick it up. I love books when you truly can't put it down and I admit it really sounds like one of those. Intense, but good! o: And favorite of the year too!! *needs*

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  16. Oh I adored Article 5 when I read it a few months ago! It is such an amazing book, isn't it? I'm thrilled you liked it ust as much as I did! Definitely a favourite dystopian.
    Ember and Chase were wonderful characters- that scene in the caravan was downright scary!

    I hope you're enjoying the Alchemy of Forever- I finished it a few days ago... I'll not tell you what I think of it, because it's spoilery. ( :
    Romi.xxx

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  17. Ooh, a favourite of the year? I'm dying to read this now! I love characters that stand up for themselves, especially when faced with a lot of difficult situations. And I'm so intrigued by the complex relationship between Ember and Chase. Awesome review, Brodie! :)

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  18. This book is one of my FAVORITES <3 and you are correct it was IMPOSSIBLE to put down. I loved it so hard<3 I have your amazing blog to thank for this book :)

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  19. Great review, I'm glad you enjoyed it :) I had some issues with some things in this, but I'm always glad to see people reviewing a book they love.

    Maree @ Maree's Musings

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