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Article 5 Paperback – January 1, 2013
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“Fans of dystopian books will love this debut novel, the first in a series.” ―School Library Journal
“[A] gripping, atmospheric story of survival. Alongside a fierce depiction of oppressive government, Simmons has created a bleak portrait of an America lost. I could hardly put it down.” ―Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood
“[A] fun read...a good amount of adventure and action.” ―Wired
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Our heroine (named "Ember" of course, because "Girl on Fire" would be a bit much, don't you think?) goes into hysterics when confronted with the reality of her world, demanding to know of one and all why they don't fight back. It just doesn't ring true - either she would know exactly why no one is fighting, the situation would be so new that they actually would be fighting back, or her outbursts would have gotten her killed before the end of chapter one. The narrative style doesn't help - Ember isn't a girl I'd particularly want to get to know, as it turns out, unlike her obvious model of Katniss Everdeen.
Do yourself a favor - re-read Hunger Games. This one is only good in theory.
BUT, there was one issue that bugged the crap out of me! And it was the main character Ember! Now, after saying that, I did NOT hate Ember, I found her to be VERY annoying at times, but manly only in the beginning! I understand that she was going through a rough time. I understand that her mom had been taken from her for the solely reason of just giving birth to her. I understand she went days and nights hungry and cold. I understand she had to do everything she could to survive, no matter what that was! I get it, I really do, but girl, get a grip!! In the beginning she was whinny, annoying, and very irrational! Her directed anger towards Chase was totally misplaced! Chase was only trying to keep her safe, given the crappy hand he was dealt! He had to make due with what he had, and everything he did was for her, and her only. And she couldn't see that, well at least not until the end. But that annoyed the crap out of me!! She was just too dam hard on my man Chase, and I didn't like it!!
But by the end of the book, I loved Ember! I know that's a really big switch, but she matured, and came to terms with the truth about everything she'd been naive too. She had faced some hard truths of the world they lived in, and had first hand experience of some of the hardships that Chase has endured, and came to understand him and the reasoning behind the things he did. Ember had a huge wake up call, and after that, she was tough as nails! She did what she had to to survive, even if it meant to get down and dirty, and do disable things. She did them because it was her only means to survive. She was able to understand a become a new person born from the destruction and pain that has built there new world! The old Ember is gone, and this new Em will not stand for it, not anymore! And that is one of the many reasons why I have come to care very deeply for Ember after her struggle within herself. We were able to watch her grow from the whinny, naive, sheltered, little girl to this strong, hard, determined, women that will stand and fight for what she believes in, and put others first no matter the cost! By the end of the book I NEEDED more of Chase and Ember's story!
The war is over, the remaining citizens are forced to obey, and summit their free will if their going to survive! The Federal Bureau Of Reformation rules with an iron fist, killing innocents, making soldiers, and building this unbreakable army. Or so they thought...
There's a rebellion brewing, citizens and outcasts have bounded together to take a stand and fight back, with one little battle at a time. They don't have the resources or man power yet to take on the FBR. But their slowly building, recruiting, lying low, staying in the shadows, and picking and choosing their battles until their ready to strike back.
So after the FBR comes in and arrest Ember's mother for violating Article 5, a new law that just past sentencing all women for having children out of wedlock. Ember tries to fight back, and keep her mother out of prison. But she's only one girl fighting against 3 armed soldiers. But when the driver turns out to be Ember's love of her life, Chase, the walls she slowly built, starting crumbling around her, and she herself is locked up and taken to where all the girls go for being Article Violators, a Rehabilitation Center!
Ember is locked away for the only crime she committed is being born. She is forced to endure some horrific acts, and is horrified at the truth. The FBR are evil, they are hurting, and even killing people, innocent people. That's when Ember has had enough. She is determined to escape and get as far away from this torture center as possible to save her mother from the same horrible fate.
But if Ember wants to make it out alive, then she will have to join forces with the same boy that helped lock her and her mother away, Chase, her long lost love!
Chase has come back for Ember, and this time is fighting on her side! He is determined to get Ember out of the rehabilitation center and get her to safety, all while trying to stay alive, and avoid the other insane, hungry, starving people living in FBR's broken society, all while evading and trying to stay one step ahead of the FBR. But there closing in, there getting smarter, and there determined to find Chase and Ember no matter what!
Ember and Chase will have to learn to put their differences aside and rely on each other if their going to make it out of this mess in one piece. But it won't be easy, as Ember has a heavy heart from what Chase has done, and Chase has a hard demeanor, built from the guilt of what he's done to the people he loves. But just when all seems lost, and there on the losing side, the Resistance comes out of nowhere, and aids them to safety, even if its just for a little while. Now, they will have to ally with the Resistance if they have any chance of escaping the evil strong hold of the government!
I really enjoyed Article 5, and most of all I enjoyed watching these characters grow, and become strong leaders and fight for what they believe in and not give up.
This book had just enough action to keep me entertained and more then enough struggle and pain to break my heart over and over again!
I will definitely be finishing this series and continuing Ember and Chase's adventure and struggle through the corrupt cities controlled by the vicious FBR.
That said, Ember is one of the more disappointing characters to have made her way into dystopian fiction. She is whiney, obsessive, short sighted and dumb as a stump. She makes horrible decision after horrible decision many of which never make any sense. Chase, the military drafted love interest, spends most of his time rescuing Ember from various situations of her own making. And then Ember judges Chase for saving her. Example- they encounter two men who will obviously rape her if they can get Chase out of the way. Chase almost kills one of them protecting her. Ember chastises Chase for his "violent" ways. "No one deserves to die" or something like that she spouts. Go back to Kansas, Dorothy. Why Chase stuck with her through this saga is beyond me- he suffers from PTSD on some level from his military experience and all Ember can do is make him feel worse for every move he makes in her best interest.
The story line of Ember needing to find her mom was obsessive and not based in the reality of the world of the book. Did she think she would just show up to where her mom was and they would hand her over? She "needed to find her" to protect because her mom apparently barely functions above the maturity level of a toddler. I get that is the driving force behind Ember's actions but it was border line OCD.
Saddest thing about this book is there are more to follow. No way would I read on about Ember (SPOILER) especially when it sounds like she is going to take some leadership role in the Resistance. The thought of following her stupid decisions through two more books makes me cringe.
For those of you who want to read a really well done series in this genre, I suggest "Enclave" by Ann Aguirre. Or "Wool" by Hugh Howey. Cannot say enough good things about "Wool".
Top international reviews
Ember lives in a world where everything you do is governed by rules. And if you mess up, you're severely punished for it but the soldiers of the faceless government. Standard premise I know, but I was excited to see where Simmons might go with it. Strangely though, this is a world that I can't tell you a thing about. And yes I swear I read the whole thing. And that's largely what's wrong with this novel. It's labelled as a dystopian, but the author fails to once explain how this dystopian world came about. Why are there a bunch of rules to follow? What happened to society to make it so structured and suffocating? Who knows.
My second issue lies with Ember. A girl who rarely makes sense, makes silly decisions based on a school girl crush and questions why it's okay to be upset with people who are trying to hurt you. I just can't like her. I tried, it's hard to not feel for a girl who has her mum ripped away from her for breaking a rule she probably didn't even break, but Ember is more interested in Chase. One of the soldiers tearing her away. Great.
The thing is, I actually like romance. I prefer it though when it's subtly built up around the story, not just the entire focus of the novel because that just largely detracts from all the interesting world building I could be enjoying. If there was any here, which there isn't.
Ultimately, this novel blends in beautifully within the dystopian genre and does sweet nothing to stand out from the crowd. It is sadly poorly developed with disappointing characters and zero world building. I wish I could bring up my rating with a nice writing comment, but this book is also riddled with poorly constructed sentences so I can't even do that. A genuine shame, I was really hopeful for this book and it always sucks to say a book didn't work for you when you had such high hopes.
The book is of course aimed at teens and to be honest the two stars are more based on knowing my daughter, who is in the target audience, liked it. I honestly think one star would be more appropriate if one is considering an adult’s perspective.
Ember is the main character. Like Katniss (Hunger Games), Wren (Reboot), Triss (Divergent) and the girls from the Matched and Open Minds trilogies, Ember doesn't fancy herself as anything special and seems completely taken aback that the love of her life loves her in return. Why do these girls always have such a low opinion of themselves??? She is also being geared up to be involved in a rebellion against the government and blah blah blah.... Basically if you've read one of these, you've read them all.
The boy character, Chase, could easily be swapped out with Four from Divergent, Callum from Reboot or any other number of male characters. He's damaged, he's being forced into a soldiers life that he wants to rebel against but is scarily good at, but his love of the girl gets him through and keeps him human. YAWN.
The twist of the tale in what happened to a Embers mother? Guessed it as soon as Ember got to the girls school. When Ember was arrested in the last part of the book and then a mysterious unnamed soldier is put in the cell next to hers... The most obvious answer, it's the right one. DOUBLE YAWN.
The whole premise of the book is that there's been a war and now there's a new government but this is never explored more, which is frustrating.
And yet... Even though I can probably guess precisely what is coming up in part two and three, I am hooked. Maybe I need to get out more. Maybe I am just a sucker for a formulaic romance in a not so impossible future.
Would I recommend this to you? It's nothing special and once you've finished, it will blur with all the other teen dystopia fiction that's flooding the market. But, if you liked Hunger Games, Divergent, Matched, Reboot etc etc, you'll probably enjoy this.
For reasons - pretty much - unknown, America has become a dystopian wasteland. Cities have been abandoned, The Bill of Rights revoked in favour of the oppressive and sinister Moral Statutes. In place of police are soldiers, arresting (though it really is more like kidnapping) people for the smallest infractions. In Ember's case, this infraction was being born.
When Ember and her mother are both arrested and the arresting officer turns out to be none other than Chase Jennings - the only boy Ember has ever loved - her entire world is thrown into turmoil. She is sent to a detention center that takes the guise of a reform school, where they beat and even kill prisoners.
But when Ember is caught escaping and is about to be tortured Chase shows up and pulls her out of there. He says he'll take her somewhere safe. He says he'll help her find her mother. But Ember doesn't know what to believe and she has to decide whether Chase is still the boy she once loved.
Our heroine: I really liked Ember and enjoyed following her story. Though what happens to her is terrible and she is clearly petrified, she still remains a strong and likable character. Her relationship with her mother isn't really explore in the book as she is arrested early on in the beginning, but Ember talks about her a lot and seems to think she has to look after her all the time. This was kind of annoying and it's a commonplace theme in many YA books - narrators adopting the adult role for their parents. I find the whole thing kind of tired to be honest and I did find myself rolling my eyes whenever Ember talked about her mother. I know, I sound harsh but, for example, at one point Ember is discussing her relationship with Chase and she says: I'd thought that I had been close to my mother, and I was, but not like this'. Uhm, really? So you're not sexually attracted to your mother, Ember? Well, uhm, good. Thanks for sharing.
BUT aside from that really awkward passage, Ember's pretty awesome and I found myself rooting for her character the entire way through. When she suffered, I winced and when things got good I cheered!
Our love interest: I don't want to reveal too much about Chase in case I spoil things but, let me just say, YES. Yes to Chase on all accounts. I like how his character is developed and is just as complex and three-dimensional as Ember. His story plays out nice and slow, so we're always left wondering and it's great to see how conflicted his feelings for Ember make things. I know he did a lot of bad stuff, but he was so well-developed that I actually thought he was too hard on himself and I definitely thought Ember needed to cut him some slack. But their chemistry was undeniable and kept me turning the page for more.
Writing style: I loved Simmon's writing. Ember's voice really shines and her narrative is intelligent and engaging. You really get to see how mature she has had to become in such a horrible and dangerous society, which is brilliant and horrific at the same time. Simmons's descriptions are wonderful - not too much, but just perfect in detailing the horrors and the romance elements without going overboard. All of the characters were extremely well-developed and she was fantastic at writing the soldiers as heartless and bloodthirsty.
I really was gripped all the way to the end and there were even a few plot twists that I definitely did not see coming. Simmons is a fantastic writer and I enjoyed this book so much I finished it in one sitting, barely breaking for food (which is a big deal for me!). Though I do wish we found out more about why society had become the way it did I was so engrossed in Ember's story that it really didn't matter all that much.
Article 5 is definitely one of my favourite books of the year and as such I can't wait to read the second installment! I would recommend it to anyone who's a fan of Dystopian or Romance as this blends the two seamlessly to create a fantastically thrilling novel.
(Review by [...]
I think this book is written very well, I like the characters, I like setting and I sort of like the writing. I love how Ember is a real girl and we see her slowly develop. She isn't badass straight away, she isn't a heroine by the middle of the book. It takes time. She is like a real character, the real feelings that a real world human would show, despair, heartbreak....
I study history and just recently I have studied the Nazi Germany period. I think this book is a lot like that, one government...complete power...everyone fears them and of course after a war. I don't know whether the author was trying to carry it off like that but I like it. It is different and bodes well to reality.
The reason I gave it four stars is because I feel as though the author was trying to hard with the writing. She was using one too many metaphors or really forcing the description, I mean some people won't think like that but that really annoyed me, I would prefer it if she toned it down a notch or two.
I don't know if this is a memorable book but I do enjoy it. Recommended
This book had first appeared on my radar as I had started reading a lot of Young Adult novels of the dystopian persuasion and Amazon kept recommending it to me.
Like a lot of books of this genre this is set in the near future after a catastrophic event/s has shattered everyday life.
The main character is Ember who is 17 and lives with her Mother in what was the United States, after a series of events the big cities have been bombed and a new government has taken over and with this new government comes a new set of rules or articles and these are governed by the Federal Bureau of Reformation.
These articles are set out with what seems to be extreme moral family values in mind and as Ember lives with just her mother they are in direct violation of one of the Articles.
Sorry I am trying to write this with spoiling any of it for you, anyway i digress, because of Ember’s mothers breaking one of the rules/articles Ember is taken away to a boarding school and during the lead up to this she comes in to the path of her childhood love Chase (who sounds quite hot) but unfortunately he works for the bureau as a soldier.
The story continues with some of the horrors of the boarding school and the people who live there but luckily with a little help Ember manages to escape.
The book from there on deals with Ember’s struggle to stay hidden away from the cruel bureau.
Even though I am not in the intended audience for this book which I imagine is probably 14-20, I really enjoyed it and have went on to read the second book which I will review once I finish it.
My only gripe with these books is basically why is it only this one girl (and its usually a girl) who can stop the bad guys?, but apart from that I would give it 4 out of 5.
firstly lose any preconceived ideas you may have from other books of this genre about a dystopian future. Forget The Hunger Games and the Pure trilogy, because while they were good reads that isn't going to happen, instead imagine a future United States so torn by war the the Bill of Rights is replaced by the Moral Statute. One family under God, traditional values are being embraced and whole families with mother and father only recognised as valid citizens. This stuff is disturbing, THIS could happen.
Our heroine in this Ember Miller is a teenage girl brought up by a single working mum and conceived out of wedlock. their very existence in a world where nail varnish and magazines are contraband good, goes against the Moral statute.
Ember's life changes with her mothers arrest and her introduction into the brutal reform school.
The imagination in this is incredible, the diverse and vividly described characters, the bombed cities, the fear, all of this will have you on the edge of seat and re reading entire sections in disbelief. thoroughly enjoyable !
Simmons does a good job creating a scary world and at times you feel Ember's despair, but she is a chracter with lots of courage. Not always likeable, she can be selfish and makes the most ridiculously stupid decisions at times but you find yourself rooting for her. Chase is a brillant lead male, he has enough angst for every reader to fall a little in love with him but still has enough darkness that he isn't completely mushy.
Read for yourself, this is a cracker book and I really enjoyed the world Simmons has created. Can't wait for the next...
Oh what a disappointment this was - Ember just needed a SLAP and a good shaking, I am not sure if I have ever read a character soooo DUMB.
Chase was o.k. bit 2 dimensional and I will read the next one but not gagging to read it like was this one..
The main character is very slow and unobservant
The relationships are forced and they have no chemistry
Overall the idea of the book is good but the twists are predictable and the characters do not feel like real people, so i don't recommend buying this book...
Only thing that I found slightly unbelievable was how they managed to escape different places while escaping is seemingly unheard of.
But over all a book a could not put down and had my heart beating faster.
You get a real feel for the characters and easies you into this world really smoothly.