Monday, April 16, 2012

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

America has survived a brutal war that has left it damaged and broken, but the Powers That Be have a plan to get back on track and the changes they are making are for the good of society as a whole.  The Federal Bureau of Reformation has issued a series of moral statutes to guide them all into a moral future built on the strength of a strong family unit.  Immoral literature or writings not approved by the State are now illegal, the Church of America is the official religion and all other religions are now illegal, a family is one woman one man and child(ren) anything else is illegal - and most of all only a child born to a married husband and wife is a legal citizen with a future in this new society.

Ember Miller has lived in this "bold" new world for years and has struggled to keep her mother safe and a team player in that time.  She keeps an eye out for the MM (Moral Militia) and tries to make sure that her mother doesn't get caught breaking the wrong rules or too many rules at any one time.  It is a balancing act she has maintained for years, but one afternoon she comes home to find that this time there is no escape from the MM or the rules of the FBR.  Torn away from her mother, Ember's only wish is to get back home again, to reach the only family she has.  That won't be easy though, first she has to escape from the FBR and they have had lots of practice keeping non-compliant teenagers in check.

Dystopian ... dystopia ... country destroyed by war ... oppressive rules ... these are the main themes of so many books at the moment, a trend driven no doubt by the success of series such as the Hunger games trilogy.  It is increasingly difficult to create storylines and plots where so many other novels have already been, where so many storylines are already becoming cliched.  Article 5 is not your typical dystopian novel, if for no other reason than it is set so close to the end of the existing society - you could easily picture Article 5 being the society that lead to the Hunger games world over the course of decades.  Article 5 is not new, amazingly different, or groundbreaking, but Simmons does take an overworked idea and makes it her own, tackling a different time for any dystopian series/world - the point in time when ordinary people are turned into unthinking slaves of the regime.

I got to about the half way point of Article 5 and then nearly gave up because it did feel a little like I had been here before, but then I pushed through and am glad I did because I read the second half of the book in one big rush.  Ember and Chase are interesting characters, and through the course of the book they change and grow, and you come to understand more about their motivation with each passing chapter and "adventure".  Article 5 will appeal to both the boys and girls, possibly more so to the boys because there is a lot of action and drama rather than romantic tension.

If you like this book then try:
  • The hunger games by Suzanne Collins
  • Legend by Marie Lu
  • Partials by Dan Wells
  • Pure by Julianna Baggott
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Tomorrow, when the war began by John Marsden
  • The way we fall by Megan Crewe
  • The eleventh plague by Jeff Hirsch
  • Rot and ruin by Jonathan Maberry
  • Arrival by Chris Morphew

Reviewed by Brilla

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