New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.
The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.
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.
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
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.
All of the major cities have
crumbled, and basic rights are a thing of the past. Now control is based
on a set of moral statutes, with harsh penalties for offenders. Being
simply accused means a swift arrest and trial, and no one comes back
from that. They are simply forgotten. Ember gets by as best she can
while trying to contain her very free spirited mother. She's learned all
the ways to blend in and stay unnoticed, keeping her life relatively
normal, all things considered. However all that changes the day her
mother is arrested for violating Article 5 in the Moral Statues by none
other than her childhood love. With her life turned upside down, she
finds herself in her own personal nightmare. The only question is
whether she can survive it.
Ember (love that name!) is a
flawed, but REAL character. Throughout Article 5 there were many times
where I really wanted to strangle her for the poor decisions she was
making, especially when it came to Chase. However, those mistakes only
made her seem that much more real. We would all like to think that in a
crisis situation we could keep our cool and know exactly what to do.
Perhaps some of us could, but I have a feeling the majority of people
would behave exactly like Ember. Her whole life has been turned upside
down and people are trying to kill her left and right, she just isn't
going to be able to accept all of that rationally, especially
considering just how naive she was in the beginning. Nor would she be
able to easily throw her trust into someone she felt abandoned by. She's
entitled to have melt downs, and to be honest, she had a whole lot of
character growth throughout Article 5, to the point where she is almost a
completely different person.
The world behind Article 5 is so
chilling and rather horrific. I love dystopian books; there is just
something about them that calls to me. However, what sets Article 5
apart is how very real it felt. It very easily could have been happening
now in our world, or at least in the very near future. All it would
take would be for one single conflict to go bad, and land a terrible war
on U.S. soil, with religious extremists rising to take over in the
aftermath. The whole concept of morality being the controlling factor of
society absolutely terrifies me. Forget the Bill of Rights, keep your
head down and don't dare to make a single misstep or you will pay
dearly. My heart bled for these characters, in their desperation to
survive, especially Ember as her eyes were painfully opened to the
horrors of her world.
This is one of those books where
you are so far sucked into the story you don't even notice the flaws
until it is time to write the review. When I first finished the book I
eagerly stamped a five star rating on it via goodreads, but now as I
look back I realize that much of the story wasn't perfect. The idea of
persecuting people for "crimes" they committed many years before there
was even a law against them doesn't seem really plausible. Especially
since this would impact as much as a third of the population. Also there
was the issue of the too short time in the camp leaving that feeling a
little undeveloped, as well as a few other things. Does that mean I'm
going to now lower my rating? Absolutely not, as the reading experience
was so intense, it more than warrants the five. No book is ever going to
be perfect, and in the end what matters most is being entertained and
emotionally attached to the story, and Article 5 certainly fits that
bill. So if you like a book that is so riveting and compelling, as well
as impossible to put down, then Article 5 is one debut you won't want to