The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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.
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 miss!
(Received a copy from the publisher)
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