by Kristen Simmons
Cover Artist: Nekro
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Teen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765329585
Date: 14 February 2012 List Price $17.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Americans tend to believe in their own exceptionalism. The bad things that happen in other countries can never happen here, but theocracy is just a step away. The invasion of America wasn’t the worst thing that happened, that was reserved for the take- over by the biblical purists.
Ember Miller just wants to live her life and be left alone. High School isn't what it used to be, but neither is the world. A change to the enforcement of the Moral Statutes will change her world forever. Her mother put her at risk by being a single mother, a violation of Article 5, now Ember must endure an all new form of hell. She must escape and find her mother, but this reform school is just a prison by another name.
Chase was the boy next door, until he got drafted into the Moral Militia. He is forced to help detail Ember and her mother. This will test his commitment to the authorities and his feelings for Ember.
Ember's journey will take her through a post-apocalyptic America, that little resembles what people now enjoy. Empty cities, check points, and laws that have no place in a modern world. She faces the choice of fighting back, hiding, or giving in to the new order.
The story unfolds through the eyes of Ember and is told in the first-person. Ember has the same issues that many teenage girls face, and reacts to the world in a plausible fashion, and shares her fears and doubts as she examines who she is and what she believes.
This is young adult dystopia at its best, fast-moving action with a setting that is plausible but frightening. The story brings to mind the classics 1984 and Brave New World, where what is changes from day to day, as do the rules. Add to the mix some believable characters that make human choices, and you have something worth trying. Readers are going to have a tough time putting this one down.
I enjoyed Article 5. It was easy to get into the story, the background was well explained, but not spewed out in a massive infodump. It was teased out a little at a time as needed. There were no great surprises, everything is laid out and readers will be able to guess what is coming, but this does not take away from the general enjoyment. The setting is what drew me to this title. Simmons did a nice job creating this world. I would be willing to read another tale by her.