Review Detail3.8 7
Article 5 falls into the vein of dystopias that clearly stem from our modern society. The direct correlation to forces at play in current politics makes this a great read-a-like for Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. In Simmons' horrific future, the fundamentalists have taken over, after various factors caused problems. The country is policed by the FBR, also known as the MM (Moral Militia). Women are being forced back into a subservient role: wives and mothers. There is talk of no longer allowing women to take math, for example, because what use is that to ladies? Women must wear appropriate clothing. All sorts of reading materials (ex. romance novels) and actions (ex. doing anything romantic outside of marriage) are prohibited.
Even more horrifying, the military now has such power that trials for crimes are becoming a thing of the past. Even if a trial is planned, nobody looks to closely if a 'criminal' dies in an 'escape attempt' or something of that sort. Not only that, but you can now be held responsible for something done years before. Take, for example, our heroine's mother, arrested at the beginning of the book for having a child out of wedlock. Note that the child she had is 17 year old Ember. The law didn't exist when Ember was born, but it's written now, so off to jail you go.
Ember was a wonderful heroine. She has so much personality and I really felt like I knew her. Told in the first person from her perspective, I just loved the way Ember thought and phrased things. She has a sarcastic and occasionally off-the-wall humor that I really appreciate. I thought the storytelling was effective, and that, though I knew Ember best, I did get a hint of depths to some of the other more minor characters.
What I really love about Ember as a heroine is how ordinary she is. Now, she is cleverer than average and definitely braver, but she has no special physical skills or powers to aid her in her quest to save her mother from prison. Despite that, Ember is a force to be reckoned with. She fights back, even when that is really not the advisable action. Ember cannot NOT act when someone does something to her. She does not take abuse quietly. She stands up for herself first and foremost, and sometimes or others. The selfishness underlying most of her actions I really liked too, because, let's be honest, that's how she's going to have a chance of surviving.
Plus, her personality made the romance stand out from the ordinary YA relationships. Though on the surface, we have an obvious match with Chase and Ember, childhood sweethearts torn apart by his induction into the MM. Whereas most YA heroines when reunited with the strong, tall, gorgeous Chase would forgive him his trespasses and do whatever he asked, like good girls do, Ember does not trust him at all. Any trust he gets from her has to be EARNED. She knows well that just because she loved him before does not mean he is the same person now.
Chase and Ember's relationship appeals so much more to me because of the realistic way in which she views it. Though she's drawn to him, she can resist him. She can think logically in the face of his presence. She can use him to get what she needs. She listens to him when it's in her benefit, but also will disobey his orders if she feels that necessary. Despite his training and strength, she always does what she can to fight and comes up with great ideas, rather than expecting him to protect her.
Article 5 is chock full of action, awesome characters, sassy writing and a horrifying dystopian society that I dearly hope never comes to pass. Book two, Breaking Point, should probably make its way to my hands immediately; I want it like BURNING.