Simmons' series actually belongs under the heading of a dystopia. As long as the people follow the rules of the lawmakers, the society is perfect, but, for those who break the articles, the society is a hell. Unlike most YA dystopian series, the resistance is hardly a blip on the radar of the government. The resistance's attempts to overthrow the government feel largely futile, and hearken back to a more classic dystopian formula, especially since Simmons has no compunction about killing off characters.
Those who did not enjoy the first book cited Ember's voice as their biggest problem; they found her whiny and annoying. She does not strike me that way at all, though this is not to say that the other readers are wrong, because we all have our own unique lens on the world. If she is whiny, it's a proactive sort of complaining. Ember doesn't just sit on her ass waiting for Chase to help her. She takes action; in fact, her biggest weakness is her willingness to charge into situations without scouting out the best way to do so. She's emotional and fiercely protective of friends and family.
Actually, I'm really sold on Ember now. Her relationship with Chase does not change her behavior one bit, other than that sometimes she wants to make out with him. He does not control her one bit, and she's obviously more dominant in their relationship, even if he's stronger. I love, too, that when confronted with a terrible person from her past and forced to work with him, she continues not to trust him. This is so refreshing after all of the heroines in postapocalyptic and dystopian novels who befriend people who try to rape them or kill their families. Ember gives trust only where it's earned.
Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about Chase and Ember as a couple. In book one, I was rooting for them, but I didn't feel as much of a connection between this time. However, I do approve of how their relationship is handled, and that it's largely kept to the back burner. While they do have problems, none of the issues in their relationship are because of the situation they're in. Their relationship problems are internal, and secondary to dealing with survival.
What Left Me Wanting More:
My main concern at this point is a tentative one. As in so many dystopian societies, women are given inferior status to men. Thankfully, Simmons shows that women are still strong, with the primary example being Ember. Two, arguably three, other strong women appear in Breaking Point, which is great. Unfortunately, it concerns me that all of the powerful women but Ember are not looking good at the end of the book. If all women but Ember are either weak or destroyed physically, it's still sending a bad message. Authors do this, I believe, to make their heroine stand out more, but she can still shine while other women do too, I promise. Hopefully the next volume will bring in more female characters, and kickbutt ones at that.
The Final Verdict:
If you enjoyed Article 5, you're going to want to get your hands on Breaking Point pronto. There's plenty of action, death and uncertainty, exactly what is needed in a good dystopia.