Article 5 by Kirsten Simmons

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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.

Ember lives in a society, rebuilding after the ravage of war. The citizens aren't allowed individuality and must abide by the Moral Statutes, enforced by uniformed soldiers dubbed the Moral Militia, due to their heavy handed tactics. Citizens are cited for indiscretions and once charged, rarely do they return to the community. A knock at the door brings the militia into Ember's home, her mother being charged with having a child out of wedlock. With the new law only passed a week early and Ember well into her teens, surely this is just an oversight. Ember's feisty mother is dragged into custody  separated from Ember, but the sight of him stops her breath, Chase. The former boy next door, the one that chose the militia life over Ember, the boy that broke her heart.

Ember is taken to the Girls Reformatory and Rehabilitation Center, a reform center for girls under the age of eighteen that seemingly have issues following the Moral Statutes. The detention center, run by the Sisters of Salvation, are the Moral Militia's answer to the women's liberation. There is no escape, with the armed guards on a shoot to kill order. Ember knows nothing of where her mother is, or if she's still alive. With no option but to wait the long five months until her eighteen birthday to be released... Until Chase arrives to escort Ember to her trial. Forging her release documents at the request of her mother, she may be free, but she's far from safe.

The journey across the war ravaged land is danger and grueling. Ember's feelings are torn between the sweet, loving boy next door that Chase once was, and the cold and calculated soldier that has returned. But Chase would do anything to keep Ember safe, asked by her mother to keep her safe, Chase is determined to deliver the Moral Militia fugitive to the safety checkpoint, established by the underground movement rebel fighters, the Resistance.

But the enforcing Militia officers no longer provide a fair to the accused, even those who have violated Article Five. If Ember and Chase are found, the two will face certain execution, but Ember won't rest until her mother is safe, or she'll die trying. But she needs to enlist the aid of the dedicated rebel fighters.
The Resistance stands against the inhumane treatment of it's citizens I'm the barren world. The possessions deemed as contraband, the false imprisonment, the measly rations with communities forced to stave, the torture and brutal killings of those seen as possible rebel sympathizers and the unjust killing of falsely accused criminals. The world is broken and the government are repairing it's foundations on laws, torment and brutality... Would you risk your life for justice?

Article 5 was entertaining, but somewhat predictable. An authoritative and cruel government creating a well behaved society where no one is granted individuality, a common theme with Dystopian novels, but the storyline seemed to lose it's way.

What begun as a false imprisonment, a cruel detention center for girls where they are beaten and tortured if they step out of line, morphs into a road trip once Ember has been freed. The action them settles into a strange lull through the bulk of the second half, only to explode once again with only a chapter or two to go. It was good, not great though.

I did enjoy the characters, even the villains, which were difficult to identify. I've noticed with my focus on Dystopian novels this month, reading them back to back, that the majority either fall into the category of being incredible and blow your socks off, or they're safe, predictable and boring.

Sadly, this didn't blow my socks off, but overall, still somewhat entertaining.

Article 5
(Article 5: Book One)
Written By Kirsten Simmons
Published 31 / 01 / 2012 
368 Pages

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