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Saturday, September 08, 2012

And It Could Have Been So Intriguing ...

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

After years of war and chaos, things in the U.S. have finally settled down.  As long as citizens comply with the Moral Statutes—new laws governing everything from what people can read to how they're allowed to dress to which religion they're able to practice—they're safe.  Breaking the rules means paying a hefty fine, being sent to prison, or worse.  If soldiers from the Federal Bureau of Reformation (FBR) take you away, chances are you'll never be heard from again.  

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller's seen enough people disappear to know how serious the government is about upholding the laws, no matter how ridiculously strict they may be.  So, she does her best to stay under the radar, doing nothing that might draw the FBR's attention to her and her rebellious single mother.  It's not easy.  In fact, it's impossible.  Soldiers soon arrest Ember's mother for violating Article 5 (having children out of wedlock).  Now a piece of government property, Ember's taken to a girl's reformatory run by an anti-feminist group called the Sisters of Salvation.  She knows she can't stay there, knows she has to escape and find her mother—but how?  No one's ever made it out of the reformatory before aging out at 18.  Not alive, anyway.  Maybe she won't survive an escape attempt either, but she has to try.

As Ember battles the brutal soldiers of a fanatical government, she'll have to decide who to trust and what to risk in order to save herself and her mother.

Article 5, the first book in a new YA dystopian trilogy by newcomer Kristen Simmons, offers a premise with some unique possibilities.  Unfortunately, the book leaves most of those unexplored, focusing instead on Ember's incarceration and subsequent flight across several states.  So many YA dystopians have this exact plot that it makes Article 5 feel dull and unoriginal.  Intriguing characters can often save the day in such novels, but not in this one—Ember's whiny, selfish and irritatingly naive.  The rest of the cast are flat and/or stereotypical.  All in all, Article 5 disappointed me.  I was hoping for something unique and, although the story could have gone in some interesting directions, it just didn't.  Maybe subsequent books will, but I don't think I'll be sticking with this series long enough to find out.      

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Eve by Anna Carey, as well as Ashfall and Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin)

Grade:  C

If this were a movie, it would be rate:  PG-13 for language (no F-bombs), violence and mild sexual innuendo/content

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Article 5 from the generous folks at Tor Teen (a division of Tor/Forge).  Thank you!       

1 comment:

  1. Just the synopsis of this one sounds like every other dystopian book out there. I think I'll pass.


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