Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller lives a peaceful life with her single. mother. 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.
Article 5 has an interesting premise, and as someone with a passion for dystopian novels, I was anxious to get my hands on a copy of Kristen Simmons’ debut. Unfortunately, however, there were a multitude of flaws within the novel that prevented me from enjoying it as much as I could have, despite the creative premise.
In Simmons’ futuristic America, the country has completely changed. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution have been abolished, replaced by the Moral Statutes, a series of rules and regulations against individual rights. Those who break these rules are arrested, and rarely return.
Article 5 follows the story of 17-year-old Ember Miller. Ember has managed to keep a low profile and her life is relatively peaceful considering the circumstances, but that turns upside down when her mother is arrested for noncompliance of Article 5 in the Moral Statutes. And the officer that arrests her mother is none other than Chase Jennings – the only boy Ember has ever loved…
Article 5 could have been so much more engaging if a simple backstory was given. Apparently, this drastic change in American government is the result of another civil war. This seems logical, but I found myself wanting a lot more detail. What was the war fought over? What different sides fought? How did it start / end? How did the war lead to the creation of the Moral Statutes? Additionally, I find it hard to believe that American citizens would so easily give up their much-loved democracy without fighting the government to get it back (or attempting to, at the very least).
Additionally, Ember was constantly making decisions that I found both annoying and stupid. She was constantly making decisions without ever thinking of the consequences her actions might have, which quite often put her – and those around her – in danger. She only cared about herself and her looks, and whined and complained as much as she could.
While the story is seemingly a dystopian, I found that classification hard to believe because so much of the story was spent on the romantic relationship between Ember and Chase. Their relationship is one of extreme instalove and utter clichés, one with no chemistry whatsoever. I was never able to feel the true spark between the two of them – their whole romance felt rather forced – and the angst between them was practically unbearable. Most disappointing, however, was the way that the romance was given priority over any chance of world-building and any character development.
Being a huge fan of dystopians is both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, with so many dystopian stories releasing, it is never hard to find what to read next; but, on the other hand, some YA dystopians almost appear to be written mindlessly and simply for the money they bring in, and that’s the vibe Article 5 gave off. It’s sad to say that not only could I not get on board with this one, but that I absolutely detested almost everything about it.