Series: Article 5 #1
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Read it in: 5 days
Source: ARC received from the author
So basically... I could not put this book down! I was hooked from the first chapter, I stayed up late into the night just to get a little further, I cried at one point, and I obsessively thought about it whenever I wasn't reading it. Yeah! Seriously, this is one book that you guys are going to want to have near the top of your To-Be-Read lists because I am still in awe at just how flipping phenomenal it was.
Article 5 takes place in a post-apocalyptic United States, right after a major war has devastated basically the entire country and caused all the major cities to be evacuated. Now a new government has taken over, replacing the Bill of Rights with a new law called The Moral Statutes-- everyone must comply with these incredibly strict laws or face worse than death. Ember Miller and her rebellious mom live together quietly until one day when soldiers from the Moral Militia come to their house and arrest her mom for breaking the Statutes. When Ember fights back, she is taken to a nightmarish Reform School for girls. It is now up to her to escape and save her mom... oh, and also come to terms with the fact that Chase, the only boy she has ever loved, was one of the soldiers who took her mother away.
Ember was an awesome main character-- she goes through so much that you really have to admire her strength and courage and how well she holds herself together. Whether it's watching her mom being dragged away by soldiers or being beaten by a sadistic school teacher or barely getting away from the creepiest psycho lady you will ever read about (OMG you'll know when you get to that part!), Ember never gives up on her goal of finding and saving her mother, and doing whatever she can to resist the cruel government that has ruined their lives. She had a wonderful heart and was both vulnerable but willing to fight at the same time-- even when the odds were completely against her. I definitely loved Ember's strong, rebellious character, and was on her side rooting for her the entire time!
And then we have Chase-- Chase was Ember's love interest and the reason I liked him so much is that you are never **really** sure what his deal is throughout the story-- is he good? Is he bad? Has he been brain-washed? The author keeps you guessing for awhile! I won't give anything away about him, but I will say that the relationship between Chase and Ember builds up throughout the story, going back and forth--which I also loved, because things between them are realistically tough and complicated. (AKA, You don't have to worry about them falling madly in love within 3 pages-- so annoying when that happens right?!)
The one and only (very) small caveat that I'll mention is that I wish a few things about the actual dystopia had been explained a little more... What exactly happened to society and why has it become the way it is? Who was "the War" against and who bombed out all the cities? Who is the President? Of course these things may be explained more in the sequel which I will definitely be reading! And also, let me just emphasize that in the case of Article 5, I enjoyed the story so much and was so invested in the characters that I didn't mind as much not having everything explained. Honestly, I think that this dystopian was done much, much better as far as dystopian world-building goes than some others I have read (**cough, cough, Matched! cough, cough**) in the YA genre.
So in conclusion, I just loved this book-- I was absolutely, completely blown away. Every chapter was full of suspense, action, terror, escapes, fights, romance, and basically everything else that makes a book impossible to put down! I highly recommend Article 5 to all my blog followers, it is one YA dystopian that you are NOT going to want to miss!
I am definitely digging this book cover-- I love the image of the bombed-out, abandoned city and the picture of Ember and Chase gazing off into the distance. I really love how the title is done in the red and stands out so starkly against the rest of the sepia-toned design, especially since it ties in with the "Red Zones" in the book, which are the evacuated city areas. And, you know, I have to say that I think sometimes it is really difficult for a book to pull off a hand-drawn illustration instead of using a highly-edited photograph (a la Wither or City of Bones) without coming across as looking a little... cheesy. But this cover design works so well because the illustration is so detailed and life-like! I'm definitely a fan.