Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reading Article 5 is NOT Mandatory

Article 5
Author: Kristen Simmons
Read Chapter 1

Some violence and adult situations

After some undefined war, the United States has been taken over by an extreme religious right government and the Bill of Rights is replaced by the "Articles of Reformation". The new moral laws are enforced by the militaristic Federal Bureau of Reformation, known to the general public by the derogatory term Moral Militia. Ember Miller, a seventeen year old girl, is taken into custody as her mother is arrested for  violating Article 5 by conceiving a child outside of marriage. Among the unit sent to arrest them is Ember's childhood friend and first love, Chase Jennings. Ember is taken to a rehabilitation center run by the Sisters of Salvation, from which she plots her escape. Her only goal is to find and rescue her mother, and the entire story revolves around her attempts to do so and her now conflicted feelings for Chase.

I couldn't wait to read this book. A tyrannical government is imposing its views of morality on the populace? A small band of resistors are fighting back while a young woman finds herself thrust into the middle of the fight for human liberty? Count me in! I just love me some dystopia!

Make that: I just love me some good dystopia! And that's where Article 5 loses me.

The concept is a good one. And considering the way our governments continue to shred our liberties and trample on our human rights, the topic is timely and important. But the execution just wasn't there. Simmons doesn't give enough detail to construct a real, tangible world. There wasn't enough action to make it a quality adventure story and some aspects of the story weren't quite believable.

But most importantly, the heroine was not very likeable. Ember Miller didn't seem to be a particularly strong or logical character. She keeps mistrusting Chase even after he rescues her again and again. And since the novel is written in first person from her perspective, the reader is stuck inside her mind, constantly subjected to her irrational and downright whiny thoughts.

I'm usually pretty easy to please when it comes to books and movies. It doesn't take a whole lot to draw me into a story as I willingly suspend disbelief and let the storyteller carry me where she will. But I've got to like the character enough to care what happens to her. When it comes to Ember Miller in Article 5, I just didn't care.

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