16 March, 2012

Article 5

Title: Article 5
Author: Kristen Simmons
Genre: Fiction - Dystopian
Audience: Young Adult
 Format: Kindle

From Goodreads: The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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

What I thought: There was a couple of reasons I chose to read this. I'd read a couple of really good reviews and I really wanted something to kick off my dystopian challenge!
And here's the thing - I wasn't impressed - rather disappointed actually. At about the 75% mark I actually went looking for reviews because all I had read was positive and it just wasn't doing it for me. Thankfully I found a several reviews on Goodreads that agreed with me and convinced me I wasn't the only person on the planet who didn't like the book.
I had several issues with it, the biggest of which was the main character and narrator - Ember. The blurb says she is good at keeping a low profile, she is aware people are arrested for minor offenses and the consequences are severe - yet her behaviour tends to suggest she is oblivious to this. Her inability to understand that a harsh world may require harsh actions. Her constant judgement of Chase and again, her inability to even try and understand what he is doing and what he has gone through made me actively dislike her. Personally if I was Chase I would have let her go and see how far she got!
I also found the explanation of how the world had got to this point lacking. Why was there a war? Is it a civil war or wider ranging? Why were the articles introduced, what has lead to this massive clamp down on morality? I also found some events in the book were obvious plot devices and stuck out like a sore thumb - the encounter with the three teenagers at the truck is a case in point.
Maybe in the end the problem is I'm not 17 years old - maybe I am too old to view this in the light it should be, but I don't think so. I did find it got better in the last 10%, but I'm not sure that is enough to convince me to read the second one.

Challenges: Ebook challenge, Dystopia challenge