The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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.
Article 5 is another of the increasingly popular novels of the apocalyptic variety ~ a genre that I've become obsessed with. The U.S. is no longer the 'land of the free,' but is oppressed by a government comparable to Puritan law. Ember, a regular girl trying to live as normal a life as she kind, finds her home and everything she knows ripped from her fingertips. It's only then she discovers how the world really is and who she needs to be to survive it.
I'm not gunna lie, Ember had me ripping my hair out. She began as this completely naive little girl who thought any kind of violence was abhorrent even when the honorable Chase used it to keep her safe from trash who'd like nothing more than to rape and murder her. I wanted to slap her silly and throw her to the wolves if that's what she wanted. Her childish actions were, for lack of a better word, completely *annoying*, and I couldn't understand some of her ridiculous logic. However, to contradict my previous opinion, Ember grew as a character from a little girl blinded by the safety of her former life to a tough woman who stopped lying to herself and finally saw the world as it truly was. It was then I realized all her actions up until that point were based on the reality of her memories ~ she couldn't let go of her past until there was nothing left.
The relationship between Ember and Chase was...intense ~ but unlike a lot of novels I've read recently, it didn't feel forced or unbelievable. One of my favorite aspects were the triggered flashbacks Ember experiences on her travels with Chase who, to Ember, seems like a completely different person. We get a chance to see how their relationship grew, how they were torn apart, and compare it to the tension between them now. It added that element of raw emotion that I can't get enough of, and in addition to the action, suspense, and horror, made for a very textured read.
This is obviously the first book in a series, and I have a feeling the next book is going to be even more exciting. As a debut novel, Kristen Simmons couldn't have done any better. Her writing style flows perfectly and I found myself unable to put it down. The storyline grows and evolves, taking you from one world to another, and the characters ~ big or small ~ are so believable and dynamic that it is impossible not to form a connection with them.
All in all ~ **Highly Recommend**
Happy Reading Everyone :)