New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.
The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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 (goodreads).
Review based on copy from Tor Teen! Merci Beaucoup! <3
The world is messed up. Seriously. A war and a couple of earthquakes have scared Americans like no other so they sacrifice their freedom and privacy for the temporary belief that they are safe. And now I have every Dystopian lover's attention, yes?
The plot. I really enjoyed this book. The reader is instantly transported to a world governed by "moral" rules and is many questions arise about this government that is watching everyone at once. The pacing was perfect, the entire book is a journey throughout Simmons' America. Imagine It's a Small World but with people being gunned down and arrested left and right. The reader travels with Ember through her highs and her lows (mostly her lows) and struggles to learn the fate of her nation alongside her. The book didn't end on a cliffhanger, but I definitely want to know what's going to happen next! I do wish that Simmons would provide more back story. Many times Ember and company mention "The War" but I don't even know what "the war" is. Who was the enemy? What was it over? DID WE LOSE (although I assume we did...)?
The characters. I loved Ms. Ember Miller! She was strong when she needed to be and vulnerable when she felt out of control. She wasn't perfect by any means which made her a great character. Although I was wary of Chase when I first met him and learned about his past, I started to warm up to him and even "aww'd" at the Chase and Ember scenes. Their relationship is just so pure in a world full of despair, death and "morality." Simmons also does a great job of making all of her characters three-dimensional. Each character has a motive and each has justifiable reasons for acting the way that they do.
Simmons also describes an amazing world. Like I said before, Article 5 is more of a roadtrip than a book. We meet some interesting characters along the way and get to see the destruction of some big American cities. I'm a big fan of world building and Simmons did not skimp in that department!
The writing. The story is told from Ember's point of view and I loved hearing her reasoning, her anguish and her anger. While Ember could provide information on the history of her nation, I think she was a great narrator who provided great descriptions of people, places, and emotions.