Article 5 was one of those books that drags you along through the muck and trees and rocks until you’re sure you can’t take anymore, but then you find that you like the muck and trees and rocks and soon after that, you find yourself screaming, ‘Bring it on!’ to whatever else is out there because you’re stronger than you thought you were and there’s no way something as trivial as a few hardships are going to take you down. Seriously. That’s what this book is like.

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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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

It’s been three years since the war ended. The nation is changed. There wasn’t much given about this “new world”, but one thing is certain – it can’t be better than what was there before. What starts off as citations for an unnecessary number of things becomes instant arrest by the ever-present military. The government is trying to build a ‘perfect’ society. Think Germany after WWI but with more rules. It’s socialism and militarism and 1984, all rolled into one.

Ember Miller lives with her mother in Louisville. A new Statute comes into law, which forces them apart and puts Ember on a journey that changes her forever. Chance, the boy she loved years ago, comes back into her life, but not like how he was before. He’s different. He had to become different because he was drafted into the ‘Morale Milita’, the enforcers of the Statutes, forcing him to leave Ember.

This book is gritty and rough and doesn’t take prisoners. For most of the book, I found myself grinding my teeth in anger at the utterly unjust way people (i.e., Ember) were treated. The powerful kept all the power and forced everyone else under their boot.

Chase is an enigma, who needs to fight demons of his own before he can be any help to Ember. I found myself half rooting for him and half wishing Ember would leave him behind because he’s certifiably crazy. In the end, though, his true self comes out. You can kind of see a hint of it in the character interview I did with him a while back.

What I really want to know, now, is more about this government. Who is in charge? Who makes up these Statutes? What’s their end game? How can they be taken down? Will they be taken down? I really want answers, so of course the next book isn’t coming out until next year. *sigh* I only have so much patience and it’s all being taken by other book series. This waiting game will surely kill me.

Until that time occurs, however, I suggest you read this book and then get back to me with what you think are the answers to my burning questions. It’s much more enjoyable in purgatory when you’ve got friends to share it with.

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