Author: Kristen Simmons
Genre: Dystopian, Speculative Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: January 2012
Hardcover: 384 pages
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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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.
I read this book a long time ago so maybe this review won’t be perfect but i’ll do my best.
Lets begin from the characters. There’s Ember. I experienced her as extremly irritating. At two points in the story, Ember (idiotically) runs away from Chase – the boy that has risked his life, his reputation, his career solely to save her. Ember knows that Chase is trying to help her, but out of some weird, undefined, misguided teenage angst, she runs away from the one person in the world that is out to keep her alive and nearly gets herself killed. TWICE. The motivations for her initial mistrust of Chase make sense, but what doesn’t add up is the continued distrust, the fact the the two characters never TALK about their emotions, making the romance between them feel artificial and tediously protracted as a plot device.
The world building is a little slow. There is an introduction to the society at the beginning of the book, and it unfolds further as the book goes on, but the reasons for the war and the new strict regime, as well as the ‘rehabilitation’ and consequences for violators, is not fully explained. But you get enough of a picture to create a terrifying world just screaming out for rebellion!
Kristen Simmons focused more on the relationships of the characters, their emotional dilemmas, and how far one would go for the ones they love? All of that was wrapped with a dystopian world that makes these decisions 10 times harder. I enjoyed the flashbacks of Ember and Chase, and that they were a couple before he had to go and “serve his country”.
I have to give this book three planets. It was a book I enjoed reading but not if I had a better book. This is the kind of book I would read if I’m bored and out of other books to read.