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[Book Review] - Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

Title: Article 5
   Author: Kristen Simmons
   Series: #1 - Article 5
   Format: Hardcover
   Release Date: January 31st, 2012
   My Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

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     The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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

My Review: 

     So when I first heard of the book, it was hyped pretty well. As well, the concept seemed great and unique, and it was. Throughout the book I was shocked, interested, and on the edge of my seat all the time. I am a fan of this series, however as I’ll go into it, there’s a few flaws that make keep it from being one of my favorites. The series I would recommend people to read if you have a good imagination and a decent stomach, but at the same time be warned for a few disappointments.
     When the story began, and everything began, I was into it. I was enthralled and pulled into how society changed. However the biggest question would be, could the Bill of Rights even be appealed and removed? I guess if we lost a war and the U.S. was taken over by some other government maybe, but it didn’t seem that way.

     Ember, when I first started to get to know her and felt like I understood her; she didn’t seem real. There was something that separated her actions from what normal people would do, and that was she was too kind. There was numerous times where people were killing each other around her and she screamed for it to stop. Maybe she’s a pacifist, that would probably explain a lot of the indiscretions, but it made her character hard to relate to. Than at the end of the book, she magically grows this backbone and I remember screaming ‘FINALLY!’ at the book. I was happy for that moment, and it is the reason I’ll pick up the second book.

     Chase, being the second main character that made the book interesting. Bits and pieces of who he was, what he had gone through, and still went through to protect and be with Ember was revealed throughout the book. His character was a mystery novel and slowly unraveled itself throughout the story, that’s one reason I kept reading. You want to know who he was and the small pieces, the small bits of emotions for Ember tell a love story unlike any other dystopian novel I’ve read thus far.

     Along the journey, I felt compelled to find out where they were going. I was somewhat invested. Only somewhat, because I didn’t connect to Ember the way I had hoped. She just wasn’t realistic in the beginning and when things happened to her, I didn’t feel sorry for her. In fact sometimes I even laughed, like you would do to a young child when they did something stupid for the first time.

     The twist near the end, is what brought Ember to life. I felt compelled then to find out about Ember. What her emotions where, it wasn’t until the end of the book that I felt connected to Ember and pressed on reading more and more. I finally connected to her. I enjoyed the twist, the rebels, and the constant fear of the officials and military always looming over their shoulders.

     The scenery and the description of every detail about the world was amazing. Probably the best world building I’ve read thus far. I really enjoyed the scene with the dead dog hanging on the side of the wall, oozing some liquid onto the floor. The pure description, it made me feel like was there, I could almost smell the decay coming from the pages. The description was worth the read, and I would read it again just to see it over again.

[Book Review] - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games
   Author: Suzanne Collins
   Series: #1 - The Hunger Games
   Format: Hardcover
   Release Date: October 31st, 2008
   My Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

     Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

     In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.

My Review:

     This is one of my favorite books, mainly because it's the start of a series that just impacts everything. This series is much more than what you think, or have been told the book represents. And for those out there who say that this is similar to Twilight... I will shank your big toe! I will note this up front, if you are reserve about which to see first the book or the movie, Definitely the Movie. The book beats the movie (as always) by a significant margin and changes a few things that tarnish the book.

     Katniss Everdeen, this female character is one of the strongest fictional characters that I have read about to this date. In fact she's currently my second favorite character of all time (next to Tris Prior from Divergent by Veronica Roth). She has this femininity about her that draws you in and you feel her emotion, passion, and every decision and situation she makes. However, she as well has this dark side to her that makes her far more than just a girl/woman, which brought me in closer and wanting more. Great character!

     This book about the games, is the beginning of probably one of the most notorious love triangles in young adult fictional books. I would like to note that I hate love triangles, they are dumb, complicated, and end up not being worth the time reading about. So... This one had my attention, I felt the emotion between Peeta, Gale, and Katniss, but at the same time the triangle didn't have the depth to it, it lacked something from Katniss or Gale. Like there was supposed to be a response, or just something that lingers in the back of your mind. It was a great triangle, made you tug to which one she should or shouldn't be with.

     The buildup to the games was slow and boring, but I understood why it was needed. Without the training sessions and getting to know some of the other characters, there would be this disjointed feeling between the games and the characters in it. As well, one of the most prolific support characters wouldn’t have had as much meaning as what she did.

     The games were magnificent; there was a sense of fear around every branch, hidden in the background of the trees. I felt that the tributes were portrayed accurately, the fear and some of the enthusiasm and arrogance in some of them. When the games began, I felt the raw power and brutality that the games bring about. As well as the pain and how the relationships are changed and molded over and over throughout the games cycle.

     The issue I had with this book was the other districts. I was left wondering about the people in the other districts and wanted to see more of them and what they did for a living. It was something that I felt left a gaping hole in the middle of the world building. In fact the entire world building is confined to the Capitol and District 12, so I feel safe to assume I’m right in questioning why none of the other districts were involved.
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