Three by Kristen Simmons
I first started reading the Article 5 series by Kristen Simmons because my dear friend Hannah recommended it. At that point, only the first book was published. Since then, I have read each book as it came out. I recently finished the third novel in the trilogy, Three.
The Article 5 series is yet another in the long line of recent dystopian trilogies (Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.) to swamp the market. While the book does belong in my category of guilty pleasure/non-intellectual reading, I think it is very good (and I would remind friends that I place Austen, Bronte, and Arthur Conan Doyle in the same category).
The basic plot of the series is that the United States survived some war and the new government has taken over in such a way that limits and endangers the rights of most citizens (as in all dystopian novels of late). This particular new government is set up to mimic the old US government that we know and love, but in reality has very little in common. The government has taken on a religious identity, using moral codes (the articles referenced in the title) to control the population. Of course, like all such regimes, the religious quality is a sham and the leaders of the government care little for morality.
The articles take our Christian moral codes to an extreme that fly in the face of anything Christians should want to stand for. All those who do not follow the moral codes are either murdered (in the case of adults) or taken to a reform school (as Ember is when she is found to be a child conceived out of wedlock). There seems to be no justice in this new government.
In Three, Ember finds out much more about the rebel movement she learned about in the second novel, Breaking Point. The reader also finally is given some idea and background to understand what happened to make this government able to take over. Some might say that this last novel was Simmons’ way of saving her series (many critics said her world lacked substance because there was no history given to explain the current state of things). I, however, enjoyed the series thoroughly.
I would recommend that readers who find Article 5 less than satisfactory continue reading the rest of the series. Simmons’ writing might have been wanting in the first of the series, but by Three she has learned more about her craft. And, the most annoying part of Article 5 (the incessant whining and love-sickness of the young couple, Chase and Ember) has transformed into something that resembles a healthy relationship.
As with other dystopian novels, the criticisms of society found in the Article 5 series are well placed. Simmons reminds us that good things when taken to an extreme turn bad quite quickly.
I give both Three and the series as a whole a 3. I definitely recommend this series when you are looking for something that is interesting and a page-turner, but not overly taxing on the brain (the emotions are another story). I don’t recommend it when you are looking for something happy and simple! Like all dystopian novels, there is no way for a truly happy ending.
Kaitlyn’s Star Guide:
0 stars: Don’t read it. A waste of your time. Worse than Twilight.
1 star: Read only if you’re very tired and desperate for something to read. Will probably rot your brain if you read it too much.
2 stars: Good for what it is or not my taste.
3 stars: Decent book and worth reading, but not earth-shaking, much less earth-shattering.
4 stars: Really good, definitely something I will re-read sometime. Earth Shaking.
5 stars: Earth Shattering. Every single human being should read this. It should be required for citizenship of the world. Seriously. Why aren’t you reading it yet? LIFE CHANGING.