Friday, February 3, 2012

Book Review, International Giveaway & Apoc Love Interview: Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

After war leaves most of the US in rubble, the Moral Statutes have replaced the Bill of Rights and what's left of the country is ruled by the "moral militia".  Ember remembers what life was like before, but she tries to keep her and her single mother from attracting too much attention.  Until the day the moral militia comes to arrest her mother for breaking Article 5 and to haul Ember away for rehabilitation.

Even though we don't find out much about the war, we do get a very clear picture of how extreme legislative morality might look. (And if you enjoy that sort of picture, be sure to check out Hillary Jordan's WHEN SHE WOKE too.)  Combine a zealously conservative leadership with an iron-fist mentality and an army of enforcers to back them up and you might just get a law that says only children born into wedlock are legitimate.  The moral militia weeds out moral criminals and makes a most chilling example out of them.

I enjoyed many of the world-building details here.  For example, Ember's rehab center is run by sadistic modestly dressed women whose favorite punishment is a painful knuckle rapping (shades of Catholic school nuns?).

But where the set-up is very thoughtful, Ember's nature was mostly reactive rather than reflective.  I get frustrated when the plot is propelled by a character acting rashly, which meant I yelled at Ember quite frequently during my reading.  She seemed too clueless about certain things regarding her mother and Chase (the love interest turned soldier that arrests her mother).  I will admit though that her rash actions brought about some genuinely harrowing scenes - so the novel redeemed itself with me.

Because Kristen is an Apocalypsie, we also get an Apocalypsies Love interview today!  Kristen tells us what she especially loves about her book.

What is your favorite scene in the book?
Well, I don't want to give too much away...but it involves a game of truth or dare...and possibly a kiss. I do love kissing scenes.

What is your favorite line?
I love the part where Ember finally allows herself to feel what she feels for Chase, while still recognizing that he's plagued by things she doesn't understand. She says, or rather thinks, "I couldn't speak, but if I could, I would have told him I'd missed him. That I accepted who he had become, with his guilt and his fears. That I would stay beside him as he healed." It's a powerful message for both of them.

What was your favorite setting to write?
I loved writing the Square in Knoxville. It's one of the busiest places Chase and Ember go in the book, and showcases just how bad people have it now. Starving people are everywhere, turning against each other, waiting for scraps of food that may or may not be there by the time they reach the front of the line at the soup kitchen. If our world turned to a dystopia, I could see places like this popping up across the country.

Who is a character you could see getting his or her own book?
Sean, Ember's guard at the Reformatory. He's just trying to survive, like everyone else, but hasn't managed to lose his moral compass like a lot of the other soldiers in the Federal Bureau of Reformation. Plus, some of the things he says and does sort of crack me up.

What has been your favorite part of your publishing journey?
The day my agent offered representation - that still goes down as my greatest day on this publication journey. Prior to meeting Joanna, I'd been on the agent search for a long time, and even after we connected, we didn't sign contracts until after several rounds of revisions. Finally reaching that goal was a huge milestone. I even have my agent contract framed on my wall!

Thanks Kristen!


ARTICLE 5 is available now.  Find out more about it at the author's website.  You can also check out Kristen's preview interview from Dystopian August 2011.

Want to read copy?  I have two hardcovers up for grabs! This giveaway is open internationally. You can enter via this form until Feb 10, 2012 at 11:59 pm CST.  Good luck!

View index of all dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore

FTC disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.


Charlotte said...

This sounds good! Thanks for the giveway.

Anonymous said...

Great interview! I've been looking forward to Article 5 for so long. I can't wait to read it.

Don't enter me into the giveaway, I already pre-ordered a copy that should be on its way :-)

Evie said...

Thanks a lot for the giveaway!

bn100 said...

I enjoyed the interview. The book sounds very good.


Elodie said...

I really can't wait to read this book :) !! Thanks for the interview .. Looking forward to read this truth or dare scene !!
Thank you so much for the giveaway, it is really sweet to make it international *HAPPY FRENCH ME* !!

Carl Scott said...

Thanks, signing up for emails.

Carl Scott said...

Doh! No emails, follow on twitter instead.

Zibilee said...

I really like books that have good worldbuilding, and seek them out as opposed to books that are more character driven or plot driven. It sounds like this is an excellent example of that, and I would love to see how this one works out. I also kind of like that the main character sometimes acts rashly because it's sort of realistic when you think about it. Great review and interview today, Lenore and Kristen. I really am interested in reading this book when I can!

Bookish in a Box said...

Ooo, I love dystopians! Sounds like this is definitely one to add to my wishlist.

candice (thecrjreviews) said...

Great interview. Love Ember's line about her feelings for Chase.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the interview and giveaway! I hadn't realized that Article 5's dystopia involves a "morality militia" - it seems like a very unique and interesting take on the dystopian genre.

Jessy said...

I love the kissing scenes too!

roro said...

good luck all
i enjoyed article 5
awesome review/intrview/giveway

Unknown said...

and I just keep adding to the TBR pile! I love the cover of this and world building can excuse much for me, especially if it's detailed. I look forward to picking this one up.

TheBookAddictedGirl said...

I really want to read this book! Thanks for the great interview - that line's amazing! :D

Vivien said...

This book was FABULOUS! Really..I was floored by a few scenes. A new favorite author.

Anon said...

I want to share some honest feedback which I hope doesn't come across as too harsh. I can't help but notice that you never seem to be very critical of any book. I've read many of your reviews and have yet to find one with less than three zombie chickens--I'm sure they exist, I just haven't found any so they aren't common. You seem to promote authors a great deal (interviews, links to their site, giveaways) It gives the appearance that perhaps there exists a conflicting relationship-you don't want to be very critical & risk offending the author. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe you just rarely find books that you don't like..I'm not sure but frankly it makes you seem, at best, less than discerning and at worst, a promoter rather than a critic. I certainly don't mean that you should be negative & rip books apart but it just seems like your criticisms are always very mild and you quickly say something nice to make up for it. It leaves me wondering if these are your real feelings or again if you're just being polite. It's just difficult to believe that you haven't come across books that you absolutely didn't like. Maybe my feedback is all wrong & I've missed a slew of tougher reviews you've done. If so, accept my apologies.