Ember lives in a new United States. The War ended three years ago, and the government changed. The strongest arm of the government is the Military Militia. Their role? Enforce compliance of the Moral Statutes. Rumors of mass executions, people disappearing for no reason, prison, deportation….they’re everywhere. Ember thought they were all rumors until it happened to her.
There are only five articles in the Moral Statutes that citizens need to abide by, but the laws change with the wind. Ember and her mother live a decent life. Their only act of defiance is hiding magazines and books from the old days; days Ember vaguely recalls. She has friends, but the person she misses the most is Chase. They grew up together since childhood but their friendship turned deeper. There was no denying Chase and Ember, as teenagers, were meant to be together. Now, Chase is gone, and Ember misses him. She remembers those tender moments and always hopes the best for him, wondering if he still feels the same toward her that she does toward him, wherever he may be.
But a knock on her door changes Embers entire life. The MM (Military Militia) has come to take away Ember’s mother for breaching Article 5, which meant full prosecution by the government. What was the crime? Ember doesn’t have a father and Article 5 stipulates that she is to be “rehabilitated.” What is worse, is that Chase, the love of her life, is arresting her mother. Nothing Ember does changes Chase – not the past, not their moments together, not their friendship. He is part of the military machine, devoid of all emotions.
With her mother gone, Ember finds herself in rehab, the worst possible place to be. Torture, brain-washing, and hard manual labor are a common part of her day. Escape? Punishable by death. But it won’t stop Ember. She must get back with her mother. But can she? And who will be there to help?
Dystopia fans rejoice! Here is another book to devour through when you’ve read all the other ones. Simmons’ book paints the future into a very realistic and bleak novel. Although the main characters stand out, it’s the role of government Simmons creates as a monster character, along with the men in the Militia and how they’ve evolved. The evolution of Chase’s and Ember’s relationship takes center stage, but it’s also the minor characters and what has happened to them because of the breakdown of our future country and government that conveys the essence of this novel. Recommended. Ages 13 and up 360 pages 978-0765329585
Common core pair: primary sources of the Constitution and Preamble
Recommended by Naomi Bates, Librarian, Texas USA Full review on YABAM ( naomibates.blogspot.com )