Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mini Reviews: The Dystopian Edition

Article 5
by Kristen Simmons

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 The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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. (description from
I really liked this one a lot. I thought the whole moral code thing was a fascinating study on human culture and how we like to take things to extremes. I also thought the love story was a lot more believable because they'd known each other for YEARS before the events in the book.  I look forward to a sequel.
Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for AudioFile
*2012 Debut Author Challenge title*


by Lauren DeStefano
The Chemical Garden Trilogy, book two

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but they’re still in danger. Outside, they find a world even more disquieting than the one they left behind.

Determined to get to Manhattan and find Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan, the two press forward, amid threats of being captured again…or worse.

The road they are on is long and perilous—and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and men die at age twenty-five, time is precious. In this sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price—now that she has more to lose than ever. (description from

I actually enjoyed this sequel better than the original Wither, mostly because it got Rhine out of the mansion and into the real world, where she had a chance to take charge.  DeStefano's world is beautiful and crumbling... a devestating and destructive place. I loved the setting more than the story I think, but I will definitely be reading book three. I have to find out how it ends!

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for AudioFile

Epitaph Road
by David Patneaude

2097 is a transformed world. Thirty years earlier, a mysterious plague wiped out 97 percent of the male population, devastating every world system from governments to sports teams, and causing both universal and unimaginable grief. In the face of such massive despair, women were forced to take over control of the planet--and in doing so they eliminated all of Earth's most pressing issues. Poverty, crime, warfare, hunger . . . all gone.

But there's a price to pay for this new "utopia," which fourteen-year-old Kellen is all too familiar with. Every day, he deals with life as part of a tiny minority that is purposefully kept subservient and small in numbers. His career choices and relationship options are severely limited and controlled. He also lives under the threat of scattered recurrences of the plague, which seem to pop up wherever small pockets of men begin to regroup and grow in numbers.

And then one day, his mother's boss, an iconic political figure, shows up at his home. Kellen overhears something he shouldn't--another outbreak seems to be headed for Afterlight, the rural community where his father and a small group of men live separately from the female-dominated society. Along with a few other suspicious events, like the mysterious disappearances of Kellen's progressive teacher and his Aunt Paige, Kellen is starting to wonder whether the plague recurrences are even accidental. No matter what the truth is, Kellen cares only about one thing--he has to save his father. (description from

I thought this was interesting. There were some obvious questions that weren't really answered, but overall the story was really entertaining and thought-provoking. I can't imagine a world where there are so few men that they could be so rigorously controlled...

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