My rating: I’d go there again! (4/5)
Three is the conclusion to Simmons’ Article 5 trilogy. If you’ve read the first two books, you can immediately understand the comparison to The Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies. But what I think will appeal to fans of dystopias is the emphasis on the blurred lines between right and wrong that continually arises for the characters in Three.
Three picks up where book two left off. Ember and Chase are on the hunt for the survivors of a destroyed safe house and they find themselves embroiled in the rebellion. Ember is quick to give her support to the rebellion named Three, and Chase, dutiful and devoted as he is, supports Ember, although I think it’s clear that he has some reservations. However, like most conflicts the difference between right and wrong is not so simple. While Three is fighting to overthrow the overbearing and dictating FBR, it’s unclear whether their methods are all that different from their oppressors. This exploration of right and wrong is exactly what I liked about Three. In so many teen novels things are black and white, the characters always pick the “right” side and there’s no questioning of that choice. But in Three our heroes do question what they are fighting against and who they are joining forces with, and what their eventual decision means. I find this far more realistic and it does get you thinking of conflict and war in a larger sense.
Things weren’t black and white, but that didn’t mean you couldn’t pick a side. (p. 170)
I also liked how Simmons discussed the general population’s apathy and how that contributed to the FBR’s control. The American population wanted to be safe rather than question the dictates handed down and potentially put themselves and their families in danger. In that sense, the Article 5 trilogy was very much a cautionary tale about the extreme consequences from not questioning your government, and of not being informed. This is something that I thing is very topical and a lot of the Statues of this government will resonate with readers who are aware of current events.
This was not a happy story. Three presented a realistic picture of the consequences of a civil war and it was heartbreaking. No one was left untouched and even the “bad guys” like Tucker Morris were reevaluated. I liked it for the fact that it got me thinking.
While Three dealt with a lot of serious issues, it was not without it’s lighter moments. We had some lovely and girlish moments between Ember and Rebecca, where they could just talk and gossip like the teenagers they were. We had some humour with Sean’s fear of bugs. And we had the continuation of Ember’s relationship with Chase. None of this over powered the main political story arc, but necessarily balanced out what could have been a very bleak novel. Instead, these relationships that Ember had with her friends allowed for the novel to end with a point of hope for the future.
Three is an excellent addition to the teen dystopia genre and I will be recommending it to teen readers. There’s a lot in Three that will appeal to a wide audience, and I think it will be a handy trilogy to recommend when Divergent hits theatres.
*Review copy provided by the publisher.
For another look at the break down of society, try Megan Crewe’s The Way We Fall. This one shows how a break down of society can occur, leading to something like the new America of Three. Added bonus, The Way We Fall is all Canadian!
Tomorrow When the War Began is a fairly lengthy series that takes place in Australia during a modern day invasion. Ellie and her group of friends decide to fight back. The group dynamic here brings to mind Three.
Lastly, I’m going to recommend The Age of Miracles. There’s something about the writing style that I find very similar, something in the sad tone. While, Age of Miracles isn’t YA, I think it completely suitable for teens since it’s a coming of age story in a time when the earth slowly stops rotating, causing all sorts of damage. It doesn’t exactly have a hopeful ending, but I found it very readable.