Blog Tour: Three by Kristen Simmons

Rating: 4 stars
Pub Date: February 11, 2014
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: young adult dystopian
Format/Source: DRC, Netgalley
Status: Final book in the Article 5 trilogy

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour, which was organized & hosted by Book Nerd Tours. The full tour schedule can be found HERE. Please go give my fellow tour hosts some love!


Ember Miller and Chase Jennings are ready to stop running. After weeks spent in hiding as two of the Bureau of Reformation’s most wanted criminals, they have finally arrived at the safe house, where they hope to live a peaceful and quiet existence—but all that’s left is smoking ruins.

Devastated by the demolition of their last hope, Ember and Chase follow the one thing left to them—tracks leading away from the wreckage. The only sign that there may have been survivors.

Because of their high profiles, they know they can’t stay out in the open for long. They take shelter in the wilderness and amid the ruins of abandoned cities as they follow the tracks down the coast, eventually finding refugees from the destroyed safe house. Among them is someone from Chase’s past—someone he thought he’d never see again.

Banding together, they search for a place to hide, aiming for a settlement a few of them have heard about… a settlement that is rumored to house the nebulous organization known as Three. The very group that has provided Ember with a tiny ray of hope ever since she was first forced on the run.

Three is responsible for the huge network of underground safe houses and resistance groups across the country. And they may offer Ember her only chance to tell the world her story—and to fight back.

I am very sad to see the Article 5 trilogy come to an end. This is a series that has been slow to gain momentum, which is a shame because it's so amazing and personal, especially for me. I am so grateful for my friend Lacy who pulled up Goodreads on her phone one Sunday at church and said, "I'm reading this. You should too." Let me tell you guys: if you have not heard of Article 5, you need to look it up and add it to your TBR asap. If you have heard of Article 5 but haven't read it yet, you need to move it up your TBR asap. Please bear with me a little with this review. I loved this series, and it's hard to figure out just what I want to say here and how I want to say it. Apologies if I'm a bit of an emotional mess.

Why does it seem to be more personal than any of the tons of other dystopian novels that seem to have roots in our current society? Well, for one, Kristen Simmons has introduced an organization that absolutely seems to be one of the most closely related descendants of our government that I've ever seen, more than the factions of Divergent or the loveless society of Delirium or the Republic of Legend. After a massive war, the US is hurting. One political party promises to focus on the family and the unification of the American people, which is obviously something most of us would approve of. The problem? This party has focused on only one kind of family, the "right" kind of family, to the detriment of all of the freedoms we consider basic. The freedom to wear what you want, say what you want, do what you want, be who you want to be. The scariest thing is that the people seem to be pretty okay with this.

The other part is that Kristen focuses on cities and communities across the eastern US, including Knoxville, hometown. Seriously, one of the sniper scenes in Breaking Point is set in the square where I watch Shakespeare plays with my mom every summer, and my dad and I both worked in an office building overlooking that square. For once, the fight is in territory I am intimately acquainted with, and that hurt my heart to read, but I do like having the setting of average America. Major cities like New York, Chicago, and LA are obviously easy choices for setting because they are much easier to research, and I don't blame authors for putting their books in places that are easily recognizable for all readers. But this small-town/small-city America represented in the Article 5 trilogy is something I see on a daily basis, and that makes it so much more realistic to me, which also rachets up my emotional connection to the characters and their story.

Three picks up pretty quickly after Breaking Point, but the first few chapters are a little slow with bursts of excitement. For a while, the action takes a backseat while a mental chess game takes its place. These chapters are far from restful because, although Ember and Chase seem to be with the good guys, there's a distinct lack of trust and overall security. About halfway through Three marks a return to the running and hiding and shooting and screaming and gasping and heart-racing, fingernail-and-lip-biting and eye-covering drama–and that was just me! I kid, but only a little bit. Ember, Chase, and their allies, whomever those people are (of course, I can't tell you that because, hello, super spoilers. You're welcome), finally have a chance to get rid of the FBR for good, and once that plan gets underway, the action literally doesn't stop until the end. It makes for some deliciously tense reading until the final climax, which was a surprise to me. Definitely an unexpected moment. One second, I was like, whew! the book must be winding dow–OHMYGOSH WHAT JUST HAPPENED and then I was a sobbing puddle of feels.
Surprisingly, there are a lot of character introductions, which is risky considering this is book three, but most new characters are pivotal so it's good that we finally meet them. However, Kristen maintains tension from the first two installments by keeping characters fairly ambiguous. 1. This keeps the reader guessing as to any character's true motivations and loyalties, and 2. I really like that none of the characters are all good or all evil. Rather, most are good people faced with tough decisions, and sometimes, they make bad ones. The character development throughout the series has been one of my favorite elements for sure, although it's heart-breaking. Not everyone develops in a good way. But again, the ambiguity of these characters is what creates all the fantastic tension and lends credibility. There are characters you'll be happy about, and some who really will break your heart. Not everyone gets to be a hero. Not everyone can withstand the pressure of antagonizing the FBR.

As for our primary characters, Ember and Chase have always fascinated me. I love the continued development of their relationship (I say relationship here because it's not always strictly romance, though that builds quite nicely through the series as a whole and ohmygosh Three does not disappoint in the swoon department) throughout the book as well as their individual development. There's an ebb and flow to it that feels so natural. Both have seriously traumatic past experiences that make their relationship tenuous at times; the fact that they hold together so well is a testament to the realness of their bond. I also consider Tucker to be a main character because although he isn't exactly a viable rival for Ember's feelings, these three are most definitely all tied to one another. Chase and Tucker's relationship and Ember and Tucker's relationship are just as crucial to the story as Ember and Chase's romance. Chase's demons are pretty bad, and they are addressed frequently, but I truly feel like Three is very much about Tucker's redemption. Tucker is a guy I loved to hate and then hated to love and then I just wanted to give him a hug (okay, and I maybe still wanna make out with him because he's a pretty sexy bad boy, dangit). He's at times weak, jealous, petty, and just plain bad, but I think he's a boy who was faced with as much bad crap as Chase and Sean, but he didn't have anyone like Rebecca or Ember to ground him. Although the title refers to the mysterious rebel organization, for me, Three is Ember, Chase, and Tucker.

I actually read Three about a month and a half ago so the series has been over for me for a while, but it's a book, a series, that has stayed with me. Not only do I still wonder about all the characters (even the ones who may not have made it), but I find myself thinking about the world, about how it's possible to go from where we are to where the US ended up. It's a little scary to consider, but I'm so grateful to Kristen for keeping me thinking. Thank you, Kristen, for sharing this story with us. Thank you thank you thank you!

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About the Author:
Kristen Simmons has a master’s degree in social work and is an advocate for mental health. She loves Jazzercise, her husband, and her precious greyhound, Rudy. Also chocolate. She currently lives in Tampa, Florida.

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3 Winners will receive a Copy of THREE by Kristen Simmons.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Artikel 5  and Gesetz Der Rache (A5 and Breaking Point from Germany) by Kristen Simmons.
3 Winners will receive a copy of Article 5 by Kristen Simmons.
3 Winners will receive a copy of Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Article 5 from Taiwan, and the audio book of Breaking Point on CD by Kristen Simmons.
5 Winners will receive a Chase Jennings ART Bookmark by James Vallesteros.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you Mary for hosting such an awesome book tour and giveaway!!!