Review: Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons


Title: Glass Arrow
Author: Kristen Simmons
Publisher/Year:  Tom Doherty Associates 2/10/15
Length:   336 Pages


Once there was a time when men and women lived as equals, when girl babies were valued, and women could belong only to themselves. But that was ten generations ago. Now women are property, to be sold and owned and bred, while a strict census keeps their numbers manageable and under control. The best any girl can hope for is to end up as some man’s forever wife, but most are simply sold and resold until they’re all used up.

Only in the wilderness, away from the city, can true freedom be found. Aya has spent her whole life in the mountains, looking out for her family and hiding from the world, until the day the Trackers finally catch her.

Stolen from her home, and being groomed for auction, Aya is desperate to escape her fate and return to her family, but her only allies are a loyal wolf she’s raised from a pup and a strange mute boy who may be her best hope for freedom . . . if she can truly trust him.

My Thoughts

I have to say that it’s fairly impressive how much diversity Ms Simmons has in what she writes about.  While there were bits and pieces of Metaltown that i could tie back to Article 5 (not a lot but a few), Glass Arrow was quite different.

In this story, it’s not so much a coming of age story which is what we often get in stories that seem to be dystopian and taking place in the future.  this instead is just a basic story of survival and discovering your roots.  We meet our main character Aya when she’s running for her life to save her family as they are being hunted.  The story takes place in a time where young women are valued as there is a shortage of women who are fertile and women who are able to bear  son.  Aya has been living outside the city walls, where she’s been able to avoid any of the manufactured ‘stuff’ that seems to be a cause of this issue, and therefore she’s even more valuable.

Our journey with her is that she’s trying to fight for her life and her freedom once she’s captured because she has to save her family from the same fate.  She tries to outwit her captors at ‘The Garden’ at every turn and while she does that, she befriends a Driver, a boy who doesn’t talk and has links to the outside world.

The story from there really goes on a quest of who to trust and who’s going to help her find freedom.  and what’s the cost.  who’s going to stay locked up, who’s going to be free, who will survive.  What secrets will be uncovered throughout this.

We see interesting ‘friendships’ come up with it all, and we see the way that Aya’s past comes to greet her present.  All in all, not terribly deep in reading, but a sweet story no less.  The ending is fitting if nothing else.  Enjoy!

Review: Metaltown by Kristen Simmons


Title: Metaltown
Author: Kristen Simmons
Publisher/Year:  Tom Doherty Associates 9/20/16
Length:   332 Pages


The rules of Metaltown are simple: Work hard, keep your head down, and watch your back. You look out for number one, and no one knows that better than Ty. She’s been surviving on the factory line as long as she can remember. But now Ty has Colin. She’s no longer alone; it’s the two of them against the world. That’s something even a town this brutal can’t take away from her. Until it does.

Lena’s future depends on her family’s factory, a beast that demands a ruthless master, and Lena is prepared to be as ruthless as it takes if it means finally proving herself to her father. But when a chance encounter with Colin, a dreamer despite his circumstances, exposes Lena to the consequences of her actions, she’ll risk everything to do what’s right.

In Lena, Ty sees an heiress with a chip on her shoulder. Colin sees something more. In a world of disease and war, tragedy and betrayal, allies and enemies, all three of them must learn that challenging what they thought was true can change all the rules.

My Thoughts

After reading another series by Ms. Simmons, i was really excited to see what we were going to get in this new story.  It’s a standalone which i feel like could have been built into a series, but it was an interesting story.

We find ourselves in what’s called Metaltown – an area in the Tri-City where there are factories owned by a wealthy family to make weapons for a war that’s being fought.  The people are beyond poor and there are specific factories for ‘kids and teens’ to work while the adults have other jobs. Life is beyond hard, and it’s the teens that we get to know in this story.

We meet Colin and Ty first – as they are the main characters throughout most of this story.  They work in Small Parts – building the fuses for bombs and as they are kids, they often don’t get paid what they should for the hours that they work.  Life’s not fair at all.  To make matters worse, there’s what’s called the Brotherhood which is an organization run by a man named Jed who’s supposed to be working for the people, he helps when someone gets injured on the job or gets sick etc, however it also means that part of your wages go to him so that he can hold it all over your head.

He dangles carrots in front of Colin – to have him help out on a few things, offering him money in return, and promising to continue to provide care for Cherish – his mom.  We all know that there are definite strings attached.

Then we meet Lena – she’s the daughter of Hampton – the man who owns and runs the factories.  Her brother is next in line to take over the business, but that’s not good enough for her.  She wants to learn more and does some digging and finds out that there are things going on in the business that aren’t savory and she’s also learned that there’s actually more to what makes up the company than is legitimate, and she wants to figure out that puzzle.

The story takes us on the journey of Lena coming into her own, no longer accepting that she’s a wealthy girl, but siding with the folks in Metaltown to do what’s right.  She has her own demons to fight for and this is a cause she can get behind.  What grows between her and the others, well that’s just a matter of time to figure out who trusts her, who thinks she’s a spy and who’s never going to be in her favor.

There’s also an underlying story here that there was a family who owned the medical division – the arm of the company that was trying to find a cure to the Corn Flu – an epidemic that’s killing people because of untested man made corn products.  There’s a story that the heir still lives, and no one knows if it’s true and where the heir is.

Throughout this story we see a lot of the expected coming of age stuff, while also getting a rather interesting story out of things.  There are some good relationships building here – Colin and Ty for example have this brother sister thing, but you can tell that there’s something more underneath.  at least from one.  When Lena comes into the picture, we find ourselves in a bit of a triangle which makes things all that more interesting.

When we discover the connections between the kids and the wealthy, and uncover who the missing heir is, it’s both expected and a surprise – and where we see the ending of this story go is quite bittersweet.  I think that it’s got all the expected signs of a great book by Ms Kristen Simmons – so i hope you give it a shot.  Enjoy!

Review: Three (Article 5 Trilogy #3) by Kristen Simmons


Title: Three
Author:  Kristen Simmons
Publisher/Year:  Tom Associates LLC  2/11/14
Length: 384 Pages
Series: Article 5 #3


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 safe and quiet existence.

And all that’s left is smoking ruins.

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

With their high profile, they know they can’t stay out in the open for long. They take shelter in the wilderness and amidst 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 never thought he’d 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 at telling the world her story.

At fighting back.

My Thoughts

I’m always a little apprehensive when i get to the finale of a dystopian trilogy, but this one really delivered.  We get the exciting conclusion of Ember and Chase’s story – as they try to find freedom and keep those they love safe.

We meet up with Ember and Chase as they are trying to find the Safe House which they learn has been blown up.  They are searching for other survivors – following the direction that they’ve been given to get to other outposts in the hopes that they’ll find help and supplies.  Rebecca and Sean are still with them, Rebecca still being quite injured and slowing them down a bit, but Ember’s guilt of being the cause of her injury still weighs heavy so she fights to keep Rebecca with them.

This group has split from another part of the group which includes Tucker – and we’re still on the fence about being able to trust him.  In this book ,Ember still believes that he’s one of the good guys now, even though he killed her mother and hasn’t been on their side the whole story.  She just needs to hold onto the hope that there are more survivors, and holds onto his voice that’s on the other end of the radio.

As they travel, Chase and Ember’s group come across what they call the Lost Boys – a group of wild boys that try to capture Ember, and someone comes to their rescue – that turns out to be Jesse – Chase’s uncle.  they link up with Jesse who seems to have an uncanny knowledge for all things leading to safety and that makes Ember wonder why he knows so much and what that means.  Ultimately though, Jesse leads them to Endurance, a camp that is set up by a well established group – and the question becomes, is Three there?  What power does Three have, and will anyone be able to help keep Ember and Chase safe given that they are being acused of so much and are being hunted since a picture has surfaced of them from the hospital in Chicago.

This story takes us on a roller coaster of emotions and fear.  They are running constantly, from the MM, from other soldiers, and trying to find those that they can trust in order to hide them and keep them safe.  They get injured to the point of being on the brink of death, some don’t even make it.

What’s really nice about this finale is that it’s realistic.  You get the nice twist at the end about where the story stems from and where it’s going.  You see that there’s more to some of the folks that seem quite hard, and you want to hope for the best, knowing that it’s war and that won’t happen.  We see Ember come into her own, at the beginning of the series she was just another teenager, trying to get by – missing her love (Chase) because he had been taken away by her uncle and then joined the army.  Because of the circumstances of her life, she’s forced to become someone strong, someone who can lead and someone who fights not only for her survival but for the hope of others.  All the while we get a really sweet love story – not just between Chase and Ember but with Sean and Rebecca.  It shows us that there’s still something good that comes out of War and that there should be something to hold onto even when things look bleak.

The epilogue was exactly what i needed for closure of this story.  so often i feel let down by authors of dystopia – they seem to feel like keeping things a little open ended is what readers want, but i have to say, being finite about an ending – that’s something that i can appreciate, even if it’s not where i thought the story was going to take us.  Suffice it to say, there are a lot of tears at the end of this story – so i hope that you are prepared when you come to the close of this series.  Enjoy!

Review: Breaking Point (Article 5 #2) by Kristen Simmons


Title: Breaking Point
Author: Kristen Simmons
Publisher/Year: Tom Doherty Associates, 2/12/2013
Length: 400 pages
Series: Article 5 book #2


After faking their deaths to escape from prison in Article 5, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.

Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….

Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself.

Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways.

With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back?

Where do we begin

I’m glad that i re-read Article 5 since there was so much that i had forgotten.  We pick up in  this 2nd installment of the series with Ember and Chase trying as best as they can to stay alive with the help of Sean (the guard from the rehabilitation center that she escaped from).  They’ve decided that it’s safer and the best choice for now to join up with the resistance since Sean is set on finding Rebecca and Ember feels like he owes it to her to do that.  So this story really takes us down both of those paths.  Trying to stay alive and trying to find Becca.

Ember is the #5 most wanted person in the country because she’s thought to be the infamous sniper, which makes things even harder for her.  She and Chase are dealing with the stress of the ‘war’ as well as trying to figure out what they have with each other and if it’s enough to fight for.

One familiar face from Book 1 shows up in an unexpected place and we’re not quite sure if we can trust him.  Tucker.  From what we know of him from Article 5, we assume that he’s on the bad side but is he?  he continues to do things to make us believe that he’s not to be trusted but then at times he does things to flip the switch.

Through this story, we’re taking through Wayland Inn, to another town, crossing paths with others, hearing tales of the famous Three – and trying all at the same time to stay alive and find becca while maintaining what they all have together.  (All being Sean, Chase and Ember).

The ending of this story was somewhat expected based on the path that we keep going down, yet i’m not quite sure what to make of it.  we are left off at a great ‘breaking point’ so to speak where the final book of the trilogy (i think it’s a trilogy) will really wrap things up and reveal quite a bit.  i can’t wait to read more – i wish that the next installment came out sooner.

Review: Article 5 (Article 5 book 1) by Kristen Simmons


Title: Article 5
Author: Kristen Simmons
Publisher/Year: Tom Doherty Associates, 2012
Length: 384 pages
Series: Article 5 book #1


Most of the major cities in the US have been abandoned (New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.) 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. 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.

Where this story takes us 

At the very beginning we meet Ember at a time when her life is completely turned upside down by the MM (Moral Militia).  There had been rumors of other kids from school being picked up for non-compliance of the statutes (some for religion and some for reasons unknown).  Ember had thought they were safe since they had passed inspection a month earlier and hadn’t overtly done anything, but unfortunately, rules had changed just a few days prior and the soldiers were doing a sweep of the city to get rid of anyone that may have a mark against them.  Ember’s mother, being single and not married broke a rule and as a result, she’s taken away, Embers carted off to a ‘rehabilitation center’ and life will never be the same.

While they are being picked up by the soldiers, Chase, Ember’s ‘love’ who had been drafted into the militia appears, because he’s part of the unit that’s taking them away and has no way of helping.  This is where Ember realizes that life sucks and she’s forced to grow up.

At the rehabilitation center, Ember finds herself with a roommate named Rebecca who’s been there for 3 years already partly due to not having anywhere to go (her parents dropped her off there) and partly because she’s in love with one of the guards there.  Through conversations and an awkward beginning to a friendship, Ember learns that she can try to escape however it will most likely be unsuccessful.  (no one’s done it before and lived to tell about it).

The night that Ember tries to escape, she’s caught, and Chase some how comes to her rescue as he’s there to take her to trial.  (which is interesting since the common assumption is that trials had been all but done away with).  This is where the true story begins.  Chase and Ember running from the militia since they are both known to be escapees or AWOL, and all for the goal of finding their way to a safe house that Ember’s mother is supposed to be waiting at.

Relationships get complicated, the past is rehashed a bit, and the future is uncertain.  i’m looking forward to reading Breaking Point tonight to see what’s next for these 2.