The third and final installment of the series that began with Article 5 (2012) ramps up the action as the extremist government cracks down on Ember Miller and her fellow resistance members.
When the book opens, Ember is sleeping in what remains of a destroyed resistance safe house along with the boy she loves, Chase, and a handful of others. As they continue to travel underground, they encounter the legendary resistance group, Three. This is a war story: Ember and her friends continually flee, camp out, strategize and fight, often at a moment’s notice. Where earlier volumes’ action sequences felt repetitive, these are suspenseful and immediate. Whom to trust and how far are rarely clear. Some interesting moral questions about pragmatism and violence arise, and no easy answers are given. Ember and Chase’s relationship, including a gentle and warmly presented sex scene, gives the story both hope and warmth. Given the series’ emphasis on the dangers of social conservativism, however—Ember’s mother’s initial crime was having conceived Ember out of wedlock—it seems odd that Ember dreams of marrying Chase without considering that act’s relationship to the Articles or to her mother’s arrest.
The strongest of the series’ three volumes, with a tense and harrowing climax. (Dystopian romance. 14 & up)