Review: Three by Kristen Simmons

Kristen Simmons

Tor Teen
I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.
Releases February 11, 2014
384 pages
YA / Dystopian / Scifi

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Kristen Simmons' fast-paced, gripping YA dystopian series continues in Three.

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.

Could it be? Has my bad luck with series enders come to a close? I was starting to think it was impossible to feel satisfied with the conclusion to a trilogy, but after Evertrue and now Three, I’m starting to think maybe it’s not just me after all. Thank you, Kristen Simmons, for writing an incredibly compelling, satisfying conclusion to your dystopian series. It left me sad and happy and a little disoriented upon finishing, like I wasn’t meant to return to this world of day jobs and Veronica Mars marathons.

I’ve had an interesting history with the Article 5 series. It’s been kind of backwards compare to my usual reaction to dystopian trilogies. I had some huge issues with the first book to the point that it caused me to stop giving my reviews letter grades all together. Despite that, I went forward with the second book, which resolved many of the issues I’d had with the first, but still didn’t make me a huge cheerleader for the series. But this third volume? Get me some pompoms.

I flailed, I teared up, I was shocked and I read the nearly 400 page book in one sitting after making the mistake of starting it at 8PM at night. I could not put Three down. Ember’s naiveté is a thing of the past and yet she still makes reckless choices when nothing else can be done. Everyone lives in shades of grey and she’s left not knowing who to trust other than Chase, who starts to loosen up a little and begins to believe a future is possible.


Three opens with Chase and Ember looking for any potential survivors that might have made it out from the bombing of the safe house that had previously been their destination. As they hunt for potential survivors, they come across several groups of people living in the Red Zone and end up having lots of guns pointed at them. It begins a long trek where no one can be trusted and everyone could potentially be working with the enemy.

One of my biggest problems with Article 5 was the facelessness of the bad guys. That is not a problem this time around. There is a face to the Morale Statutes now, someone to finally target in an attempt to make a dent in the military state that runs their lives. In fact the world gets filled in with so many shades of grey that Ember and Chance can’t really depend on anyone other than themselves even as they need the help of others to fight back.

The death toll is high, which left me in a near panic considering how much I came to care not only about Chase and Ember, but also the side characters. By the end I’d lost track of how many times I dropped my jaw in surprise. By the end, I was emotionally exhausted and both horrified (in a good way, if that’s possible) and amazed by how everything turned out. Simmons takes chances and utilizes her awesomeness at writing tightly paced action packed scenes where danger is around every corner. It completely pays off. This was probably one of the most satisfying series endings I’ve read in a very long time.

I refuse to spoil anything in the plot of this third book because it was so great to experience it with no knowledge of what was coming ahead. Any issues I may have had with past books are long sense buried beneath sheer awesomeness and pulse-pounding adventure. This is a world I would never want to live in, but I am so glad that I stuck with it to see how Ember and Chase adventure ended.


I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. Thank you to Tor for being awesome. Opinions are my own.