The Declaration is the first book in the trilogy of the same name by Gemma Malley. This edition of the book was published by Bloomsbury on 8th November and it is 295 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copt for review.
Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
Anna Covey is a ‘Surplus’. She should not have been born. In a society in which ageing is no longer feared, and death is no longer an inevitability, children are an abomination.
Like all Surpluses, Anna is living in a Surplus Hall and learning how to make amends for the selfish act her parents committed in having her. She is quietly accepting of her fate until, one day, a new inmate arrives. Anna’s life is thrown into chaos. But is she brave enough to believe this mysterious boy?
What I thought
My boyfriend has the old hardback editions of this trilogy but recently, they have been repackaged with new covers so I jumped at the chance to review all three books. I hadn’t read them yet and I thought it would be nice to have my own copy of them, which are so different to the hardbacks.
Recently I have been back in the mood for dystopian books so The Declaration was a great choice for me to read. It also sounded extremely different to any others I had previously read so I was excited about this one. I loved the initial idea of a world where no more children were allowed to be born unless it was under specific rules. I can’t imagine a world where no one grows old and there are no new people growing up all of the time.
I didn’t think I was going to but I liked main character Anna. She’s a girl living in a Surplus Hall, a place where the illegal kids go to in order to learn their ‘proper’ place in society. To begin with, I thought Anna was an idiot for not having a mind of her own but then I slowly realised that she had been brought up this way so didn’t really have any other choice. Living here is the only thing that she has ever known and it has been drilled into her that she is a waste and shouldn’t be alive. Although Anna is one for following the rules, she does break some of them on the sly which was something I did like about her to begin with.
As the story gets going, and a strange boy is brought to the Surplus Hall, Anna really comes into her own. The boy helps her to realise that the world outside is not all that she has been told it is and it makes her question her life and what she is doing. I really enjoyed watching Anna and Peter get to know each other and for her to slowly begin to befriend and trust him, even though she knows it is ‘wrong’. Peter is very interesting due to where he says he comes from. He comes from a life completely opposite from what Anna has been brought up in so the contrast between the two characters was really good!
For the most part, I found the plot to be very interesting and different. The explanations about why the world has particular rules and laws was definitely the most interesting aspect of the book. The ideas behind it all were viable and also very creepy. The Declaration made me wonder whether or not the world could ever actually get to the point where it becomes so overpopulated that this kind of thing could ever happen. You hear on the news and television programs of families having a lot of children and I guess if everyone did this then there would be massive population problems eventually, especially with life expectancy ages a lot higher than they used to be.
The Declaration, while with a dark and dingy setting, is exciting and thrilling. Gemma Malley has created a great new dysopian world.