Friday, 25 January 2013

The Declaration By Gemma Malley

The Declaration
Series: The Declaration #1
Release Date: 8th November 2012 Originally 2007
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback
Page: 295
Source: Received from Publisher. 

Synopsis: 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?

A tense and utterly compelling story about a society behind a wall, and the way in which two young people seize the chance to break free.

Review: As a huge fan of Dystopian fiction, I was quite shocked that I hadn't heard of this before. What I really like too was that it was published before The Hunger Games so it hasn't been clouded by the popularity of that and obviously doesn't play on the same themes. I love the idea behind the novel with Longetivity drugs keeping you alive forever, that isn't that unique. But the world that Malley creates is, there must have been so much thought put into it, that I'm quite stunned at how one person has managed it. It is just so good. The plot is also complex full of twist and turns but the reader can follow it easily. Oh and just look at the stunning new covers, after reading you understand the significance of the butterfly.

In the world where a drug called Longtivity keeps people alive forever, the leaders realises that the population was steadily increasing but because no one was dying there was no balance. So they created the Declaration which state that to continue having the drugs you are never aloud children. Having a child becomes illegal, and those who do, have their children taken away from them. These children are called Surplus's and they are illegal and sent to live in Surplus houses where they are trained to serve the Legals of the world. They are slaves and are indoctrinated to believe that their parents committed a selfish act in having them. Anna is a surplus, she lives in a surplus hall with all the others where they are treated cruelly until they are employed as slaves to legals. Anna is on the path of becoming the perfect Surplus until the mysterious Peter turns up at the Surplus Hall. This is usual because he is so old, Anna wonders how he stayed hidden so long. Peter makes Anna question her life and her past, as she comes to realise that things aren't what she was taught to believe. 

I really liked Anna's character, she was bought up to think all legals were her enemies and Mrs Princent the head of the Surplus Hall was one of the eviliest women around. Anna was used to beatings and was scared if she did anything wrong, she wanted a good life so she tried to be the perfect little surplus they were all expecting. That is until she begins writing a diary, that act in itself is rebellion and the beginning of an awakening within Anna. She is really tested throughout the book, her whole world is challenged by someone else's word. That's where Peter come in, he knows that the world is a lie as an orphan himself, he is bought up by a member of the Underground Movement, a rebellion. He only goes to the Surplus Hall to get Anna and at first she doesn't co-operate. They're from two different parts of this new world and both have to try and understand why the other thinks the way they do. Peter knows that they are in danger and will try his very best to get Anna back to her parents before it's too late. 

I had a few problems with the book which will bring the rating I give it down. The first being that it is so slow to start. Yes I really enjoyed the first chapter where Anna writes in her diary giving us some history of her world, because of this we didn't really need to learn too much about her world in the next few chapters but we do and it really slowed down the pace of the novel. The novel seemed to be really slow and repetitive after this, nothing really happened and it was disappointing. Yes about 180 pages in things did get interesting but I think some people would have given up on the book by then. Oh and the ending seemed really rushed, it was over too quickly for my liking and it was resolved too easily as well. So yes there were some problems that made me not enjoy this novel as much as I expected. 

The Declaration is a very interesting Dystopian novel but it does have it's problems. Once the book gets going it's very good but it doesn't last for long. The world created is very detailed and unique, that in itself deserves a star of it's own. The Declaration isn't a bad start to the series but the problems with this one make me anxious to read the sequels. I think i will need time to think it over. 

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