Newest Review: ... The Declaration, the main character is a 14 year old girl called Anna who communicates with the reader through a journal (the clue is in ... more
Who Wants To Live Forever?
The Declaration - Gemma Malley
Member Name: Rhiana
The Declaration - Gemma Malley
Advantages: fantastic premise, readable and intelligent, thought provoking.
Disadvantages: Raises a lot of unanswered questions although these are addressed in sequel
The year is 2140 and by now everyone is used to the fact they'll live forever. Since it's creation 100 years previously, wonder drug Longevity has eradicated all diseases including old age. But in a world where no-one dies, there's no room for anyone new. And so everyone must sign a Declaration promising they won't create new life or forfeit their right to Longevity altogether.
16 year old Anna is Surplus, born to parents who dared to break the Declaration. Torn away at a young age, she has grown up in the Surplus Hall along with many other illegal children. Treat with contempt and cruelty, the surpluses are trained to become Valuable Assets, slaves to legal people. Anna is accepting of her fate until one night when a new surplus arrives, forcing her to question her world for the first time and throwing her life into chaos.
I've wanted to read this series for ages. The premise is brilliant, a not so distant future where the cure to illness, disease and old age has been found and people live forever but children are forbidden. Finally getting around to it in time for the release of the final book of the trilogy, I flew through all three books within a couple of days.
I adored every page of this book and read it in one go. The future Gemma Malley creates is shocking. Anna's story, along with the other surpluses is heart breaking; the idea of assigning such labels to children is horrifying. Yet there's also something very believable and familiar about the story. The Surplus Hall, while set 100 years in the future, brought to my mind the workhouses of the past in many ways. Life is hard and children are stripped of anything that makes them human. Mrs Pincent, the cruel house matron, wouldn't be out of place in Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. Longevity, the wonder drug that means everyone lives forever, never aging and never getting ill is quite frankly horrifying. Yet again there is something believable about the situation and the problems created by it both on the population and the world's resources. It wasn't at all difficult to imagine life with longevity and that made the story very scary indeed.
Gemma Malley's writing is very readable, I found myself completely caught up and involved in the story. The characters are vivid and well developed. I particularly liked Anna, who is quietly strong and resilient even when she doesn't know it. I was thoroughly behind her throughout the book. Peter intrigued me immediately with his intensity and passion for his cause. My only complaint while reading this book was that we didn't really get much of an insight into the world outside the Surplus Hall and I had a lot of questions relating to the beginnings of Longevity and how it was used. However I started the next book in the series immediately after finishing and all my questions are addressed then. Overall I though The Declaration was a fantastic first book. It's extremely readable, gripping, emotional and thought provoking and is one I will think about for a long time to come.
Summary: A fantastic start to a brilliant and addictive series
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