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
When a child is born..... They are Surplus to requirements
The Declaration - Gemma Malley
Member Name: carlz2001uk
The Declaration - Gemma Malley
Advantages: Excellent story, good characters, nice pace it's a trilogy (Yey!)
Disadvantages: Anna annoying at first!
The Declaration is a Dystopian novel set in the future after an epidemic has wiped out the world as we know it. Humans can take Longevity drugs for a longer life expectancy but in return they must sign the Declaration. The Declaration would see adults not be allowed to have children, to ensure that the costs to the Government is controlled as adults live longer, the need to have children to repopulate is no longer an issue. Those wishing to have children may do so but they forfeit any Longevity drugs opening them up to illnesses and disease. There are however many many adults across the world who sign the Declaration but have children anyway and risk those children being taken away from them permanently and branded 'Surpluses'.
The book, partly in diary form, follows the life of Surplus Anna who came to live in one of the holding stations in the UK when she was just two years old. Anna is working as hard as she can to prove that she can be a Useful Surplus. Useful Surpluses work as household helpers to Legals, members of the outside community who have obeyed the Declaration and have every right to be alive. Anna knows her place though and lives and works in the most efficient way possible to ensure her time on this Earth causes the minimum impact and disruption that it can to others. She resents her parents for ignoring the Declaration and doesn't wish to be back with them. Even if she would wish to be back with them, they are being punished in prison for disobeying the Declaration.
The book is, in some ways very difficult to read in that children are literally hated and they lead miserable and minimal lives with no happiness or anything to look forward to. The holding stations are basically prisons, and even the windows are covered. They do not see daylight nor do they have visitors or any form of contact with anyone but fellow surpluses. Even that is forbidden and Grange House where Surplus Anna lives sees much of the children look after themselves, in a dog eat dog way. Surplus Anna knows her place and works as hard as she can to avoid beatings or a stint in solitary, that is until Peter arrives. Peter changes everything.
This book was fantastic, I finished it this morning and was momentarily gutted until I realised this book is actually part of a trilogy! Yey! I have downloaded the next one and can't wait to get started on it tonight! Easy to read, yet written in a way that grabs you. The first half of the book sets the scene, and as I mentioned can be quite difficult to read. How children can be thought of in this way is devastating. After Peters arrival the pace quickens and you are left literally stumbling over the pages in an effort to absorb the words and immerse yourself in the story. I found Anna a little difficult to warm to in the beginning however she is so institutionalised that she has become what the Government wants her to become, surplus to requirements and a burden on everyone. Her realisation of this makes her numb to everything going on around her, but she does get nicer so stick with it!!
I've really got into Dystopian books recently after initially starting with The Hunger Games, and I think that although the books are obviously set in the future, the way the stories are written that everything is as we know it is the same except for one key thing (in this dystopian book, it's that people can live forever because of a daily intake of a drug). Because its set in the future yet they aren't wizzing around in space ships or anything that wildly unbelievable, that the book is really easy to absorb yourself into as you can really go with it and think actually this could happen 'one day'. It captured my attention and most importantly, it kept it.
A must read.
Summary: 5 stars
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