Author: Gemma Malley
My Edition: Borrowed Bloomsbury Paperback
Released: October 2nd 2007
Notes: The Declaration #1
Rating: See below review.
It's the year 2140 and Longevity drugs have all but eradicated old age. A never-aging society can't sustain population growth, however…which means Anna should never have been born. Nor should any of the children she lives with at Grange Hall. The facility is full of boys and girls whose parents chose to have kids--called surpluses--despite a law forbidding them from doing so. These children are raised as servants, and brought up to believe they must atone for their very existence. Then one day a boy named Peter appears at the Hall, bringing with him news of the world outside, a place where people are starting to say that Longevity is bad, and that maybe people shouldn't live forever. Peter begs Anna to escape with him, but Anna's not sure who to trust: the strange new boy whose version of life sounds like a dangerous fairy tale, or the familiar walls of Grange Hall and the head mistress who has controlled her every waking thought?
When my friend offered to let me borrow this, to be honest I wasn't too fussed. Personally, I'd never really thought about reading it but since my friend seemed to always be bringing it up and saying how much she'd enjoyed it, I relented. And I am so glad I did! Though it wasn't my favourite, it still felt like I was reading something totally unique. I felt almost privileged to have read it.
The Declaration definitely has a haunting vision of the future! That's one of the number one comments readers make in their reviews of this, and I have to agree. A world where children are illegal? That's kind-of scary! I really empathised with Anna because when Peter came along, everything that had been drummed into her about being useless and a waste-of-space was keeping her back from believing him. We could practically see the battle she was having between what she hoped could be true and everything she had been told was true. We really must give Malley credit for giving us such a complex and likeable main character - she was definitely well suited to the story! Then there's Peter. I don't really want to say too much about him in case I slip a spoiler, but I will say that he was overall an alright character. Maybe not the best male character I've come across but he was fine to get along with.
Though I would say that this book definitely wasn't boring, it wasn't exactly action-packed either. The Declaration definitely suited the pace it was at and the world and character building was just excellent. I think it made up for the loss of action that I usually crave for in most books. Don't get me wrong, it did pick up more toward the end though! I just think this book done a great job of setting up for a series! However, that ending was pretty well wrapped up - it could have worked fine as a standalone too! I wonder where the author's going to take the next book then...
I really enjoyed the writing in this novel as well. It had some diary entries in which we got to see from Anna's point of view and then the majority which was from third person. I found this really refreshing and it mixed things up a bit more so you were never that bored.
Overall, I quite enjoyed The Declaration. It had a great, complex main character and a unique plot line and setting. Also, a great, refreshing writing style. I'd absolutely recommend that you give it a read. I managed to finish it pretty quickly because I was just caught up in the whole haunting, dystopian world.
Cover Corner: I'm not really that sure what to think of this cover. I don't love it but I don't hate it either. The way that it looks like the butterfly is trapped by barbed wire is quite smart and ties in with the storyline but I don't think the colours of the butterfly are the best.