Gemma Malley is a young adult fantasy author. She published The Declaration trilogy, which comprises three books including The Declaration (2007), The Resistance (2009) and the Legacy (2010).
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Author: Gemma Malley
Genre: Dystopian Adult Fantasy Novel
Page count: 320
Good reads rating: 3.71 of 5
My Ratings: 8.3 of 10
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
For The Latest Price: The Declaration
***Warning Spoilers Below This Point***
In 2030, the world defeats mortality by introducing a new drug named Longevity which can prevent the ageing process and illnesses so that no one can die. People inject themselves with the drug so to remain immortal and stop having children. This problem results in overpopulation and burdening authorities, thus they announce a Declaration in 2065. It contains a document that everyone has to sign before consuming Longevity and declares childbirth an illegal activity.
Initially, people show resistance as they want to have a family but then agree to bargain with eternity. If someone gives birth to a child, they declare he or she illegal and called Surplus. Some countries had strict rules for illegal children such as killing them by euthanasia, but Britain had moderate rules to deal with it. The authorities constructed “Surplus Halls” where illegal children live after being taken away from their parents. They teach them to work and several skills, however, they become prohibited to read and write. They were told that their birth is a criminal act against Nature so it condemns them to live a miserable, deprived life. Their lifelong labour can be a source of redemption for their parents.
Surplus Anna is a teenage girl taken away from her parents at two and now she spends her life in Surplus Halls. She despises her parents for bringing the wrath of Nature upon her for a crime they committed. She gets work at Mrs Sharpe’s home. Mrs Sharpe is a kind-hearted, loving lady, and she gifts Anna a pink-coloured diary in which she journals about her day and night. As writing became illegal for any Surplus Child, Anna hides her diary near the girl’s bathroom. Then one day a mysterious boy arrives at Hotel, his name is Peter. Peter likes to tell Anna weird stories of the outside world. He calls her Anna Covey and upon investigating he tells her it was the name her parents gave her and they love her so much, they even want to bring her back.
Anna discards his stories and disbelieves him. She thinks Peter tells half-witted stories only to disturb her mentally. Anna is subservient and complies with all rules to become Valuable Asset but then Mrs Pincent beats Anna complaining that she became brainwashed by a wicked boy, Peter. Thus she is ill-suited for becoming a Valuable Asset. This perturbs Anna as her lifelong labour reduces to nothing at once. She plans to misbehave to get herself into prison and escape from it with Peter. Their attempt goes successful and they reach Anna’s home. Anna feels joyous to meet her parents who show her love and affection. She finds out here she has an infant brother who they put in a hiding place by her parents for if authorities find out, they will take him away.
However, officials from Surplus Halls chase Anna and Peter. Upon their reaching at Covey’s home, her parents commit suicide. The declaration has this law that if children lost their parents, then they become Legal. Peter also finds out that they killed his father so he is also a Legal and not a Surplus child. Thus Anna and Peter live together and raise Anna’s little brother Ben.
This novel receives ratings of 8.3 out of 10 because of the easy reading but interesting storyline. It also raised two most relevant and contemporary issues of over-population and the ethical dilemma of childbirth in the 21st century. With medical advancements, life expectancy increased worldwide, however; moralists argue that bringing a child into this world remains challenging. Would I re-read the novel? No. Am I glad I read it? Yes
For The Latest Price: The Declaration
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