Review - The Declaration - Gemma Malley

The Declaration (The Declaration, #1)Title: The Declaration
Author: Gemma Malley
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Publication: October 2nd 2007, Bloomsbury
Pages: 304 pages
Source: Library book
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.
*Spoilers are highlighted in black. If you want to read the spoiler, click the right mouse button and highlight*

The Declaration had an interesting concept, which could have been pulled off, however I felt that there was something missing. It wasn't outstandingly brilliant, however it wasn't atrociously bad, it was just one of those books that you can describe as "eh." It has its pros and it has its cons, as I'm sure all books have.

The Declaration is a young adult dystopian novel where in the year 2140 a drug named Longevity has been formulated,its purpose? To help people live forever. However, there is a slight catch. In order to be in possession of the drug, you have to sign the Declaration. The Declaration is where you sign not to have any children. If all the people that are already born take the Longevity drug it means that no one dies therefore there is no space left on earth and if the people already born have children, there will be no resources and the world will be over-populated. There is another option, if you desperately want a child, that is, called an Opt Out. You can choose to have one child but then you can not take the Longevity drug, a life for a life. You will eventually die and your child will be able to live.

Anna, our main character, is a Surplus, one if the highest ranked Surplus, she'll soon be of the age where she can get a house keeping job by the Outside instead of working at the bleak and sinister Grange Hall run by the brutal Mrs Pincent, as punishment of her parents' terrible Sin of conceiving her.

Like I said, a brilliant idea, but I don't think it was brought to its full potential.

Firstly, I disliked Anna. She got on my nerves, her actions were incredibly juvenile, she was such a goody-two shoes that it infuriated me slightly. I know this isn't necessarily her fault, as that's how she was (unfortunately) brought up, and I suppose us readers need to keep that in mind whenever Anna infuriates us at times. Her behaviour, attitude and personality got a bit more manageable towards the end of the book, which I was thankful for. She grew up and her behaviour improved as her and Peter discovered the truth about themselves and the world they live in.

Peter was I was hoping that he would add a flare of excitement to the novel, however, no such luck. He was a bland character that didn't have any dimensional characteristics. He  was a smart lad that was there to add spice but unfortunately he fell flat with me.

I really hope that the last two books in the trilogy will have more character development, as practically all the characters in The Declaration had no unique personalities and weren't interesting to read about.

The one character that I actually showed emotion towards was Mrs Pincent. I detested her, she was such a vile creature and the way she treated all the Surpluses was just unacceptable. Even though she was a nasty piece of work she added some spice to the story. In the end where it explained her reasons for being such a treacherous character, I felt sympathy for her, I felt her betray, her bitterness the pure, raw unfairness of the situation that had occurred. Mrs Pincent is a character that you'll love to hate. One of her most evil lines?
"That's how you really destroyed a Surplus. Make it think you love it before abusing it's trust so completely that it could never trust another human being again." - page 58

The plot was predictable at times. Towards the end I predicted that Mrs Pincent was Peter's mother, it became slightly obvious with the whole story she told about her son being cruelly taken away from her and then her child being 'murdered' and how his file was classified, whereas no other Surpluses' file was.

The ending was also completely fluffy and unrealistic, I'm glad it had a happy ending but the events that happened in order to make the happy ending didn't seem to fit so well. When Anna's parents killed themselves for her and her baby brother so that there would be a life for a life. Then they realized Peter then had to be captured by the Catchers who were about to take them away as no one was there to die for him. Then his grandfather he never knew he had appears at the top of the cellar's staircase and hands him a document saying his dad had just died therefore he was a Legal, it was all just to set-up...if you know where I'm going with this? It was all just too easy, fluffy and predictable. I didn't care for when Anna's parents sacrificed themselves as I didn't know them, I only knew their first names. When I read what had happened I was just like, "Oh. Okay. Kind of saw that coming." *flicks page*

The one thing that I did like about The Declaration is the writing. Gemma Malley had some gorgeous descriptions scattered throughout the book and some interesting sentences and that made the book a whole lot more enjoyable.

I had high hopes for The Declaration, but unfortunately it fell flat for me. With bland characters and a predictable plot, The Declaration wasn't the intense read I was expecting. I think that The Declaration would be suited to the big screen and it would be a better movie than a book. A lot of people have loved it so give it a go! :D

I give it: 3/5 CUPCAKES!