Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Review: The Declaration by Gemma Malley

Title: The Declaration
(sequel is called The Resistance, upcoming release is The Legacy)
Author: Gemma Malley
Genre: Dystopian romance
Publisher: Bloomsbury(Allen & Unwin)
ISBN: 9780747587743

Edit: This review has been submitted to the lovely Presenting Lenore's August dystopian book review contest.

Blurb from Goodreads:

"In the year 2140, it is illegal to be young.

Children are all but extinct.

The world is a better place.

Longevity drugs are a fountain of youth. Sign the Declaration, agree not to have children and you too can live forever. Refuse, and you will live as an outcast. For the children born outside the law, it only gets worse – Surplus status.

Not everyone thinks Longevity is a good thing, but you better be clear what side you’re on. . . . Surplus Anna is about to find out what happens when you can’t decide if you should cheat the law or cheat death."

Set in the far-off future, this is a sci-fi dystopian book that explores the possibility of a world in which no one dies. Everyone is kept alive, young and beautiful, by miracle pills that stimulate continued cell growth, slowing down the aging process.

What Malley has thoughtfully predicted is that in this hypothetical immortal society, humanity will have undoubtedly increased in population, to the point where further increase would result in the depletion of Earth’s natural resources.

I find philosophical explorations of the future very intriguing. The value of human life has changed to the extent where couples are banned from having children, unless they declare that they are willing to exchange their eternal lives for their children. There are underground movements of people who are against this, and have continued to bring forth children.

And quite like an extreme version of China’s current one-child policy, this is where “Surpluses” come in. They are children who have been born illegally, and are taken into Surplus Halls, where they are indoctrinated into believing that do not have the right to exist.

Anna’s whole life has been shaped so that she will someday prove useful to the rest of humanity as the servant of a legal person. But a mysterious young boy turns up at the Surplus Hall, claiming to have been on the outside, and to know her parents, Anna’s life is turned upside down. Can she trust this boy, or should she continue her worthless existence, suffering in the hands of a selfish society?

My philosophical views:

This book is a delicately written novel that explores the desire of human beings to live forever. Personally, I believe in the circle of life. You are born, and educated to become useful to society. You add to the gene pool through the birth of your children, and dedicate your remaining years to hone further generations to become, in turn, valuable members of society. And when you die, you can die peacefully, knowing that you have contributed to the continued existence of mankind.

I am still too young and immature to think beyond this basic cycle, and I believe I shouldn’t attempt to delve into philosophy without the wisdom that comes with age. So I’ll leave my thoughts here. It does feel good to write down/type up my thoughts though.

Gemma Malley talks about "The Declaration":

The book is an interesting exploration into the human nature, and as a young person myself, I felt the distraught and inequality that society forced onto children. Simple possessions are banned in this future dystopian world, and Anna lives in guilt when she writes in a diary that was given to her by an appreciative hostess.

A tiny spoiler - highlight below:

But when Anna escaped, I felt the sense of freedom that she did. Anna then lives in constant fear of being arrested for breaking out, and in curiosity as the boy, Peter, goes on a journey with her to find her parents.

The Declaration is a hauntingly compelling story that invites the reader to really think. I recommend this book to anyone who loves dystopia, a sweet splash of romance, and the thrill of adventure.

Read an extract of the book here.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  - Beautiful, bold, breathtaking!

Happy reading,
xx Tina.

P.S. I need your opinions of this review: 
Is it too long?
Is the formatting hard-to-read, or does it make it easier to pick up on keywords? 
Would you prefer something more conversational?
Would you prefer not to have me include videos?


Nomes said...

oh, i like this review. the premise sounds really intriguing and i can imagine there's lots of ethical and moral stuff in there.

i like how you reviewed it too :)

i love your star rating @ the end and the three words summing it up and the video is a cool touch.

just review however you feel like it :) all my reviews are done slightly differently. i dont know why? i guess it depends on what i have to say about the book :)

Nomes said...

also, i love the first cover! is that the aussie one?

Tina (Book Couture) said...

I always love your comments, Nomes! I'm not quite sure - I've seen both covers in Australia, specifically, at my school library. So I'm inclined to think that they're both different editions?
Thank you, you're absolutely right, it does depend on what you have to say about the book. I'm testing several different styles to find out what is "me", but hopefully I'll still be able to write something different and new each time.

Jules@OneBookShy said...

This sounds like a fascinating book. I like that you share your feelings on the subject as well as the book. It's hard sometimes to separate the two.

I think you need to write in whatever style YOU feel like writing and are comfortable with. It will seem like work if you don't enjoy it!

Have a great one!

Anonymous said...

HIYA TINA! nice review :) guess who this is xD

Tina (Book Couture) said...

@ Jules - thank you! I have pretty strong feelings on the issue, and it does feel better to blog about them. Your comment is very true. When it's something you enjoy, you could do it forever.

@Anon - Not entirely sure...but I've got a pretty good idea of who it is, based on the time of the comment. ;)

danya said...

I recall quite enjoying The Declaration as well! I'm not sure if I read the second in the series (I think I may have skimmed through it, but I guess it didn't leave that much of an impression) but I know the third is going to be released soon. Especially liked your last couple of summary lines about this book!

Also, I just noticed you've got my blog on your blogroll list so just wanted to say thanks for that! :)

Anonymous said...

I am currently reading this book and i am finding it pretty awesome!! GO GEMMA

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