Review of The Declaration by Gemma Malley

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.

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The Declaration is very English. I've noticed this a lot with English books, the environments in Dystopian books just seem so much smaller. With American Dystopian you get some pretty massive worlds and elaborate settings but with the English ones, there's usually a lot of walking around one building. In this book, around 3/4 of it is set in Grange Hall, where the Surplus kids are sent. Anna is a Surplus, an illegal child caught by the catches and sent to learn how to be Useful to the Legals - really old people who take a lot of drugs. She believes that she doesn't deserve to exist, that Mother Nature doesn't want her because she's a Surplus; but when Peter arrives her whole world is turned upside down as he shows her the truth of her world and they decide to escape.

I didn't really like Anna at first but after a couple of chapters I understood her much better and grew to like her. Her diary entries are quite strange and her personality seems a little different in them but it was nice to see what she's thinking about the events that have just happened. I was surprised that she came across as quite selfish at times, particularly when it came to another Surplus named Sheila, who was a favourite character of mine. The narration shifts through different characters (although the main focus is Anna) and I think that helps the storyline in many different places.

The ending was much better than I was expecting and I'm pretty interested to see what will happen in the net two booksof this trilogy. Hopefully the environments that the characters find themselves in will be much bigger and there'll be more action.

4/5

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