Review: The Declaration

Review: The DeclarationThe Declaration by Gemma Malley
Series: The Declaration #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on October 2, 2007
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

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.

This book is like a combination of Unwind, The Postmortal and Among the Hidden, although the last one was the only one actually published when The Declaration came out in 2007. Set in 2140, most people live forever, because of the miracle drug longevity. Unfortunately, this drug does not halt the aging process of the skin, meaning that wrinkles and sagging are still a serious problem. Basically, in this future, plastic surgery is de rigeur. Of course, there’s the mysterious new Longevity+ which apparently keeps the skin young too.

Like in Among the Hidden, people are forbidden from having kids, although here most people aren’t even allowed one, whereas in Among the Hidden families could have two. The governments feared over population with everyone living indefinitely. Thus, only if the parents opt out of taking the drug will they be allowed to reproduce.

What I wonder though is why the rules are quite that strict. Here’s the thing. I agree that over-population is a definite concern, but it’s not like most people are actually going to live forever. At one point, Malley mentions that crime has essentially been eradicated, because, apparently, it’s not worthwhile if you’re going to live forever. Really, that seems like bullshit to me. There would still be murder and there would still be accidents. People would be dying off, obviously at a very reduced rate, but there’s still no need to institute a “life for a life” policy.

I still haven’t really warmed up to Anna, although she definitely improved as the book moved along. At the outset, she was insufferable, with her complete belief in her own worthlessness and her desire to be the best slave ever. Ugh! Plus, as the prefect at Grange Hall, she helped make the already awful lives of other Surpluses even worse. Not exactly a heroine.

Still, I am definitely going to read the next book, as I am curious to find out what will happen next.

2 responses to “Review: The Declaration”

  1. You mentioned The Postmortal in your review, so I’m wondering what you think of the scenarios of the two books compared to each other?

  2. Christina says:

    On some levels, the scenarios are pretty similar. The main difference, of course, is the addition of the other scenarios from the other dystopias (although this phrasing is misleading, since The Declaration came first).

    Actually, the thing I found most intriguing in comparing the two novels was the fact that in The Postmortal it was a perfect cure for aging, whereas in The Declaration, only the physical aging process was stopped. People continue to look whatever age they were when they began taking the pills, but gravity still affects them. So, theoretically, someone could look twenty-five but have the saggy breasts, butt and jowls of a 90 year old.

    Also, since the cure in The Declaration is pill-based and must be taken constantly, the pharmaceutical companies essentially can take over the world. Two most important things in this world: Longevity and birth control.

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