December 26th, 2009

Kitty: Angry Calico

Malley, Gemma: The Declaration

The Declaration (2007)
Written by: Gemma Malley
Genre: YA/Science Fiction
Pages: 301 (Trade Paperback)

The premise: ganked from BN.com: It’s the year 2140 and Longevity drugs have all but eradicated old age. A never-aging society can’t sustain population growth, however…which means Anna should never have been born. Nor should any of the children she lives with at Grange Hall. The facility is full of boys and girls whose parents chose to have kids—called surpluses—despite a law forbidding them from doing so. These children are raised as servants, and brought up to believe they must atone for their very existence. Then one day a boy named Peter appears at the Hall, bringing with him news of the world outside, a place where people are starting to say that Longevity is bad, and that maybe people shouldn’t live forever. Peter begs Anna to escape with him, but Anna’s not sure who to trust: the strange new boy whose version of life sounds like a dangerous fairy tale, or the familiar walls of Grange Hall and the head mistress who has controlled her every waking thought?

My Rating

Give It Away: the premise is stellar, I grant that, but it's execution is just too simple for my taste, and I've seen the premise before in a Bacigalupi short story, which is much darker and a lot scarier. It also didn't help that I kept flipping to the back of the book to see how it ended, which pretty much spoiled any surprise the book had in store for me. So, don't be like me: don't do that. I can't help but wonder if I would've enjoyed this book more if I were much younger, because this book, according to Amazon, is geared towards Grade 5 and up, which might explain just how simply-written and black/white everything is. It's not to say that adults can't enjoy the book (when they've not already seen this premise played out and they haven't spoiled themselves), but it is worth noting that it seems geared for a younger audience, younger than your usual teen reader. That's not something I usually note, but I feel in this case, potential readers should be aware--YA tends to be written in such a way that doesn't cater to its young audience, and this is a book that caters. As far as the story goes, the premise, great as it is, doesn't feel lived up to, but then again, this is the first book of a duology (or series?), so it's easy to imagine (especially given the ending), that we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg. That said, I'm not sure I see myself continuing. Sure, it's a great premise that I'd like to see explored more, but if the sequel, The Resistance, is written like The Declaration is, I'm not sure I want to continue.

Review style: WARNING!! THERE BE SPOILERS!!! Why the all-caps? Because if you haven't yet read this book and you want to, THEN DO NOT READ THE SPOILERS. I did, and I regret it, because it sucked a LOT of the tension out of the book for me. So please, take my advice and DO NOT READ SPOILERS if you want to read and enjoy this book, which means there's no need to click the link below. However, if you've read the book and want to discuss, then feel free to click the link to my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome! :)

REVIEW: Gemma Malley's THE DECLARATION

Happy Reading!

Book club selections @ calico_reaction. Hop on over! We'd love to have you!

December: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
January: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
February: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler