August 18, 2012

Book review: The Declaration by Gemma Malley

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It’s the year 2140 and Anna shouldn’t be alive. Nor should any of the children she lives with at Grange Hall. The facility is full of kids like her, kids whose parents chose to recklessly abuse Mother Nature and have children despite a law forbidding them from doing so as long as they took longevity drugs. To pay back her parents’ debt to Mother Nature, Anna will have to work for the rest of her life. But then Peter appears at the hall, and he tells a very different story about the world outside of the Grange. Peter begs Anna to escape Grange Hall, and to claim a life for herself outside its bleak walls. But even if they get out, they still have to make their way to London, to Anna’s parents, and to an underground movement that’s determined to bring back children and rid the world of longevity drugs.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

I looked forward to reading this book. I noticed it on my list of Goodreads recommendations a few weeks ago but hadn't gotten around to reading it until recently. From the description, it sounded like the kind of YA dystopian book that I'd really enjoy.

In many ways, The Declaration didn't disappoint. Several contemporary themes were woven into this story: depletion of natural resources, global warming, class warfare, and immigration to name some of the obvious ones. But underlying all of the political rhetoric was the idea of parents' love for their children, and the love of children in general. Throw in the often-used YA call for freedom of choice, and you have everything a good YA dystopian novel needs.

The main problem I have with The Declaration is its length. I can't decide if it's too short or too long. I know that sounds paradoxical, but the plot of the story is pretty simple. Not a lot goes on in the roughly 300 pages of text that make up the novel. That was a problem, because it definitely felt long at times. On the other hand, if the book contained more scenes and more action, I could see it easily being over 400 pages and forming an epic story.

I do recommend The Declaration to lovers of YA dystopian novels. It doesn't make my top five, but it is one that I wouldn't mind reading again.

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