Review: The Declaration by Gemma Malley

Declaration - Gemma Malley

For some reason at our local movie theatre they have these postcards advertising (what I now know to be) soon to be released books. It's almost like they're saying "Sure, enjoy your movie. But don't enjoy it too much, you should give reading a go too you know." It's a bit odd but whatever. Anyway, years ago I came across the postcard of The Declaration with the butterfly surrounded by barbed wire. I picked it up because it was interesting and vaguely pretty. I used it as a book mark for the longest time. But it had to have been the worst piece of advertising ever because there was literally no information about the product for sale, the book whatsoever. I wasn't even sure at that point if it was a book that was being promoted.


So .... Flash forward several years to last week and there is that butterfly on a bed of wire again, in my library proclaiming itself to, in fact, be a novel by Gemma Malley. It's so weird when that happens. It's like you get a little jolt as your brain makes the connection and fishes the memory from the archives. I mean, I used that tatty postcard as a book mark for a long time. I mean a long time as in years. It is such a familiar image to me that I assured myself that now I had finally discovered what it was trying to lead me towards I was going to read it and I was going to damn well enjoy it!


Well .... I declare that The Declaration was a bitter disappointment. I had hopes tied up in it and man, it was just so blah.

The premise is interesting: it is the year 2140. Disease, old age and death have been wiped from the planet thanks to the discovery of longevity drugs which allow citizens to live forever. However, with the new infinite lifespan the world begins to become overpopulated and a ban on reproduction is put into action, making children effectively illegal. The few that slip though the net are confined in residential facilities (see prisons) and developed to be "useful" and taught that they are nothing more than a drain on the earth's already stretched to breaking point resources. Anna, our dimwitted "hero" must fight for her freedom with the help of her trusty side-kick and guide to the Outside world, Peter.


Sadly it all goes downhill pretty quickly. There's nothing particularly interesting, believable or likeable about the characters. The storyline becomes rather far-fetched and there are huge plot holes and jumps in logic. It's all too brief and rushed in my opinion.


Anna is nonsense personified. She transforms in the blink of an eye from a completely brain-washed, totally obedient slave of the system to a rebellious freedom fighter after overhearing a single conversation. Really? The book lost me at this point to be honest.

And the end? Really? I didn't give enough of a crap about Anna's parents to be in the least bit moved by their fate - they were simply cardboard cutouts wafting gently in the breeze in the background. It didn't know them enough to care.


Yeah, The Declaration? Umm .... Don't bother. There's much more quality YA dystopian fiction available so move along people, nothing to see here!