The Declaration (The Declaration #1)
Review Copy sent courtesy of Bloomsbury & does not impact my review
Anna Covey is a ‘Surplus’. She should not have been born. In a society in which ageing is no longer feared, and death is no longer an inevitability, children are an abomination. Like all Surpluses, Anna is living in a Surplus Hall and learning how to make amends for the selfish act her parents committed in having her. She is quietly accepting of her fate until, one day, a new inmate arrives. Anna’s life is thrown into chaos. But is she brave enough to believe this mysterious boy?
Dystopian fiction for teens is the genre du jour at the moment and as such The Declaration has a lot of competition. However, the main premise here feels much scarier than a Capital imposing games on districts children’s or regulating the air you breathe. Scientists discover a drug which allows people to live forever and never having to worry about disease or old age. Unfortunately that means the planets resources are taxed to the extreme so everyone decides not to have children so as not to waste any resources on the young. Any children born are deemed Surplus with some countries deciding to put them down while others like the UK bring them up in Surplus camps training to be staff for the Legals, telling them to hate their parents for their selfish choice. The whole society hates young people and is scared by them – now if that doesn’t send a shiver down your spine, I don’t know what will.
Anna is a surplus on course to become a Valuable Asset when a new Surplus Peter comes to Grange Hall and starts to challenge all her assumptions. Anna is not a natural rebel – she believes in the rules and follows them, but still dreams of the Outside and seeing the sky and desert. However, as she starts to question what she has always been told and begins to think for herself you start to warm to her. Even if she never takes control of her own destiny completely, I wanted her to succeed and rooted for her.
It was great to have dystopian set in the UK and a scarily recognisable UK. The writing was smooth and easy to get lost in. I loved the different points of view and the insights into the adults in the story which make it seem horribly realistic how people came to support The Declaration. The first half of the book is set up, but it’s in the second half that it really comes to life with tense events and excitement. I flew through the pages in a day or so and I’m happy I have the rest of the trilogy to read soon! This was a unique dystopian which I found exciting and fun to read – one of the better dystopian’s I’ve read this year.
Recommended for fans of Veronica Roth and Sarah Alderson. 8 out of 10