Monday, November 26, 2012

The Declaration Trilogy

Author: Gemma Malley
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: August 19,2008 / February 2, 2010 / January 4, 2011
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: The Declaration Trilogy
Source: Kindle / Library Kindle
In 2140, no one dies. Thanks to the drug Longevity, old age and disease have been eradicated. In order to keep the world from becoming too crowded, everyone who takes Longevity must sign The Declaration, promising not to have children. Those children who are born illegally are called Surpluses and stored away in homes where they are trained to understand their sin against nature and to groom them to be Valuable Assets, to serve a Legal when they are ready.

Anna is one such Surplus. She Knows her Place and is poised to become an extremely Valuable Asset. But then Peter shows up - defiant, confident, and dangerously alluring. He tells her that she is valued and wanted by her parents, that she is not Surplus, and he plans to help her escape. Once they flee Grange Hall, Peter and Anna face the daunting task of setting things straight - of fighting against the twisted view of the Longevity makers, joining the Underground to ensure that the future is secured through children, the real natural cycle. The fight seems long, endless - but when events unfold in a way no one could imagine or predict, perhaps the world can be saved after all.
After I started reading The Declaration, I realized I'd read the first two books in the series years ago. I had never read The Legacy, though, so I read through all three books in order again. And I loved them this time just as much as I did last time.

Anna is the first thing that draws the reader into the first book. She is brainwashed, but somehow she still manages to retain a bit of defiance, hiding her journal, an illegal thing for a Surplus to have. It's that spark that gives her character and relatability, even when she is blindly refusing Peter's help and information. Throughout the series, Anna maintains her likability by being quietly strong. She doesn't figure so much in the actual events, the plotting and scheming of the second and third books, but she's always there, just doing what has to be done, choosing between right and wrong in her newfound views, and being a steadying force for Peter.

And Peter needs that steadying force. In the first book, he's the dashing hero - he rescues Anna from a miserable life, he gives back to her parents for sheltering him in the best way possible. Mostly, though, I think he comes off as the strong, brave hero because it's a contrast to Anna's meekness and confusion. He is brave and daring, he is also kind and generous. But the second and third books show a different side of him as well - he makes mistakes, mistakes that cost progress and even lives. He always has that burning desire to make things right, but I love that he's so not the perfect guy.

The question of immortality vs. the rebirth of life through children is brilliantly explored throughout the three books. From the start, we obviously agree with the Underground's ideas, but by the end, I think we come to see it for ourselves. The plot's trajectory is fantastic - we go from a situation that seems hopeless to complete salvation in a series of twists and turns, with breathless action and suspense right along with heartbreak and emotion.

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