As promised, here is my review for Gemma Malley's spectacular book, The Declaration. Now this may be a little rambly, because my feelings for this book are just cakes and rainbows and butterflies and sometimes they overflow, but I'll try to keep professional here.
So The Declaration follows the story of a girl called Anna in a world where being young is illegal and people live forever. It really is a fantastic book; the world building is incredible, the characters are complex and different, and the writing is spectacular. So if you haven't read it, please go read it now and come back when you have to finish reading this and to discuss.
So this is a book I picked up from my library when they were doing a book clear out. I thought the cover was nice, it was a good, hardcover book and so I took it. Little did I know that I would absolutely love, love love it.
This book is so different to books like The Hunger Games and Divergent, even though they all fall into this "dystopian" category. What makes The Declaration so different is mainly its characters, particularly the main two.
The main character, Anna, is only fourteen, which is quite different for young adult. Ordinarily, you'll have a sixteen-eighteen year old character, full of angst and the desire to rebel. But the main character in this book is a fourteen year old girl, who is completely and utterly devoted to the rules and the authorities, even though they tell her that she is worth nothing, and an abomination on the earth. She does not want to rebel; she wants to continue her vigorous training at Grange Hall, and become a Valuable Asset. I found this really, really different and clever and right from the start I thought that this book would be a good one.
The second thing that makes this book so good is the world building. When you think world building, you think Harry Potter. You think of this massive map of the setting, with character and event annotations, a big, detailed diagram. Well, I do, anyways. And this book nails world building. I have this huge image of Grange Hall, and the world where it's set in. I think the ways that Surpluses, Legals and the whole Declaration were incorporated were fantastic. I am completely and utterly in awe of Gemma Malley, because I feel like in any other book, trying to put in all these different things into one book, it would be either super confusing, info dumping, or a really long book. I think this is one of the main reasons why this is now one of my favourite books; the fact that there is such a good world built so quickly that it engulfs you completely and makes you feel like this world is real.
Anna: I actually really liked Anna as a character, and to be honest, I'm not sure why. In theory, I should have been suspicious and distrusting of her from the start, but I wasn't. Maybe I was empathizing with her, maybe I saw that she just needed to come round, I don't know but I did like her character. I thought that maybe she could have been a little more outspoken as the series sent on, a little more self-confident and such, but I guess after being held in Grange Hall, confidence and outspokenness might be hard to regain.
Peter: Peter. Sighs. I really liked Peter in this book, it's probably my favourite book for Peter's character. He was steely and strong and I had to keep reminding myself that he is only fourteen in this book. He was also super-confident in what he believed, without a doubt sort of trust in his morals. He knew what he relied on and he stuck to it. However strong and confident he was, he was still clumsily in love. an awkward teenager. I use clumsily because I feel like it's the best word to describe their relationship, and I mean this completely in a good way. They're fourteen, they are young and awkward. And yet very, very adorable.
Favourite/Least Favourite Scenes
Favourite: To be perfectly honest, going back to my previous point about Anna/Peter relationship, my favourite scenes were when they were in Solitary together, where she was just starting to see things how they should be seen, where she was just starting to believe and trust Peter. I think relationships in books don't focus on "love" a lot, whether the words "I love you" are exchanged or not. I remember reading the scene where Peter first kisses Anna and sending a message to all my friends saying that this scene was what love and relationships in books should be like. I remember wondering whether I was portraying the relationships in my books like this. So that's why these scenes are my favourite.
Least Favourite: This is probably super-predictable, but when her parents were killed. It was just really sad that after everything that they'd done to make sure she was safe and coming back, it all seemed sort of pointless (even though it really wasn't.) Of course, it was beautifully written and for a purpose and everything else, but it was just sad.
So, share your thoughts on The Declaration below in the comments or on twitter (@lilypherondale or @awordisanarrow) and I will reply and we can discuss it together! Also, if you're leaving a comment, be sure to leave your twitter/instagram name and I will follow/shout you out :)
And just some extra exciting news, on my personal twitter, @lilypherondale, the author of this book, Gemma Malley, followed me and retweeted my tweet! I was ecstatic because I am in awe of her work and I think she is an incredible author. Thank you so much!
Anyways, till next time,