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A Reader of Fictions: Children of God from Jane Eyre: The Musical

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Children of God from Jane Eyre: The Musical

The Declaration
The Declaration, Book 1

Author: Gemma Malley
Pages: 301
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Brief Summary:
Anna is a Surplus, a burden on the resources of the world. She knows her place, knows that she does not even deserve to live. Her selfish parents gave birth to her even though they did not opt out of Longevity, the drug that stops the internal physical process of aging. The Catchers found her when she was two and, since then, she has been at Grange Hall, learning how to be a Valuable Asset, a servant for Legals. Anna is the best Surplus. Then a new Pending (an older kid) arrives at Grange Hall and keeps trying to fill Anna's mind with crazy thoughts: that she is loved and that she has a last name, Covey.

This book is like a combination of Unwind, The Postmortal and Among the Hidden, although the last one was the only one actually published when The Declaration came out in 2007. Set in 2140, most people live forever, because of the miracle drug longevity. Unfortunately, this drug does not halt the aging process of the skin, meaning that wrinkles and sagging are still a serious problem. Basically, in this future, plastic surgery is de rigeur. Of course, there's the mysterious new Longevity+ which apparently keeps the skin young too.

Like in Among the Hidden, people are forbidden from having kids, although here most people aren't even allowed one, whereas in Among the Hidden families could have two. The governments feared over population with everyone living indefinitely. Thus, only if the parents opt out of taking the drug will they be allowed to reproduce.

What I wonder though is why the rules are quite that strict. Here's the thing. I agree that over-population is a definite concern, but it's not like most people are actually going to live forever. At one point, Malley mentions that crime has essentially been eradicated, because, apparently, it's not worthwhile if you're going to live forever. Really, that seems like bullshit to me. There would still be murder and there would still be accidents. People would be dying off, obviously at a very reduced rate, but there's still no need to institute a "life for a life" policy.

I still haven't really warmed up to Anna, although she definitely improved as the book moved along. At the outset, she was insufferable, with her complete belief in her own worthlessness and her desire to be the best slave ever. Ugh! Plus, as the prefect at Grange Hall, she helped make the already awful lives of other Surpluses even worse. Not exactly a heroine.

Still, I am definitely going to read the next book, as I am curious to find out what will happen next.

Rating: 3/5

"Girls, don't slouch, keep in line
Or my nerves will snap
Do not whisper or breathe
Or I'll show you the strap"

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Blogger Bibliosaurus Text said...

You mentioned The Postmortal in your review, so I'm wondering what you think of the scenarios of the two books compared to each other?

February 12, 2012 at 12:46 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

On some levels, the scenarios are pretty similar. The main difference, of course, is the addition of the other scenarios from the other dystopias (although this phrasing is misleading, since The Declaration came first).

Actually, the thing I found most intriguing in comparing the two novels was the fact that in The Postmortal it was a perfect cure for aging, whereas in The Declaration, only the physical aging process was stopped. People continue to look whatever age they were when they began taking the pills, but gravity still affects them. So, theoretically, someone could look twenty-five but have the saggy breasts, butt and jowls of a 90 year old.

Also, since the cure in The Declaration is pill-based and must be taken constantly, the pharmaceutical companies essentially can take over the world. Two most important things in this world: Longevity and birth control.

February 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM  

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