Posts Tagged ‘Gemma Malley’

The Legacy

Gemma Malley
the legacyWhen a Pincent Pharmaceutical van is ambushed by the rebel group known as the Underground, its contents come as a huge surprise – not drugs, but corpses in a horrible state.
It appears that the pharmaceutical company’s top drug, Longevity – which is supposed to eradicate disease and ensure eternal life – isn’t living up to its promises. Now a virus is sweeping the country, killing hundreds in its wake, and Longevity is powerless to fight it.
But when the unscrupulous head of Pincent claims that the Underground is responsible for releasing the virus, it’s up to Peter, Anna, and their friends to alert the world to the terrifying truth behind Longevity before it’s too late.

Contains spoilers for earlier books in the trilogy.

The Declaration Trilogy reaches its conclusion in this book. Peter and Anna are in hiding with their daughter Molly and Anna’s little brother Ben. Jude and Pip are still working in London, with the Underground, to bring down Richard Pincent and Pincent Pharma and Peter is itching to get back in the fight. Out in the world there are people dying and Richard is being told by his scientists that there is now a virus that Longevity cannot fight. Richard becomes convinced he needs the original formula for Longevity that Albert Fern (its inventor) withheld from him.

As the death toll rises and people begin to suspect that all is not well Richard turns them against the Underground, the surplus children and the opt outs. Children begin disappearing from Surplus Halls, Peter and Anna are tracked down. Richard wants to discover what is so special about the ‘circle of life’. Eventually, through a thrilling sequence and a couple of great twists and turns things come together for a clever climax.

Yet again this was a story I couldn’t put down. I enjoyed the way the writing moved between the different groups of people and had some cameo’s from old friends from previous books. I also liked the prologue at the beginning giving us insight into how the drug had come to be developed, what had happened to Albert Fern and how Richard Pincent had wormed his way into this position at the head of the most powerful corporation on earth.

The ethical and moral questions keep coming and the questions continue to get you thinking. It all still feels very plausible as it is rooted in the reactions of people, fear of death, fear of living forever, the choices we make and their impact on our environment, the distribution of precious resources and the kind of world we want to leave for future generations. I particularly liked the little hint at the end that this could happen all over again, after all humans are well known for not learning from history and repeating their mistakes. It made you feel a little chill at how easily we could fall into a world just like this one.

Verdict: So this is a great conclusion to a brilliant series, highly recommended!

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Publication Date: November 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
Posted on:

The Resistance

Gemma Malley

the resistanceThe year is 2140. Having escaped the horrors of Grange Hall, Peter and Anna are living freely on the Outside, trying hard to lead normal lives, but unable to leave the terror of the Declaration—and their experiences as surpluses—completely behind them. Peter is determined to infiltrate Pharma Corporation, which claims to have a new drug in the works; “Longevity+” will not just stop the ravages of old age, it is rumored to reverse the aging process. But what Peter and Anna discover behind the walls of Pharma is so nightmarish it makes the prison of their childhood seem like a sanctuary: for in order to supply Pharma with the building blocks for Longevity+, scientists will need to harvest it from the young. Shocking, controversial, and frighteningly topical, this sequel to Gemma Malley’s stellar debut novel, The Declaration, will take the conversation about ethics and science to the next level.

Please note that this is the second book in Gemma Malley’s The Declaration trilogy and as such may contain spoilers for the first book.

The story continues from not long after the point where we left it in The Declaration (read my review here). Peter and Anna are living legally on the outside, trying to cope with their new life and looking after little Ben, Anna’s brother. Anna is enjoying being a mother to Ben but is struggling with living in the world so different from the Surplus Hall. Both she and Peter feel alien from this society and Anna particularly feels the stares of those who disapprove of her youth and her status. Neither Anna nor Peter have signed the declaration and neither want to take the wonder drug Longevity that will keep them alive for ever, but at the expense of not being able to have children and create new life. As they are refusing the drug and because of their background a close eye is being kept on them by the authorities.

Unsurprisingly, after all their experiences, Peter and Anna want to help the resistance movement in its fight against Longevity and its producer Pincent Pharma, Peter’s Grandfather’s company. Peter agrees to go and work for the company to feed information back to the Resistance, but he finds this a difficult task as his Grandfather starts to pressurise and then manipulate Peter to get what he wants, which is for Peter to sign up to the Declaration. For the reader though, the insight into Pincent Pharma and the whole operation is interesting, as well as watching the development of Peter’s relationship with his Grandfather, Pincent himself

Meanwhile Anna is also being manipulated , for the same reason, and to try and catch her out, getting her into trouble. Anna still has much of the naivety and innocence from her life shut way and inexperience of the real world. Anna is desperate to do her bit to help and her desire to help other children who have been abandoned by their parents, or taken from their parents, causes problems. As this novel is told from Peter’s voice I did miss Anna’s voice from the first book. Peter has a fresh perspective though that adds a new dimension.

I enjoyed the development of Peter and Anna’s relationship. It was so easy to see how they have become like a normal couple with arguments, insecurities and ups and downs and yet they are a couple like no other in the world that they live in. The pressure and insecurities this brings really tests them.

There are new characters too from the Resistance and other places. Peter and Anna have to work out where to put their trust. One of the most interesting new characters is Jude who has another unique perspective as he is Peter’s age but having been a legal all his life. He is a computer whizz kid, but his life shows us how the worlds resources have been stretched by immortality. On top of that he is Peter’s half-brother and takes us deeper into the back story.

The on-going story continues to provoke, raising issues about our desire to live longer, the price we pay for immortality, the cost to the world as we use our resources carelessly and so on. In particular it made me think about our priorities as we encourage everyone to work more and not necessarily be at home with children and families. This really made me feel that the right to be a mother is precious and not to be taken for granted.

Verdict: This is a brilliant follow on from The Declaration and is another gripping and challenging read.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: November 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 323
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
Posted on:

The Declaration

Gemma Malley
the declarationSixteen-year-old Anna should not have been born. It is the year 2140 and people can live for ever. No one wants another mouth to feed, so she lives in a Surplus Hall, where unwanted children go to learn valuable lessons . . . at least she wasn’t put down at birth.
One day, a new inmate arrives. Anna’s life is thrown into chaos. He says things about her parents and the Outside that couldn’t possibly be true . . . Or could they?

The concept for this series, for this is the first in a trilogy of books, is brilliant. Set in 2140, a drug called Longevity has been invented that allows people to live for ever. As a result the population of earth has to be controlled. If you choose to take Longevity you may not have children, you sign a Declaration to promise this. You can opt out, but why would you? Opt outs are seen as very peculiar and despised by society. Children have become something found in the history books. However there are people who break the rules. But if you are caught the consequences are devastating. Your child will be taken away and put in a Surplus Hall, for that is what children have become, surplus. In a society where waste is now the ultimate crime children are a drain on precious resources and very definitely surplus to requirements. But there are parents who want their children back.

Anna has been in a Surplus Hall for about as long as she can remember. She has been taught, in this brutal place, that she must pay for her existence. She shouldn’t be here and to make up for it she must learn to be useful so she can eventually serve the people who are allowed to be here (legals). Anna is a fantastic character. She is such an interesting mixture, she has plenty of fear of her environment, the Outside and doing things differently to the safety that she knows. But she is also brave looking after weaker people when she can. She has a rebellious streak hidden away that comes out in the form of her writing a diary. This is forbidden, a Surplus doesn’t need personal possessions for a start, let alone the opportunity to think for themselves! But she has been well taught, she knows her place and wants to keep her head down and be as useful as she can be.

When Peter arrives at the Surplus Hall he frightens and excites Anna with stories about the Outside, and about her parents. Peter says they love her, want her and want to rescue her. Anna has been taught for so long that her parents were bad people who had children when they should not and have left her to pay for it that she is quite bewildered by Peter’s assertions. She is also worried that Peter is going to upset her plans to be useful and get out of the surplus hall to be a housekeeper. At the same time she can’t understand how Peter keeps telling her and the other Surpluses things about the Outside and yet doesn’t seem to care about his punishments. Punishments at the Surplus Halls are brutal. She begins to ask questions. Even scarier are the feelings she begins to develop for Peter, as he tries to encourage her to escape she begins to believe that it might just be possible.

Peter tells Anna that there are people who don’t agree with Longevity, who believe children are precious and the cycle of life should be preserved. But with people scared to defy the Government and afraid to lose their Longevity drugs if they make their escape they will be on the run, they won’t know who they can trust until they make it back to Anna’s parents.

Verdict: I loved all the issues this story raises. It feels like this is a situation that isn’t too big a step away from our society, always searching for eternal youth. Without being in your face it reflects on our propensity for waste and what we might be heading for if we don’t do something about it. But most of all it really makes you think, do we really want to live forever?

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children
Publication Date: December 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
Posted on: