By Gemma Malley
An interesting story set in a future time where overpopulation has depleted the world’s resources to the point of scarcity. Added to this is the invention of revolutionary drugs that act to prevent aging. To protect their ability to survive, the old have legislated against the rising birth-rate by banning children, except those very few allowed to be born under very strict controls. Children born outside the law are labeled ‘surpluses’ and are sent to draconian institutions to be trained as servants to atone for their illegal existence.
Anna is a Surplus, who, though well-brainwashed to know her place, nurtures a small amount of self-determination. When Peter arrives at Grange Hall, he brings with him disturbing news from the Outside and the hope that Anna’s real parents are still alive. Peter’s beliefs challenge everything that Anna believes. And Anna’s life is thrown into chaos.
Malley’s dystopian world is cruel and harsh, and the premise of the story is timely. A compelling and poignant story, with themes of death, aging, nature, and social and personal responsibility – a challenging read.