THE REGISTRY by Shannon Stoker
Author: Shannon Stoker
Rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Recommended Reading: AGE 16+
Received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Contains no spoilers [divider top=”0″]
OVERALL THOUGHTS: As a reviewer I check to see what the consensus is on a book, not before I read it, but after. I don’t want other reviews to cloud my judgment and I don’t always peek at my peers words even after because I want my thoughts to be organic. However, this one had me searching out what others were saying because I could see how some would love it, while others might not, and boy was I right. I found the story interesting and the oppressive world both vivid and interesting, which many of the naysayers found distracting and one-dimensional. But the biggest dispute is over the genre this book falls under and it was instantly clear that this was young adult… not new adult, not adult, but YA through and through.
[note color=”#e2e2e9″]SYNOPSIS: The Registry saved the country from collapse. But stability has come at a price. In this patriotic new America, girls are raised to be brides, sold at auction to the highest bidder. Boys are raised to be soldiers, trained by the state to fight to their death.
Nearly eighteen, beautiful Mia Morrissey excitedly awaits the beginning of her auction year. But a warning from her married older sister raises dangerous thoughts. Now, instead of going up on the block, Mia is going to escape to Mexico—and the promise of freedom.
All Mia wants is to control her own destiny—a brave and daring choice that will transform her into an enemy of the state, pursued by powerful government agents, ruthless bounty hunters, and a cunning man determined to own her . . . a man who will stop at nothing to get her back.
THE LOWDOWN: I love dystopian action with worlds that are so far out of the normal reach of believability that you wander into another life and The Registry did not disappoint. When I mentioned some of the reviewers ambivalence with this book, most of it was related to the intended age of the reader and the believability of the story. Although the idea that the world will one day be so harsh, with men thrown out like trash because they have no monetary value and girls, barely 18, being auctioned off like cattle, it is understandably a little hard to swallow, but we watch Star Wars without the need to question red faced Siths or slug gangsters. And without these far out concepts, books would be trite and unimaginative, so I am always willing to suspend disbelief. This story paints a very stark future, where humanity is nearly gone, replaced by greed, violence against women and male dominance and the author does a very good job of filling in the questionable blanks and making it just believable enough.
I loved the pacing and from the first page I was sucked in. Opening with a woman escaping her husband in order to warn her sister away from her appending entry into the marriage Registry. The warning is met with death and the girl who wanted nothing more in life than to become a bride spends the proceeding pages fighting tooth and nail to become anything but. The story has a perfect balance of action, emotion and historical background. I didn’t feel like I was drowning in drawn out back story and each chapter moved the story farther into the dark world. It did leave on a cliffhanger and I was slightly disappointed in that, but I am curious about where this tale will take me.
What I loved about this story was the evil antagonist who was a complete sadist, hell-bent on the hunt. He was crafted to be charismatic but utterly deplorable, with a penchant for setting vicious examples of those who oppose his views. A character I truly loved to hate. I also loved the brooding and patriotic love interest. I liked that he wasn’t instantly attracted the girl and as he learns to understand his feelings for Mia the protagonist, we learn to love with him. Unfortunately, the path to realization was so long that it lost its impact and I didn’t care that he loved her as much as I should have.
Another problem and possibly the largest, was I was never pushed over the cliff into absolute infatuation. I didn’t long to find out where the story would lead, like I said, I was curious, but I didn’t close the book yearning for more. Perhaps what I was given was simply enough and as a result, I haven’t added the second book to my must read list. But maybe it was because the developing relationships with the two boys was lukewarm and under developed.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This would’ve have been better as a single installment with a solid ending because now I feel like the rest will just be a lot of running with more romantic triangle back-and-forths and although I liked it in this book, one more, might be a little too much. But who knows, the second might knock it right out of the park.