The Registry by Shannon Stoker
William Morrow - New Adult/Dystopian
Source: HarperCollins for review
What's it about:
In a futuristic United States, girls are sold to the highest bidder with the prettiest selling for the highest amount, basically to become breeding machines and decorative slaves. If they don't sell, they become government property and end up prisoners of a wide-spread government workforce. Boys, on the other hand, are unwanted and usually given away by their parents because they have no monetary value. Anyone who keeps a son is considered a bit bonkers. While females are kept by their parents and sold at a certain age, males are typically brought up by the government to a point, then left to fend for themselves until it's time for them to sign in for their military service. This futuristic, dystopian United States is at odds with much of the world and constantly at war.
Mia is beautiful and will sell for a high price when her 18th birthday arrives. Her three sisters have been sold and married. They were all very pretty and fetched good prices. But, Mia is special, unusually beautiful even within her family. When one of Mia's sisters briefly escapes from her brutal husband and points Mia to a foreign magazine article that explains what marriage is really like, Mia is skeptical. She's looked forward to becoming a bride all her life. Then, her sister dies and Mia is certain she was killed by her husband for disobedience. Mia decides to run. How will she survive in a country where it's illegal to seek your freedom?
What I liked about The Registry:
I liked the idea and I thought the book was going to be interesting, going into it. The stage was nicely set with Mia planning for her wedding, finding out the truth, trying to convince her best friend to go with her and engaging help from a young man who is just leaving to sign up for his military service. There are some interesting action moments and twists. But . . .
What I disliked about The Registry:
Unfortunately, the book is poorly written and executed. What began as a great idea (with recognizable shades of several other dystopian novels, yet still unique) quickly became plodding and repetitive. At one point, I read a sentence aloud to my husband to explain why I felt like I was going to have a hard time finding anything kind to say about the book. He said, "Oh, wow. Maybe you shouldn't review that one at all." It was that bad.
Having said that:
Not everyone is as picky as I am and I have a feeling there are plenty of people who will enjoy The Registry. In my case, it was one of those books that I finished because I kept hoping it would improve. I didn't know it was the first in a trilogy till I reached the end. I will not continue reading this series.
A note on New Adult:
The New Adult concept is supposed to be a category that bridges the ages between young adult and adult. Of course, we all know kids who were reading adult books in elementary school. I did and so did my children. I love the Young Adult concept because YA books took a lot of children who would have likely been in the non-reader category and gave them exciting new worlds to explore. The idea of creating a new category to ease those readers into adult reads makes sense to me because I know at least one reader who is stuck in a Young Adult reading world. She grew up reading fantasy and hasn't managed to stretch beyond that, even into adult fantasy. New Adult books are supposed to be edgier, sexier, more adult but not quite literature, from my understanding. I thought The Registry failed to live up to the concept -- not just the story idea itself but the whole category concept. It read like poorly-written Young Adult lit, to me.
The bottom line:
Not recommended - Great idea, poorly executed. I'm sure there are people who will enjoy The Registry and the rest of the series but I was disappointed and would not feel comfortable recommending it to my readers.
Boy was I surprised to find out the author got a 6-figure advance. I don't know what they were thinking. HarperCollins publishes a lot of excellent reading material but this one . . . it was just a dud, in my humble opinion.
In other news:
Last night was my F2F meeting and it was kind of chaotic so it's probably going to be difficult writing about We Need New Names and the reaction of my group, but I'll do my best . . . probably next week.
Don't forget I have a Dr. Who drawing going! You can sign up till the 30th. Then, the little fairies are going to jump into the internet and pull the plug on the sign-up. They do that, sometimes.
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