Book Review: The Registry by Shannon StokerWednesday, June 12, 2013
#1 in Untitled series
Age: Young Adult
Format: Ebook, 336 pages
Published On: June 11, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
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First Sentence: Pretty.
In the future girls are evaluated based on their looks, entered into The Registry and sold to the highest bidder. Population is brainwashed that this is a perfect order and girls are taught that their only purpose in life is to please their husbands. Young and very beautiful Mia finds out by accident that the things she was told all her life might not be true. Shaken and scared, Mia runs away with her best friend Whitney. While they are trying not get caught by government agents, Mia and Whitney encounter an array of characters that will help them to get to freedom aka. Mexico.
As soon as I read the summary I was immediately attracted to The Registry. In a dystopian setting it promised to cover some meaningful topics like: being judged based just on your looks and forced marriages. While I was not expecting The Registry to be as dramatic and emotional as A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, I still hoped that it will be better than other ya novels with similar topic (like Delirium or Matched) and that it will bring something new to this topic. Shannon Stoker may have tried to convey these messages but they were drowned for me with a multiple of problems.
World building was completely unbelievable. I could not believe that society in USA would degrade this much. This book would be much more believable if it was set in some secluded country with traditional culture. Also, there is no technological advance whatsoever, although it's set 150 years in the future. It is mentioned that government only allows her agents to use new technologies, but only things I noticed high-profile government agents were using helicopters and tablets that can do voice recordings.
Although, The Registry is advertised as new adult, it's so ya even some chapter narrated by 28-year-old villain didn't make it more mature. Characters should be 18 years old, but because they are ignorant of the world most of the time they feel much younger. Especially Mia, who tries to convinces us how she's not all looks and how she is smart. All I could see was a spoiled brat who run away from home just because she found out she's not going to get her way. And she dragged her perfectly content friend along, so she won't be alone. On her travel, Mia uses everyone to advance and leaves them without much regret. And her cause is not very noble, she does not try to change anything, she just tries to save her ass.
There is slow developing love story who seemed like the only good feature for recommending The Registry. That is, until some random handsome dude appeared on 80% and kissed Mia and she decided - why shouldn't she have fun. Seriously, only thing that this book was missing was love triangle to add to the pile of this I do not like.
In The End...
With too many holes in world building and not enough technological advancement to make me believe this is happening in the future, The Registry failed my dystopian test. I never believed for a moment something like this would happen in USA. Add to the mix immature selfish heroine, love triangle romance and it turns out the only original and interesting thing in a book is a main villain with a quirky sense of fashion.
The Registry may appeal to a younger audience who is only now getting into dystopian genre and who are not demanding when world building is in question, but more mature dystopian fans should probably look for something else.