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The Registry by Shannon Stoker
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Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Very unique dystopian that had some major flaws, but overall was a good read.

Opening Sentence: Pretty. Beautiful. Stunning.

The Review:

Mia Morrissey is a beautiful young women that can’t wait for the day when she will be married to the man of her dreams. Mia lives in a society where girls are born and raised to be good wives. When they turn eighteen they are tested and given a ranking depending on how beautiful and smart they are. Once they have their ranking they are put up for auction to eligible men who have paid their dues to their country and are ready to settle down. Whoever bids the highest wins the girls hand in marriage. Mia has spent her whole life looking forward to her auction year and it has finally arrived, but just before she goes for sale her older sister returns home with a dire message about the registry. It turns out that not everything is quite as wonderful as Mia was raised to believe.

Now Mia realizes that her dreams of marriage and living happily ever after are all just a dream. Instead of dutifully committing to the auction she plans to escape to Mexico where she can choose a life of her own. She convinces her best friend to join her and cons the farm hand to take them on their journey across America in hopes of getting to Mexico before they are caught. Mia is perused by not only the government, but the ruthless man that purchased her at the auction. Will she make it to the safety of Mexico or will she be caught before she has a chance. What will the consequences of her actions be and who will pay the price of her wanting her freedom more than anything else?

Mia was a very interesting character to meet and unfortunately she wasn’t very believable to me. She grew up in this extremely sheltered life and yes her little bubble was popped recently by a good dose of reality, but she went from being a naïve innocent girl to a rock hard person that felt very little guilt over anything. I just had a hard time excepting the fact that dead bodies and using other people to get what she wants wouldn’t bother her in the least bit. I felt that her friend Whitney was way more realistic and I honestly thought she was also much easier to connect with as a character. It’s not that I didn’t like Mia because she was a fine character, I just didn’t love her like I wanted too.

Andrew on the other hand was done perfectly. Like most boys in society his upbringing was very hard. You learn to survive real quick when you don’t have a choice and Andrew is definitely a survivor! But even though he’s had a rough life it hasn’t turned him into a terrible uncaring person like many others. He still has a good heart and even though he puts up a cold front he actually is a very sweet guy. He feels a need to protect the girls and he does everything in his power to make sure they are safe from any harm. His relationship with Mia was very frustrating at times but they had really great chemistry. There is another potential love interest that I’m not going to talk about because he shows up at the end of the book, so I don’t really want to spoil anything, but I am definitely team Andrew.

Grant Marsden is the rich man that won the bid for Mia’s hand in marriage. He is also the villain of the story and what a villain he is. I have read very few books where someone is so evil to the core. There is not a good bone in his body and he enjoys hurting others. He actually was glad that Mia decided to run away because there is nothing he loves more than a good challenge. He totally and completely creeped me out, which is a great sign of a wonderful villain. I usually like more redeemable villains but Grant worked really well with the story.

The Registry is so different from anything else I have ever read. The idea that having a girl baby is much more desired to having a boy baby is very unique. Throughout history you always hear about everyone wanting to produce a male heir so the fact that the tables were turned was really fascinating to me. This dystopian world was very brutal and rather heartbreaking. America has become a male dominated country and women have become their property. While I did love the idea of the story, I was a little disappointed with the delivery of it. First off, this is a very fast paced novel that never has a dull moment but the whole thing felt rushed to me. Including all the individual elements like the romance and the action, it all felt rushed to me. It made it really hard to fully connect with the story because you didn’t have time to let things sink in. The next thing that disappointed me was that I was expecting a NA book and even though the characters are technically adults, it still read like a young adult book. This is fine, I was just hoping for a little bit more mature characters. Even though this story wasn’t perfect, I still really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the rest of the series. I would recommend this to anyone that is looking for a fast paced dystopian novel.

Notable Scene:

“This is a closed-off area, sir.” One of the RAG agents started toward him. He was a slim, dark man about Grant’s age, maybe a year or two younger.

“I hear so far there are two girls missing. They both cut off their hair and stole a car. I take it you put out an alert for the model? Any hits?” Grant asked.

The slim agent reached Grant and placed his hand on Grant’s chest, attempting to push him back behind the tape. Grant reacted with lightning speed and twisted the young agent’s arm till he heard a pop. With his other hand he reached under the agent’s jacket, pulled out his firearm, and pointed it at the second agent. The first yelped in pain and Grant released him. The agent fell to the ground, choking back screams. Grant lowered his weapon and let out a laugh.

“It’s been so long. I really missed this,” Grant said with true happiness. He signaled to the RAG agent still standing. “So any hits on the car?”

FTC Advisory: William Morrow/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of The Registry. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Jan 13, 2015 |
I was really excited to start this series, and this book did not disappoint.

I love the world Stoker builds. I really enjoy reading books that I feel could possibly happen some day; this book was one of them.

The basic background on the book is the USA entered The Great War and thus began a military draft again. All young men were forced to enlist and go fight the war. The US won and once the men came home they discovered that the majority of America's population was wiped out. Women were now a rarity. The Registry was created in an effort to protect the women. Men could purchase a wife from the registry and it was then his responsibility to protect her.

When I imagine The Registry pages on the internet, I kind of visualize a Facebook page or a dating page. Men are able to browse pages and choose a wife. The government puts a price on all the women once they reach 18 and complete the test.

The book follows Mia, a girl who recently turned 18 and whose page has just been put up on the Registry. Mia turns against everything she has been taught growing up when she finds out a secret from her older sister. She then joins up with her friend Whitney and goes on the run to reach Mexico, and freedom. I don't want to give any spoilers away, so I will leave it at that.

One last thing I will say is I could not stand Carter! I hated how he would not stop calling Mia princess. I just wanted to slap him!

So to end, I give this book 4 stars. I loved the concept of the new America, and it's not so far fetched that this couldn't happen someday (be it in America or some other country). I really enjoyed reading this book and can't wait to read the 2nd in the series. ( )
  ConstanceMcCauley | Feb 25, 2014 |
Title: The Registry
Author: Shannon Stoker
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Source: Edelweiss DRC
Genre(s): YA Fiction, YA Science Fiction (sorta), YA Romance (sorta), YA Dystopia, possibly New Adult Fiction, Dystopian Future, Arraigned Marriage

Rating: ★★★☆☆ for the world building, ★★☆☆☆ for the execution
Review Spoilers: Low

All right, so, this is the first book I’ve ever given a split review for here on Nerdophiles. I might think that I should on some other books, but this one truly deserves it. When I first heard about the Registry, I was actually pretty interested in it. I have no idea why. I’m a sucker for girl marriage shit. After how much I liked the Selection (I still need to read the second book in the series) I’m drawn to others in a similar vein. I was disappointed by the second book in the Matched series, but I had hope that the last book will redeem it. I had hoped the Registry would be a great new addition to the general genre.

And it sort of was.

I think that the world building the author tried to do was really great. In the Registry, daughters are valued above all else. After a cataclysmic event following one of America’s great wars (the background of which could have used some work), the female population deteriorated drastically. Women became a comodity and the Registry was established to match men with the very limited number of women. America went on to fight wars, enforce a mandatory male draft, and find other outlets for its excess of men. But ultimately, the Registry became a means of securing companionship for those who could pay the most. Male children were abandoned to the state, where they went unloved, uneducated, and were encouraged to live as menial day workers from the age of thirteen until they joined the military at eighteen and afterward were free to make their own way in the world. Only daughters were seen as worth the money to raise – they were a solid investment.

Most of that actually sounds like you could do a lot with it. I liked the prospect – even if it is a bit unrealistic. I can see a lot of the inspiration for the story coming from all the doomsday predictions about China with its every shrinking female population. Unfortunately, I just didn’t really get into the whole execution of the book.

The beginning actually starts out pretty good. You’re introduced to the main character, Mia Morrissey, who is the daughter of a wealthy land owner. She’s absolutely gorgeous and the last of four daughters. She’s worth a fortune and her entire life she – like all girls – have been raised to look forward to being a wife, having daughters of her own, and having a husband to please. Unfortunately, it’s all an illusion. Her sister comes home one day after running away from her husband after he beat her and threw out their male child. And within a week she’s dead – either by his hand or by suicide, though Mia feels he murdered her. The whole illusion of the Registry and perfect husbands is gone and Mia turns from the obedient, perfect daughter to a rebellious teenager trying to find a way out. Except there really isn’t any way out.

Enlisting her friend Whitney, a servant girl who is far too smart for her own good, who will spend the rest of her adult life not as a wife, but as a government slave, they blackmail a boy named Andrew, who wants nothing more to just do his service and finally be able to make a life for himself. She ruins basically everyone’s lives by deciding to run away. She is pursued by her soon-to-be-husband Grant Marsden, a villianous man who is an absolute psychopath with no reason for it explained at all. I think that’s one of the greatest downfalls of this series. No one gets much character development in the end. The book switches from the point of view of Mia, Andrew, and Grant. But for whatever reason they are all just very plain, ordinary characters. Mia’s transformation is bland and cookie cutter. Andrew’s own shift, from waiting to do his service and doing what’s right to apparently falling for Mia (or something) isn’t really explained at all. And Grant just runs around killing people and torturing people for no real reason at all. Or, if he has one, we never know about it. He’s just evil, because he’s a man basically.

I don’t know. I just really liked the idea behind this book. And I felt pretty disappointed in the way it turned out.

That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad book. It will be a great book for teenagers, who want something quick and exciting to read. You don’t have to put a lot of effort into getting through this one. (Well, unless you get too disappointed and have to quit reading it.) It’s not something I would buy, but something I would have no regrets checking out from the local library. I might pass on the sequel, too, which comes out next year. I don’t know yet. We’ll just have to wait and see.

So, basically, the concept behind this book gets a ‘good’ and the book itself is just ‘okay.’ ( )
  samaside | Sep 29, 2013 |
The Registry is set in a dystopian America. The internet is filled with American propaganda. The boys are largely thrown out by their parents and forced to fend on their own. Girls are raised by their parents and are little more than commodities. On their 18th birthday, girls are placed on something called the registry and they are sold to the highest bidder. Boys and girls are raised to believe that this system is for their own benefit and will lead to the best versions of themselves. Girls in particular are raised to be obedient and to believe that their soul job in life is to please their husbands and in return, their husbands will cherish them and lavish them with attention.

Mia Morrissey believes this until her older sister escapes from her abusive husband and tells her that the registry and the marriages that result are a sham. Corinna tells her about a magazine article that she has hidden in her former room, before she is dragged away by her husband as their parents stand idly by. When they get news the following week that Corinna is dead, Mia determines that she will lead a different life. With the help of her friend Whitney who's price is so low she will probably end up being married to the government, and a young boy named Andrew who she blackmails into helping them, Mia makes her bid for freedom. What she does not count on is that Grant, the man her parents sold her to, will do anything to get his hands on her and harm anyone who comes to her aid.

From the very beginning of the book, it really felt like a sort of like a modernized version of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Attwood. The Registry was justified by a war that the U.S. had engaged in and supposedly won. Though at this point it has only be 100 years since this system was instigated, society has largely accepted the reduction of women to property. Once a girl marries she never sees her family again. Even if parents decide not to put their daughters on the registry, government agents drag them out of the house by force.

For me The Registry got off to a very slow start. Part of the problem was that I didn't like Mia the protagonist at first. Her naivete was irritating but as I came to realise just how isolated her lived experience had been prior to her escape, it made perfect sense. Once I accepted this fact, I found it easier to settle into the world Stoker had created. I was however not happy with the super special protagonist that Mia represented. Was it necessary to turn her into an absolute beauty, who all straight men universally desired to make her story interesting? The horror that the registry exists at all would have been more than compelling enough to make this story work. I think it detracted from the story to have it all be about the special Mia and her bride price.

One of the things I liked about this book, is that it included a GLBT couple. Far too often in dystopian fantasy, the GLBT community is soundly erased to promote the narrative of straight, White, cisgender able bodied men saving the world. In the world of The Registry, two men are able to marry for love and it is considered completely normal. Alex and Frank clearly love each other and they are the first and only representation of a romantic, loving solid relationship that Mia comes across. The moment I saw this, I must admit that Stoker completely drew me in. In a world in which gender roles are strictly defined, it was however unfortunate to see Stoker continue that line of thinking into the characters of Alex and Frank. Two men in a relationship, are still two men and they don't fall neatly into a top and a bottom.

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  FangsfortheFantasy | Sep 20, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The premise sounded intriguing and different. And it might have worked better for me if it had been some alternate reality America. Instead, it’s a completely unbelievable future where America goes back to the dark ages – treating women as property. And boys are thrown away as orphans until they can prove themselves as soldiers. But setting aside disbelief, the dystopian world is dark and exciting. Mia may not be well educated, but she’s smart enough to listen to her sister’s warning and flee from a life of servitude. While Mia’s friend is very educated - enough to rank low on the registry, but is flighty and isn’t streetwise. The two are joined by an unwilling farmhand who is initially annoyed by the girls and their naivety, but still has a good heart and helps them cross America to their eventual destination in Mexico.

The Registry is a suspenseful dystopian adventure. The feminist issues add an emotional response that otherwise wouldn’t exist because of the lack of depth of the main characters. With plenty of teen angst, romance, and an evil, sociopathic antagonist – this debut is exciting and engaging, despite its flaws. ( )
  scifichick | Aug 15, 2013 |
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Welcome to a safe and secure new world, where beauty is bought and sold, and freedom is the ultimate crime. 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 to fight and never question orders. Nearly eighteen, beautiful Mia Morrissey excitedly awaits the beginning of her auction year. But a warning from her married older sister raises dangerous questions. 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.… (more)

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