Review – The Registry
  • Posted:
  • July 22, 2013
The Registry
The Registry by debut author Shannon Stoker was one of those Golden Fleece/Holy Grail type of books. By that I mean that though I searched high and low for an early copy I couldn’t actually get one until I picked it up in its final purchaseable format. I was so excited for this book. The hype surrounding it made it seem incredible, and my anticipation only sweetened the expectation. This week I finally read it (on my honeymoon) thinking that it would be the perfect book to contrast my newfound marital bliss.
I was disappointed, to say the least. This book, at its best, is mediocre. And it hurts me to say that because I so looked forward to it.
In The Registry we are introduced to Mia Morrissey, a young woman disenchanted with her impending future. Following a great war America has bolstered itself up by funds from the Registry, a means of selling women as brides to the best and brightest men who had served in the military. Once a man has served the mandatory four years he can pursue whatever business ventures he chooses. He is also now eligible for marriage. Mia has been trained her whole life to be a bride just as all American women are, but her blissful experience is tainted by a bittersweet encounter with her older sister, Corinna. A few months ago Corinna returned home, fleeing her prestigious marriage to hide… and her parents turned her over to her husband. Before he untimely death a week later Corinna had passed along a foreign news article about the perils of the Registry to Mia along with the assertion that every word was true.  Mia has never been able to remove the doubt from her mind.
Now that her engagement looms, and an undesirable groom has assured his place, Mia has decided to run. She convinces her best friend, Whitney, a child of a servant on her father’s wealthy farmland, to run with her. Mia has been priced as one of the highest brides in her generation and Whitney has little prospects, being one of the lowest. Together the two take up with Andrew, a farm hand  on his way to his military stint who happened to leave earlier that same day that the girls decide to run. Mia’s destination – Mexico; a land free of the Registry and her creeping fiancée, Grant.
The Registry has its moments that are enjoyable. However, the same things that make it memorable are also, in tandem, it’s downfalls. I could tell that this was an untried, debut author. The writing is inexperienced and shoddy in places it needed to be sharp. I found myself loving, and simultaneously loathing, Stoker’s world building details. On the one hand she would raise a ton of interesting questions. And then she wouldn’t answer those questions, or her threads went nowhere and I grew very frustrated very quickly. It could be one of those things where all of those “what-if?” moments might be answered in a sequel (which is in the works). However, it was too much tease and not enough release. If that makes sense.
The second notable annoyance for me was the characters themselves. Everyone is an archetype and it doesn’t work for this story, where Stoker only seemed to care about the plot and no further development. Gone was any semblance of originality and depth for them. Mia is one-dimensional. She doesn’t grow, and she doesn’t change from the woman she was on page one to the woman she “became” by the end of the book. You would think with as much as this character has had to go through that she would have some credible life experience to back up her development. But alas, there was none. And I was aggrieved for this.
Gone also went any interest of mine in Andrew, Mia’s bad-tempered love interest. Andrew is sullen and unlikable. He’s morose and dull and frustrating. I couldn’t get why he would hold any interest in her other than the “oooh, shiny!” factor. Granted, he was a shade better than Mia’s fiancée, Grant (who epitomizes the evil mustache twirling, cape flinging, cartoon bad guy) but that’s not that high of a mountain to climb. Grant is a sociopath and Andrew is barely not. And their relationship holds no interest for me. Andneither does Grant’s persua to get Mia back at all costs.
Whitney was the best part of this book, alas. And she’s not supposed to be. And there’s also a very laughable love triangle thrown into the last quarter of the book that is unnecessary and only there to launch a problematic dynamic into book two, which I am not sure that I will be reading. This book felt like a bad action movie – all veneer and no soul. And I don’t know that I can be bothered by another one.
It’s been a bad week for books for me (the single exception being The Trap by Andrew Fukuda, which is bloody brilliant). I’m ready to have my mind blown again.
For The Registry 3 out of 5 stars. I’m so disappointed.
– BP
– Follow the Reader –

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