Review: The Registry by Shannon Stoker

The RegistryThe Registry by Shannon Stoker

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is probably one of the few books I’m not going to meditate over my rating for the book because I have a general idea of what I’m going to say about it, and it’s brief. “Heart-stopping” my foot – “The Registry” was not worth the time taken to read. It was a juvenile novel – had flat characterizations, misrepresented histories that had no sensible or palpable context, misogynistic and racist portrayals, formulaic instalove and a pointless love triangle debate, long stretches of boring narratives, insufferable, stupid, and utterly irredeemable protagonists, an antagonist who was so over the top that he seemed more like a caricature than anything else, and had little to nothing for me to cling to. I did push myself to read it to the end because I thought that at some point there would be more of a payoff, but unfortunately that point never came – it just grew more over the top and the explanations and situations became more ridiculous as it moved forward.

I could spend the rest of this review space talking to you about Mia, Andrew, and Whitney’s journey, but it’s difficult to muster the effort because they never really amount to much in the narrative other than some formulaic portrayals. The story itself revolves around a society where women are brainwashed and given to the highest bidder, but Mia sees one woman severely beaten by her husband and all of a sudden decides that she wants to go against the grain and flee for a new life where she can make her own choices on who to love and such. She goes with her friend Whitney, and the two dress up as boys and hijack Andrew in order for him to take them to Mexico, even considering they have no money or resources to make the trip. Andrew is a boy who seems helpful at first, but his anger issues lend to violent, cold tendencies which made him a completely different character in turns of the book – almost to the point where I couldn’t even begin to make head for tails of his motivations.

In the meantime, Grant – Mia’s newly minted husband as per a money trade with her father – goes on a wide-walking span to search for Mia and the group. He has a very twisted personality, to the point of being grandiose. While it was easy to see his motivations, I still couldn’t grasp his character very much because he was nothing more than just a puppet moving about the stage just like the other characters were. I couldn’t feel any investment towards them. At first I thought the overarching narrative for “The Registry” might’ve been a dark satire for dystopian novels in general, but there were too many things that the story was trying to sell for me to take seriously, and so the narrative failed on both humor AND plausibility.

I didn’t think this was a novel that did anything well in its portrayal and I was glad to be done with it. I understand, even at the point where it ended, that there will be a sequel, but I honestly can’t say how it would improve upon this novel at all. It really wasn’t worth the time taken and I wouldn’t recommend it.

Overall score: 0.5/5 stars

Note: I received this as an ARC from Edelweiss, from the publisher William Morrow/Harper Collins.

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