Today I’m on tour for Shannon Stoker’s The Registry, a novel set in a futuristic world where a woman’s only worth is her bride-price.
About Shannon Stoker:
Shannon Stoker is a licensed attorney who works for Northern Illinois University, assisting students and staff with research integrity. The Registry is her first novel. Shannon lives in De-Kalb, Illinois, with her husband and small dog.
About The Registry:
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.
I’ve loved dystopian fiction – especially dystopian fiction set around the roles of women and girls – ever since I read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, so I had high expectations for The Registry and its premise of girl brides and boy soldiers…
The story itself was well-done, and Stoker’s world has its marked differences between the haves and the have-nots, with the Morrisseys’ opulence contrasting with their field workers’ stark quarters. The haves, of course, built their fortunes off the war, or off their daughter’s bride-price. I liked how Stoker defines what’s valuable and what’s not – looks and obedience vs. brains and opinions. I also liked that even the girls who aren’t ranked highly enough to fetch a husband, still believed in the system – never mind that it’s grossly unfair.
Not that I would want that life, mind you, but it’s the consistency of how little girls are valued. They’re there to be pretty, to listen quietly, and to provide girl babies. Everything else is irrelevant, and if a wife doesn’t fulfill the third, so is she. What about boys, you ask? Boy babies are left for the government to rear, and then sent off to war. What war, we don’t know. Only that nobody wants boys. (I could go on and on about how that‘s going to turn out, but I won’t…)
So really, this is a world that doesn’t really value its children at all. They should have a talk with Lauren deStefano’s Rhine Ellery (Wither), or Dan Wells’ Kira (Partials), who’ll tell you how much they’d like to switch (with some changes, of course)… But I digress.
The Registry‘s world is well-built, but its voice is stilted and stiff. Mia really really wants to run, but she doesn’t know anything about anything outside of her family’s farm. Luckily for her, she has a friend willing to take the risk with her, and they find a boy who’s willing to help them. I never did understand that, by the way – it would’ve been easy for Andrew to disappear instead of getting caught up in the girls’ schemes. I’m also amazed that Mia managed to get as far as she did, as naive and unprepared as she was.
And her betrothed – can we get a more evil, sadistic, monster for this role? Really? It would’ve been more of a stark contrast, I think, if Grant was normal. Normal for that society, that is. As it is, it’s really easy to root for Mia, because you wouldn’t want a fly to get caught in his trap. And how does he get away with it? Money accounts for a lot, sure, but there’s still got to be a line somewhere, right? Or maybe not.
Anyway. I liked the premise of The Registry, but it could’ve been told better. If you pick it up and have a different opinion, feel free to comment, or link to your review!
drey’s rating: Ok
Have you read The Registry? What did you think? And if you haven’t, read on to win your own copy!
Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours, I have one paperback copy of The Registry for you. This one’s open to US & Canada residents. To enter, fill out the form below before July 23rd. Good luck!