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The Registry

The Registry - Shannon Stoker THE REGISTRY piqued my attention for a number of reasons, mostly because it’s being published by William Morrow – an adult imprint of Harper Collins that also has gotten into the New Adult Market – and because it seemed like the perfect blend of THE HANDMAID’S TALE, MATCHED without the focus on romance, and even some of WITHER when it comes to male-dominated society. I thought that there would be something more adult about it, or at least something to set it aside from the young adult fiction entries that have clogged the market.Ladies and gentlemen, I must admit – I have no clue why THE REGISTRY is not being published by a YA publisher/imprint, except maybe because the man who buys her as his wife is 28. This book might be presented as New Adult, but it isn’t that, either. There is no sex, no coming of age, no college, nothing that you might find outside plain old young adult. And on top of this, THE REGISTRY falls victim to the same tropes that plague many young adult dystopian novels – too much emphasis on the silly and the romance at the expense of the actual plot.BUY YOUR WIVES ONLINEOur heroine Mia is described as the most gorgeous girl in all of what’s left of America, a country that by some unbelievable (really, it’s unbelievable, nonsensical, etc) explanation has reduced women to either be purchased brides for soldiers who have been exiled from their families at birth completed their service or sold off to the government to be slave laborers. Women are trained to be perfect little Stepford Wives, except when Mia’s sister flees her abusive husband and her parents send her back to be murdered, Mia finds her sister’s magazine clippings about how the world is screwed up. Then she decides she must flee, taking her incompetent ditzy less pretty best friend with her on the run. Oh, and then they blackmail the hot farmhand to help them. Except Mia’s already been sold off to the handsome and filthy stinking rich Grant who will murder and maim just to have the chance to kill her with his own bare hands for ruining his plans.THE REGISTRY falls short of its premise, which could have been a more adult version of some great plots that went south. Instead of rising to the occasion, it panders to the target audience which isn’t adults. This is a young adult novel through and through, from the characterization to the writing (which is nothing special) to the plot. THE REGISTRY brings nothing new to the table.A CASE STUDY IN ORDINARYOur protagonist Mia might be one of the blandest characters in recent memory. Her personality revolves around being pretty and suddenly, at the drop of a pin, deciding that everything she’s happily accepted in life is wrong based on one event that feasibly she shouldn’t have cared about. Her best friend Whitney isn’t much better, kept to little more than a plot device to be there and give Mia another reason to run and care. In fact, most of the characters seemed there just to fulfill a promise. Their emotions, their interactions, their entire being etc seemed little more than to get Mia, our dull heroine, from point A to B.This is, however, with the exception of our villain Grant, by far the best character of the book. He’s a completely stereotypical villain, but he pushes a guy out of a helicopter because he’s incompetent. He pays $500,000 to marry a girl without her knowledge just to be able to kill her for his own peace of mind. He actually has some semblance of a personality in a world of boring, gray stock characters.THERE’S A SEQUEL?Needless to say, I think I am done with this series. Yep, it’s a series. I didn’t even bother reading the snippet from book two at the back, especially because by the end the story had suddenly turned into a love triangle with a guy that suddenly appeared and was a complete donkey butt, if you get my meaning. Mia’s world descended into an unbelievable series of events that any rational, able government could have cracked in seconds, and the bit about the helicopters seemed cheap. I think I’ll just stop while I’m ahead.VERDICT: Skip it. THE REGISTRY brings nothing new to the genre except more frustration protagonists stuck choosing between limp boys being chased by a villain whose sole purpose in life is to be a villain. Nothing new here, move along.