THE REGISTRY is a very complicated book, which, while very good in some aspects, fell just sort of the mark in others. There's no disputing that the world presented by Stoker is a very interesting, and frightening, one. As many have done before her, Stoker took a very heated subject - sexism pertaining to women - and amplified the situation.
The world of THE REGISTRY is frightening with the blatant brainwashing that affects every character, no matter how strong and open-minded they are. Even our "strong" main characters fall victim to this brainwashing.
The US has become a complete patriarchy where the role of women is only child bearing, house work, and pleasure. The women of this dystopian world have been completely brain washed into thinking that this way of living is the perfect way, a life where they have no power over anything at all.
I can already see the people shouting: "This isn't that different than how some women live!" Yes, you're right to extent. But, not in the US. Uh no, the US of THE REGISTRY is not anything like what we live in since well, if you live in the US, can you write? Read? Do math? Count to ten? Have a job? Go to college? Refuse to get married? Speak your mind? Touch a member of the male sex - and not in that way?
The women of THE REGISTRY's US can't do any of the things mentioned. They can't even touch a man's hand because their husbands want them to be entirely pure. According to this book that all the women must live by (which is quoted in the beginning of Mia's chapters):
The greatest accomplishment a female can achieve is becoming a wife.
Women of this world are sold to the highest bidder, for thousands of dollars. They have appraisers, who quiz the girls on their cooking, cleaning, singing, baby-caring skills and then, once they've been appraised, they are sold. Sold.
The best part of the book has to be simply the US and the entirely male powered society. The book inside of the book (called The Registry' Guide for Girls) is very interesting, in a unsettling way. A few memorable quotes (note these quotes are from an ARC copy and are subject to change when the book is published).
When courting potential matches, no man wants a talkative lady. It is best for females to avoid speaking...
- 9% into the book
All fathers love their daughters. A daughter returns that love by obtaining a high marriage fee. Not only is a high appraisal price a point of pride, it is also a repayment for the money and time spent raising her.
- 13% into the book
A wife never inquired into her husband's background.
It is common for wives to take on some traits of their husbands - after all, it is the woman's responsibility to know what her husband likes, in a order to please him - but a good wife will ensure she retains her delicate feminine traits.
Yeah, and that's just four of the dozens of notes I have for this book. DOZENS OF NOTES.
Now you may be thinking why I gave this book such a low rating and it's because well, it's boring. It shouldn't be, but it is. One of the main reasons this book is so boring is because the main character has no personality at all. She's just a sack of meat, to put it crudely.
The main character, Mia, is probably the most emotionless character ever. She had no personality to be annoyed at, or love for that matter. I didn't - couldn't - see how she had the willpower to up and decide that she no longer wanted this life. It felt at times like she was just as brainwashed as her - who was utterly unbearable - even though Mia was supposed to be the one who isn't brainwashed much.
What I couldn't see at all was that Mia somehow convinced Andrew to leave his sexist, dominating ways because of how strong she was. Sure, she was strong enough to leave but after that, she didn't really do anything particularly strong.
Her one quality is how unbelievably self absorbed she is. She thinks practically everything is about her. I guess that was her "character flaw" but if you have one flaw and practically no personality, that doesn't work ever.
Whitney is horrible. I spent the entire book like this:
She was whiny, annoying, and useless. The only reason she's in the book is because she was needed to show how super duper strong and brave Mia is. That's the only reason. Mia has to save her ass so many times because she's idiotic.
Andrew was pretty meh as a love interest and as a character. He spent half the book thinking "huh, I thought Mia would sit in a corner and cower pathetically but no! She can actually do stuff!". What? I know it's because how he was raised and how the society is but really? Does he have to stay misogynistic throughout the entire book?
Grant was fucking scary as a villain. He was probably the best character in the entire book. I don't have anything to say other than he made the book. He wasn't afraid to kill, lie, deceive, or plot which is different for YA since usually, the bad guys aren't this truly evil. They all have some sob story to go with but not this guy. No, he was just evil.
The story got tedious after a while. Basically, it was walk a bit, get caught/into tight situation, get out of it, and repeat. It was so boring after the first turnaround because the same plot aspects are not only repeated, they're not even changed up a little.
I really don't have much to say on the plot since it's obvious the author was more caught up in making the society than characters and plotting. While, she did a very good job in making a scary society but not that good of a job with characters, plot, or world building outside the US.
My biggest problem with the writing is with world building. I don't even know what yearish this is set or what the world looks like at all. Is it in the future? How far? Ok, this war? What was it for? Who runs the US? Is it still a democracy? Why don't the other countries help the people in the US?
This book started off so well. I was sure that this would be a 5 star, but it's most definitely not - no matter how much I wish it were. This is most definitely not a book I'd recommend.