The Registry by Shannon Stoker – Audiobook Review

The Registry by Shannon Stoker, narrated by Kate Reinders
Published in audio by Harper Audio, published in print by William Morrow, both imprints of HarperCollins

Synopsis:

From the publisher:

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.

Thoughts on the story:

You know, two or three years ago I might have dismissed The Registry as being outlandishly unrealistic. With the whole ‘war on women’ of the last couple of years and the seemingly-concerted effort to erode rights, I don’t see it as necessarily being totally insane if set far enough out. Is it actually likely? Well, no, but (hopefully) few dystopians are actually likely. It has a very similar concept to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, at least as far as the role of women and in my opinion has a similar level of likelihood. Atwood does spell out the events that lead to her dystopia more clearly, but she also has them happen much, much more quickly, so it is logical that her characters would know exactly what led to their current situation, while Mia is in a world that is generations removed from the one we know, which is why neither she nor anyone around her truly understands how they have come to be in such a predicament.

Uh, so that was a lot of stuff to say I found the story interesting, and believable enough to keep my interest, even if I don’t exactly think this is going to happen next week.

Thoughts on the audio production:

For the most part, I really enjoyed Kate Reinders’s narration. She was a big part of what sucked me in to the book right away. The only thing that  bothered me was her depiction of one of the male characters who, thankfully, came in later in the book. I found the way she presented him to be very creepy, one might even say ‘rape-y.’ Luckily he came in a good portion of the way through the novel, but I don’t think that Stoker intended him to come off like that and it distracted me from the story every time he spoke, wondering whether or not he was actually a total creep.

Overall:

All in all I found The Registry to be a fun, enjoyable audiobook.

For more information, please see the publisher’s page.
Source: Publisher.

Sound Bytes is a meme that occurs every Friday! I encourage you to review your audiobooks on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

 

Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets

This plugin requires intervention by this site’s administrator.

To display the widget for this post, please click here.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau – Book Review

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

For as long as she can remember, Cia has dreamed of being selected for The Testing and going to University. After all, her father is a University graduate, and if he had not been selected, he would never have met her mother and she wouldn’t even exist. Not to mention, Cia is a born engineer; she can fix or rig just about anything. However, nobody from the Great Lakes Colony has been selected for The Testing for years, and on the day of graduation it seems that the rumor of an official from Tosu City attending their graduation is just that, a rumor. When an official shows up the next day and selects four graduating students, nobody is more surprised or excited than Cia – at least until Cia’s father tells her the few horrific things he remembers about his own experience with The Testing. Now that Cia has exactly what she always wanted she must face the fact that it may not be what she thought it was.

The Testing  will be compared to The Hunger Games, absolutely without question (I’m writing this in January, so if the comparisons start in April or May, my apologies for seeming behind the ball). There are definite similarities: selections, plus a brutal survival setting that, to some extent, pit young people against one another. That being said, The Testing is no The Hunger Games knockoff. Charbonneau has created an intriguing world, perhaps most intriguing because it is not clear just how dystopian it is. Clearly something is rotten in the United Commonwealth, but whether it is completely corrupt or whether this is simply a case of the road to hell being paved with good intentions isn’t clear.

Here are some of my favorite things about The Testing:

  • Cia is a kick-ass, largely self-taught engineer.
  • Cia being both a girl and an engineer is not a big deal, it just is.
  • No love triangle!
  • Cia is smart, strong, and the heroine of her own story.

The Testing is a really promising start to Charbonneau’s first YA trilogy. I can’t wait to read the second book. Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013

Divergent by Veronica Roth – Book Review

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins

Beatrice Prior – who will soon reinvent herself as Tris – has never really fit in with her faction. She is just not Abnegation material. Luckily, in just a couple of days she and all the other sixteen-year-olds in this dystopian future Chicago will have the opportunity to choose whether to stay in their factions or choose a new one from among the five in the city: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. Leaving Abnegation would mean that Beatrice would have to leave her family behind forever, but staying would mean not being true to herself. Unfortunately, Beatrice isn’t any more sure about where it is that she does belong. Not Erudite, not after the lies they have spread about the people of Abnegation, and probably not Candor – only ever telling the truth isn’t particularly appealing – but where? Sixteen-year-olds are given a test to help them choose their placement, but Beatrice’s test is strangely inconclusive, a fact that she is warned to keep to herself.

Divergent is a much-raved about YA dystopian novel. I found it enjoyable, but perhaps not as fabulous as everyone else seems to think it is. Roth is an incredibly engaging writer, and Tris is a great character, surrounded by other great characters. My only real problem was with the premise. The factions seem to have no idea what is happening in the world around them, for all intents and purposes the universe is no bigger than the greater Chicago area. Less believable, though, is the idea of the factions in the first place.

Dystopian societies often have odd and somewhat unlikely governments and structures. The best novels, though give their odd structures a believable background. Either there needs to be a reasonable explanation for how they came to be, or they need to follow somewhat from the current state of the world. The factions of Divergent didn’t really do either. They provide a very interesting set-up to the story, yes, and they allow for great commentary on human nature, but I simply could not see where they came from.

All this being said, Divergent is highly engaging, enough so that I do plan on reading the sequel, Insurgent, which is out later this year, in order to see if the world building is further developed.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Library.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2011

Crossed by Ally Condie – Audiobook Review

Crossed by Ally Condie, narrated by Kate Simses and Jack Riccobono
Published in audio by Penguin Audio, published in print by Dutton Juvenile, imprints of Penguin

I previously reviewed the first audiobook in this series, Matched.

Synopsis:

From the publisher:

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky – taken by the Society to his certain death – only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander – who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart – change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Thoughts on the story:

So, the reason I used the publisher’s description here is that nothing much really happens during Crossed. Yes, Cassia searches out Ky in the border provinces, but even as they are both living much more difficult lives than they ever did in the heart of the Society, and yet it seems that nothing occurs. Basically the entire thing is a set up for the third book in the trilogy. What Crossed does have going for it, though, is that we learn a great deal about Ky’s history, and about just how deep the uprising against the Society really goes. This set up is promising for Condie’s next book, however.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Kate Simses is still a great casting call for Cassia. She is young-sounding enough to be convincing as a teenager, and conveys the teenage drama well without making it overly angsty. I was somewhat less impressed by Jack Riccobono. He is ever so slightly old-sounding for Ky and is a bit ridiculous when trying to give voice to Cassia during Ky’s sections. Simses does a much better job doing voices for the boys surrounding Cassia.

The sound effects in Crossed are not used as judiciously as they are in Matched. They are nearly absent in Crossed until a point near the end where music is used for no apparent reason. It is quite odd, really.

Overall:

I have to hope that the last book in this trilogy will be told exclusively from Cassia’s point of view, so that Kate Simses can narrate the entire audiobook. Other than this, Crossed was very much the transitional book for this series and, although it was not nearly as strong as Matched, it is setting up what will hopefully be a very interesting conclusion. If you liked Matched, you probably need to read this before the third book is released.

Buy this book from:
Powells: Audio/Print*
Indiebound: Audio/Print*

I’m launching a brand-new meme every Friday! I encourage you to review any audiobooks you review on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

Source: Library.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2012

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan – Book Review

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
Published by Algonquin Books

After The Great Scourge, abortion is considered an especially heinous crime as the country tries to recover its birthrate. Women who get abortions have their skin turned red through the process of melochroming, a sentence that eliminates the need for the government to house the convicted, while still allowing the citizenry to feel safe from criminals. Hannah Payne finds herself a Red after aborting her baby. She would never have done so, but if she had given birth to a child out-of-wedlock, she would have been compelled to name the father, and she simply cannot do that to the man she loves. Naming her child’s father would have destroyed both his personal and public life. Now Hannah must decide what life looks like as the shamed woman she now is.

When she woke, she was red. Not flushed, not sunburned, but the solid, declarative red of a stop sign. -p. 1

If Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale had a slightly futuristic baby, it would be When She Woke. Jordan makes it quite clear that this is a retelling of The Scarlet Letter, not only giving Hannah a situation and name very similar to Hawthorne’s Hester Prynne, but when Hannah is compelled to name the baby she would have had, she calls her Pearl, which was Hester’s daughter’s name as well.

Unlike Hawthorne, however, Jordan is not content to deal just in the themes of sin and legalism. Instead, she goes deeper into her protagonist’s life to focus on personal choice, agency, and faith. At one time Hannah was a faithful, Christian girl in a conservative society. After her fall for something that initially seemed so heaven-sent, she has an entirely understandable crisis of faith and must decide whether she and God have abandoned one another, or if she can make sense out of her faith and what her life has become.

While there are some moments of the book that lose steam, the story is an incredibly compelling one overall, and a likely a modern classic in its own right. Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2011