Book Review: The Alliance by Shannon Stoker

The Alliance by Shannon StokerThe Alliance is the concluding novel in Shannon Stoker’s Registry trilogy.  The dystopian future premise is based upon a world where much of the female population was wiped out in the U.S.  Women became valuable, but they also became possessions sold to the highest bidder.  Boys were undervalued, to the point of being disposable.  They were only able to survive in the world and eventually in the mandatory military system by becoming callous and willing to do what it takes to thrive in such an environment.

In my interview with Shannon Stoker after the release of her debut novel, The Registry, she discussed the story arc with me a bit.  She implied that the main character, Mia Morrissey, would grow throughout the series from a sheltered and naive girl to an independent and strong leader.  Throughout the progression of the trilogy, we saw the evolution of this young woman as she grew in depth, learning to make decisions for herself and willing to take action to see them through.

“Like the water washing away the oils from Mia’s scalp, some things became clear to her now.  If she were a symbol to the world of what was wrong in her home country she wouldn’t have to deal with this persecution.  But Mia wanted more than that.  She was ready to have a real place in the upcoming rebellion.  That was much more valuable than anyone’s opinion of her.”

At points, I found the primary antagonist, Grant Marsden, to be almost unbelievably evil.  In fact, I mentioned this to Shannon Stoker when I interviewed her.  She promised that the second two books would deal more with his background story.  In this third and final book, Stoker also used a writing technique of providing snippets from journals or memories of past characters, ones who were crucial in developing this dystopian futuristic society.  The combination of background stories served the overall story arc well, giving the reader insight into how the whole system came about, and the almost immediate impact it had on changing the way people thought about the genders of men and women.

I love stories with strong female characters.  As a reader, I could relate to Mia’s struggle with deciding who to trust, while also learning to trust her own instincts.  I find that we sometimes mistake trusting others for vulnerability.  Sure, some may deceive or hurt us, but ultimately, when we do develop bonds with people worthy of our trust and respect, we are the stronger for it.  Shannon Stoker was able to elegantly convey this theme throughout the series, culminating in the aptly named The Alliance.

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