December 8, 2013
Review: The Testing
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
This book was provided by ARCycling, in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same?
The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.
Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies--trust no one.
But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.
The Good: The book kept me interested and on the edge of my seat. It's a very unique plot, with the whole idea of the University. There was a small bit that was set in Chicago, and I absolutely loved that. I think one of my favorite parts was how Cia made it through the first three tests. She seemed rather clever. In the fourth test, where they have to travel across the country, one of my favorite parts was the city that turned out to be a maze. The ending was pretty good. I knew there was something off about a few characters, but the specific plot twist for one of them surprised me. Also, where each person's loyalties stood at the end of the book was very interesting. I liked how Cia was resourceful and was talented at fixing and inventing mechanical objects.
The Bad: Some of the base elements were a bit too similar to The Hunger Games for me, but I do think Charbonneau made it her own and created a new world. Cia, however, was a bit devoid of personality for a large portion of the book. She seemed a bit flat and unchanging. Also, in the fourth test, I felt like some of the distances traveled each day were unrealistic, since they hadn't really trained for physical exertion like the tributes in The Hunger Games did.
The Ugly: The biggest issue was violence. The romance was clean, just kissing. The language was mild. But the violence...there were some pretty gory descriptions of wounds and how someone died. Cia got a bad injury at one point that got infected, and... I'll stop there.
The Verdict: It was a good read! I'm looking forward to Independent Study, the sequel. I think the whole University concept intrigues me more than anything else.