Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Book Description

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

My Thoughts
The Testing is a book you have to suspend your disbelief for, or maybe you just turn off your copycat radars. I won't lie: this is VERY similar to The Hunger Games, to the point may readers wouldn't continue reading once they got that impression. I actually really enjoyed this book though, and I want to see how the rest of the series plays out. Sure, dystopian world, survival of the fittest, 16-year old romance, all of that is turning into been there, done that. What was different in this book was most of this is supposed to be a secret.

Getting chosen for the Testing is an honor: students strive to be the best, and getting chosen means excelling to another level. No one knows the dangers that lie ahead. The government is corrupt in this world, but in a conspiracy way where no one has really realized it yet. There are some aspects that I questioned as a reader [why kill the best students? There is a limited population and bloodbath doesn't make sense when you've already whittled it down to so few], but there were enough differences I almost felt drawn to this book more than The Hunger Games

I guess part of it was the sensation of helplessness The Hunger Games brought to the table. I didn't feel that with The Testing. There was a sense that you could survive and get out in this book, and even the threat of having your memories wiped could have been a blessing. Everything you were forced to do could go away. This book felt like Cia had more control of her fate. I don't know if later books will follow that pattern, but I like a little hope with my dystopian. I also enjoyed some of the more real-world survival tactics used in this story that were missing in other dystopian novels. Post-apocalyptic stories should embrace the elements of survival and moving forward, and I felt this story did that.

Overall, considering the books The Testing had to follow, I still think it was a nice story. This is one novel's biggest flaw was i fell so deep in the dystopian craze I don't know if it can ever shine how it had the potential to.

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