Book Review: The Testing

Book Review: The TestingThe Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Series: The Testing #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on June 4th 2013
Pages: 336
Buy on Amazon

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 Testing was one of my more anticipated dystopian reads for 2013. And while the book has promise, most of the read felt like it was holding back.

One of the big taglines for The Testing was 'for The Hunger Games fans,' or something along those lines. If you liked The Hunger Games, then I am sure that The Testing will be a pleasing read for you. But bottom line, The Testing is no The Hunger Games.

The Testing starts off innocently enough. Readers are introduced to Cia and her town. A town that has students with plenty of potential to be selected for the Testing, but never are. Or at least, have not been for the last ten or so years. Cia was a likeable enough character. Although, readers know early on that the Testing is not quite what it seems, you cannot help but want Cia to be chosen for the Testing.

Once the Testing got underway, that is when The Testing's problems really began. The Testing itself is divided into four parts. Three tests of basic knowledge to test your skill set, then one real-world type experience. While I enjoyed the first three tests, the fourth is really where the action is. Also, where most of my problems occurs.

Although Cia is a likeable character, I had a hard time relating to her and her struggles. She was just so damn perfect.

Character: Oh look, we found water.

Cia: Wait, this doesn't feel right.

Character: No, everything is fine.

Cia: I don't think so. Give me a minute to look around / inspect something.

Minute later.

Cia: NO!!! Get out of here. / Move… something along those lines.

Then surprise, something bad happens.

There were so many examples of events like this happening throughout The Testing that it became annoying. Whether it was a trap or how to take care of something, Cia seemed to just magically know everything. Yea, ok, that works.

Final Verdict:

The Testing wasn't a bad read. In fact, I actually liked it. But there were a lot of elements that never fully lived up to what I thought it could be. The Testing comes close to falling into the 'it was trying to be like another book, but failed to be original in its own right' category. There is plenty of original content in The Testing. But overall, I felt like I had been there done that almost from start to finish.

Will I read the next installment:

Eh. I am open to giving it a try.

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3 responses to “Book Review: The Testing

  1. I really liked The Testing, but I definitely agree with a lot of your points. I think I would have liked it better with a different main character. Cia didn’t really have any personality to me, and I couldn’t find anything that distinguished her from the other candidates. I’m still curious as to why she was the main character. I’m hoping future books expand her character a little bit.

  2. Kelly

    I enjoyed The Testing, but agree with everything you're saying here. I did find it immensley readable, but there were things that struck me as odd, including a narrator that seemed too good to be true.

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