The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau(3 out of 5)

ImageThe lovely Lisa got me an autographed copy of this book. I was thrilled to see this come to me. I had read several reviews that likened it to The Hunger Games and Divergent. I see this in the cover, most definitely. I see this in the braveness and determination and depth of the female lead. I see this, to some extent but not heroic enough in my opinion, in The Testing. I felt like Tomas was nowhere near as heroic as I would have liked him to be, espicially if he’s Cia’s leading dude(I actually kind of like the character of Will, although I’m not. He’s the pseudo “bad boy”, so of course I’m going to love him). 

Storyline premise is this: After the Seven Deadly Stages of the World, the Earth is left to suck it, in a major way. Life as we know it, and life forms, as we knew them, ceased to exist in the form that we were used to all those years. Some survivors band together, create a commonwealth, and begin rebuilding Earth as we know it. Many, many years later, Cia Vale is one of the chosen few(4 out of her colony) who is chosen for The Testing. Those people who pass the tests will be chosen to re-build the Earth. They don’t mention her life is in the balance, it almost sounds like a Club Med vacation for tweens. Her dad is horrified(he went through it, and nothing positive to report), her brother vanishes, her mom is sad to lose her daughter, and her twin siblings don’t quite get it. The Testing is a series of tests that test their intelligence, loyalty, character, leadership abilities, etc. It’s also quickly apparent to Cia and her friends that some people cannot be trusted, some aren’t strong enough to handle the feats of strength, those who are doing the Testing are also behind some killing of those who are undergoing the Testing, and secrets are all over the damn place. Cia is an incredibly smart and strong character. Straight off, she sees several of her friends end up dying/being killed, including several she’s known her whole life. 

The ending? Oh boy. That’s quite a cliffhanger there. You see the reemergence of a character who had unceremoniously disappeared earlier in the book, before Cia’s ordeal with the Testing begins. I want to know several things: What happened with Ryme? Why is Michal so nice to Cia? Who killed the other kids, and why? 

Overall, I did enjoy this book. I just wish there had been more action and less structuring of Cia’s soul and its struggle to just go along with the Testing without 100 questions. It’s apparent quickly that she’s no shrinking violet and there’s no way she is going to go along and see friends and newfound aquaintances biting the big one without asking 20 questions or raising an objection. She does those things, admirably. I couldn’t quite connect to it as I did to The Hunger Games trilogy and Divergent/Insurgent. I felt like she needs more interaction with the outside world and less soul searching. it seems like every page is another page out of Cia’s Soul Diary. It’s normal, I suppose, when you’re 16 and your hormones are jumping all over, but why aren’t you more inquisitive when your friend who you’re developing feelings for starts acting weird when you question him about a fellow friend who disappeared around the same time dried blood appeared on your knife? Little details like that, and the impatience I had with Cia for the lack of many miinor details, that made it hard for me to give this more than 3. However, I really love the character of Cia. Tomas, I know, he’s supposed to be cool, but he gives me pause. will, the bad guy, is the one I like. I also hope Zoon, Cia’s somewhat renegade brother,makes an appearance in the next book(1-14-14 for those who wonder) for a longer period of time. I feel like he has a lot to contribute.

I really, really found this book easy to read, I just had minor quibbles with it, which I have expressed here. It’s by no means as exciting to me as Hunger Games or Divergent, but it’s awesome in every other way. I highly recommend it, but warn those who are planning to read it that Cia’s long thought processes may lead to many loads of laundry being washed and dried while she figures out what the right thing to do is. Go with the gut! But she seems to go with her heart more, and sometimes that’s good, sometimes bad. Either way, you’re never bored with this book. You’re also not struck speechless by dumb synopsis, it’s truly a well-thought out timeline for the book and the characters. I can’t wait for the next installment!


~ by generationgbooks on July 2, 2013.

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