By Joelle Carbonnaeu, published by Templar.
Goodreads synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Cia Vale is honoured to be chosen for The Testing – a series of exams set by the United Commonwealth that selects the brightest young adults to become leaders of their war- stricken world. But when candidates start disappearing and Cia witnesses unimaginable horrors done in the United Commonwealth’s name it becomes clear that these are no ordinary exams, and Cia is forced to realise the truth: this is no longer about winning, but surviving.
My review: The Testing was a really enjoyable read, great for dystopia fans, though there were a few points that I think brought the book down. I’ll get those points out of the way, before I go onto the best things!
I started this book, really excited to see what would happen. I’ve never read anything by Joelle before so I was quite interested to see what her writing would be like. I was really hooked onto the story from the beginning, curious about this mysterious Testing that was taking place in a mostly destroyed future world. Then, as the story progressed, I got a little bit annoyed about certain aspects.
Anyone who knows me well enough will know that I am a huge obsessive about The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is my all time favourite book. And so while I was reading this, I noticed a lot of things that seemed to just have been copied from THG. For example: Teens are being selected from district-like colonies, and there’s a city much like the Capitol that they travel to. Then, they have a feast before The Testing… a little like they do before the tributes go into the arena in THG. Then, in one stage of The Testing, the teenagers are left in a wild, abandoned place and it turns into a game of survival where people start getting killed. All of this just made it seem like this book had been built on the foundations of another book, which was a bit disappointing for me because I had such high hopes for this, and it looked pretty original. But, bad stuff aside now. Onto the good points!
Despite the beginning which I didn’t enjoy as I kept noticing Hunger-Gamesy things, I really grew to love this book after about half of it. I enjoyed reading about these tests that Cia had to undertake, and the book got pretty pulse quickening as some of the tests were revealed as deathly! The plot was gripping, especially during the final, lethal test of survival. There were definitely lots of surprises hidden away, making the story unpredictable. I ended up reading the whole thing in a matter of hours, because I wanted to know what would happen to Cia.
Cia was a really great character, though I didn’t really connect with her at first. She seemed a bit emotionless, until she was selected for The Testing. Then, I started to really feel what she was feeling. She was portrayed as a typical teenager, really- with the best friend who she has a crush on, who’s got the good grades. There wasn’t that much development on her background, though there really was on her father’s, which was really interesting as his past linked to her fate, in a way. She was quite realistic after I’d gotten used to her character, brave, intelligent, and above all, I really loved seeing her relationship with her friend grow throughout the Test of survival.
The world building was effective in this book. The destroyed, but re-building world the story was set in was brought to life well through the writing. I liked the narration, and the vivid descriptions of some horrific things!
Overall, The Testing was a great read. It annoyed me that the first half of the book seemed to be based on The Hunger Games, but the story definitely picked up halfway through and I came to enjoy it more. It was really fun to see Cia travel through her terrifying journey to winning The Testing, and the world it was set in was imaginative and scarily possible! I read it in quite a short space in time; this is a great book to curl up with. The ending has really made me want to read the sequel, which I’m really hoping doesn’t have other book’s aspects in, though. A fun read for dystopia fans!
My Rating: I was really torn as to what to give this book, because of so many good and bad things. This rating is going to seem quite low, but it’s actually a good rating for a book. Check out my rating system page to get the details!
I received a PDF of The Testing from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.