My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’m a judger. Yep, that’s me. I judge a book by the title and by the cover! Sometimes, I won’t even read the description, I’ll just jump right in! Which is sort of what I did with The Testing. The beautiful, interesting cover drew me in, and then the simple title had me hooked.
I HAD TO READ IT.
So I did.
At first I was a little disappointed. The style of writing at first was a little different then what I’m used to reading and the beginning sort of lulled me to sleep. But then in came a mystery and my curiosity was perked. Well played, Ms. Charbonneau.
WHAT A PAGE TURNER.
Malencia Vale, a very intelligent, bright, young girl is the protagonist of this story. This determined girl sets her sights on “the Testing,” which will determine if you are allowed to go on to college to continue your education or not. Cia, who desperately wants to finish her education, decides that the Testing is just what she needs. That is, until she is chosen and her father reveals a horrifying truth ….
[insert maniacal laughter]
So before I get going, let me say this: THIS IS A HUNGER GAMES BOOK. Except, maybe, without the love triangle. This book teetered dangerously close to the worldwide best-seller The Hunger Games and that was almost a deal-breaker for me. I don’t like it when authors take ideas from other authors. But the redeeming part? It wasn’t nearly as much like The Hunger Games as I’d expected it would be, which was a relief.
So moving on.
Cia goes into the Testing with Tomas, who was one of her friends from Five Lakes, where they live. And surprise, surprise, Cia falls in love with Tomas! Sort of. Their sort-of romance intrigued me at first but then it just sort of bombed. That was a little disappointing because there was SO MUCH FREAKING POTENTIAL. Oh, well. Romance doesn’t make the book and even without the romance, the book was an awesome read.
Yeah, so, like I said, the romance bothered me but that wasn’t all. Tomas bothered me. I hate to say it but he was a poorly developed character. He had no real personality until about three-quarters of the way through the book, which was totally unfortunate, since, by that point, I’d already lost interest in him. I think the author had a hard enough time coming up with all these twists and turns and exciting activities that she really didn’t have time to work with Tomas’s character, which was bothersome because he could’ve been so much better.
Cia, on the other hand, was pretty awesome. She was very resourceful and a good character for girls to connect with. She was easily understood and a well-developed character. She had all the right attributes. She could be vulnerable but she knew how to woman-up and take charge when nobody else would. Well, sort of. She had a way of going about it peacefully.
During the Testing, Cia learns so much about the government she’s excited to work for. It’s your classic girl-against-government thing we see in so many movies and books today. The idea hasn’t been totally exhausted yet but it’s getting there so easy with the girl-against-government thing, guys. Thanks.
There’s a lot of brutal deaths in this book, which did surprise me, but didn’t at all affect how much I love the book. Brutal death happens. I loved how the Testing was so different than what I had expected. AGAIN, well done, Joelle.
I’m sad to say that the ending sort of dropped me. Not the ending I was hoping for. You never want the first book in the trilogy to end peacefully with no impending turbulence. I needed there to be more mystery, more allure! I didn’t get that from The Testing. I’ll probably finish the trilogy just because I enjoyed the plot of the first book and Cia was a great heroine. But I might just skim the remaining books.
Coolio, summary time.
The Testing was a great book. Read it. I think some people will love it and others will turn their noses up and say, “Wow, that was so predictable.” And they’d be right! There are a lot of predictable elements in the story but there are a lot of plot twists that sucker-punch you in the gut, too!
I really enjoyed the book and plan to read the others!