Review of The Testing book 1 in a projected series by Joelle Charbonneau. Release Date 1st August 2013
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
I’ve read a few reviews of this book that slate it for being a Hunger Games rip off. Which I think is unfair and anyway, the Hunger Games is hardly an original story itself is it?
(Ducks for cover. Looks out cautiously.)
But it isn’t, is it? I’ve been reading dystopian fiction for a very long time, and while I thought Hunger Games was really really good, it’s hardly ground breaking. I’ve not read/seen Battle Royale, which is the one Tim likens it to, but I’ve done both with the Running Man, which is pretty much up there.
So why would I go on and read The Testing? And not only read it, enjoy it?
There’s nothing wrong with fiction that works to a formula tbh. If there was, Mills and Boon would have tanked a long time ago. What’s important is the individual treatment, and I found that the Testing worked for me. I liked the main character – more than I did Katniss – by the end of her trilogy I wanted to go after her myself. Cia seems more self aware with less self loathing. And there are definite differences in the overall treatment of the main plot points. While you’ve still got gruelling and deadly testing, there’s the fact that Cia knows if she survives she won’t remember anything – no one ever does. Which sets the scene for an ending that makes me want to get my hands on the next book.
Possibly a book slightly more suited to younger teens than the Hunger Games, The Testing is still gruesome in parts, kind of unemotionally so. Definitely not for the overly imaginative or faint hearted. I will pass it to Big for her opinion, and if she writes it up, I’ll let you know.
Received free for review from Templar Books. Preorder The Testing with Hive – free delivery to your local independent bookshop