by Joelle Charbonneau
Digital Edition – Read May 31, 2013
Original Release Date: June 4, 2013
Length: 352 pages
Official Description: This is book #1 of The Testing Trilogy
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.
First off A LOT of people have been comparing this book to the Hunger Games trilogy and does it have similar themes…yes, but that doesn’t make it unoriginal, in fact the Hunger Games itself wasn’t original in themes and ideas, as evidenced by many other books that came before and even some movies. Does that make the story any less original, any less entertaining? NO! This book does press on a similar theme, the atrocity of war, and how it affects people after the unthinkable happens. This book isn’t about “kids” per say. Cia Vale and her counterparts are high school graduates entering their adult lives, Cia just happens to have graduated a year early. The Testing takes the best and brightest of the colony graduates (and there are lots of little colonies) who will go through a process to see who’s worthy to be a leader of the country. These future leaders are skilled in many advanced sciences that will help rebuild a ravaged earth, you’ll actually have to read a bit into the book before you figure out what happened to make the earth so barren and they do indeed give you a brief little history. Are there hard themes for some people, yes, does it get brutal? Yes, but it is so very entertaining, I read it in one sitting. It is a fast read, it picks up pace once everyone gets to Tosu City. I did find this story surprisingly unique, you should try to separate yourself from other dystopian novels and just enjoy the ride. I can’t wait for the next book to come out to see where Cia’s story will go. I think the themes in this book are a very common worry right now, the destruction of ourselves, the corruption of government or rather the altogether brutal nature that people have, I think especially in the world today these themes will become more and more evident in literature. I hope this book series does well because I think the author did a fantastic job with the characters, the world building and all the twist that present themselves.
(I did receive this book free for an honest review)
“Things don’t always work out the way we hope. You just have to pick yourself up and find a new direction to go in.”