30 January 2014

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Series: The Testing #1
Publisher: Templar Publishing
Publication Date: August 1st 2013
Source: Bought

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.

The Testing was one of those books I'd been eyeing for quite a while. I liked the sound of it and as I came across more reviews for this book I just knew I had to get my hands on a copy. I was slightly worried, however, because there were a lot of people saying this was very similar to The Hunger Games. While I noticed some similarities at the beginning, The Testing definitely wasn't a carbon copy of The Hunger Games. It was a lot more brutal, gruesome and shocking than The Hunger Games

The Testing is set in a world that was destroyed by war and the future generation are put through The Testing to see who is up to the task of saving the world. If the candidates pass The Testing, they are rewarded with a chance at further education. Cia and three other students from her town have been chosen for The Testing. Cia is delighted since this is the first time in years that students from her town have been selected. But Cia's father warns her about The Testing. He went through it and can only remember flashes, but he tells her to be careful and trust no one. But Cia decides to trust her childhood friend Tomas because she's sure he's a trustworthy person. Cia must fight to get through The Testing and uncover the secrets that have been hidden.

As soon as I read the first chapter I was hooked. I read this one in a day because it just pulled me in and I had to know what was going on!

I actually really liked Cia's character. She was determined, strong and she never lost sight of her morals. Cia was always helping others throughout the competition and while this may have made they seem slightly naive, it also showed that no matter how much The Testing threw at her, Cia was never going to lose sight of who she really is. I really adored that about her character. She was also extremely smart when it came to the trials for The Testing. She seemed to know exactly what she should (and shouldn't do) and her intelligence saved her life on countless occasions. 

Tomas was an alright character. I was glad that he and Cia teamed up so that they would both have someone to rely on throughout The Testing. He was a nice enough guy, funny and smart, but as The Testing went on I started to get doubts about Tomas (especially during the last trial). And if what Cia thought is true, then I'm not sure I can trust Tomas.

I wasn't a major fan of the romance in this book. Sure Cia and Tomas had know each other for years and Cia had probably had a crush on Tomas for a while, their relationship just never stuck with me. Maybe it was because they were in the middle of the fucking testing and their relationship was extremely unnecessary throughout it. I liked their friendship and the way they worked as a team, but I never enjoyed their relationship. Maybe I will in the second book, but I just didn't care for it in this one.

I honestly wasn't prepared for how shocking, gruesome and horrifying this story line was. I was completely shocked at half of the stuff that went on in this book! Honestly, it was definitely a lot more gruesome that I'd expected. As The Testing went on the trials got tougher and more deadly and I was unprepared for the consequences of a wrong answer. But despite how horrifying this story/world was, I adored it. It kept me on the edge of my seat and that's what made this book great.

And then that ending happened and I'm just super excited to see what Cia is going to do now and what the information will do to her.

Overall, The Testing was a brilliant dystopian novel. It was packed full of action, it was shocking, the world was completely screwed up and it was just fantastic. The Testing is definitely a book I recommend to anyone who is a fan of dystopians because it's one that you'll definitely enjoy.


  1. Hmmm, I wasn't too sure about this one after some reviews I've seen. But I might give it a chance seeing how it is a shocking dystopian!

    Thanks for the great review, Samantha!

    1. I can't even explain how shocking and horrifying this was at moments. It's definitely one I'd recommend.
      Thanks Pili! :)

  2. I feared it's going to be like THG, too, but it wasn't. It's different and at times more tame, at times more brutal. The idea is similar, but it's not a copy.
    The love felt kinda weird to me, too, but I let it slide, it could have been worse.
    Glad you liked it!
    I loved it and I hope to get my hands on book 2 soon.

    1. That's exactly how I felt. I don't understand how people are saying it's exactly the same, because it's not.
      It could have been worse, but I really wasn't a fan of it.
      I'm super glad I enjoyed it! I've got the second book ordered so I'll hopefully be getting to it soon :)

  3. You got me with the "more brutal than THG" :D Now I want to read it!

    I think it's interesting that everytime a summary of a book contains something like a small group of teenagers who have to 'fight' for something people think of THG right away. But there have been other books like that even before THG (like The Long Walk by Stephen King).
    Good to know that this is not like THG even though I would mind if it is similar.

  4. I've had this sitting on my shelf for ages, but heard mixed reviews. May have to bump it up my pile!

  5. It was disturbing the fact that the there were actually people supporting this and the punishments for wrong answers. I was completely unprepared for what would happen if answers were wrong. I also wrote a review on my blog here(http://readingshy.blogspot.ca/2014/03/the-testing-by-joelle-charbonneau.html)