8 November 2014

Review: The Testing - Joelle Charbonneau

Cia is a determined girl and a hard worker. Her goal is to be chosen for the testing and  to go to University like her father. She soon learns to be careful what you wish for when the testing takes a sinister turn, with failure meaning almost certain death. Cia soon has to use all of her knowledge to ensure her own safety. Her only clue as to how to survive is the advice her father gave before she left home: Trust no-one.

Another YA dystopian trilogy with a skewed Government and a horrific amount of danger involved. This book is similar to The Hunger Games in that young people are pitted against each other in a competition, but this one is far more precise. The playing field is more even and the tests are more sophisticated, the players are cleverer too, with much more room for trickery and tactics. yes, you have to try not to die, but it becomes apparent that the answer is to evaluate the competition carefully and fully utilise your skills.

Cia is a great character that you can really sympathise with. She is very smart, compassionate but slightly too trusting and slow to make decisions. She is emotional and understanding in the worst circumstances, and sometimes this makes you wonder if she will survive the process at all. Her journey is difficult, but seems natural as she slowly learns to be tougher, to listen to her instincts and to become less trusting. However, although Cia is great, there is much less character development in her supporting characters, such as Tomas and Will.

The main theme in the book is trust. Though there is romance involved, even that is affected by the tests and the secrets Cia has to keep. This book really makes you think about what you would do in these situations. Who would you trust? How much would you know? How would you cope with the pressure, the animosity, the danger? Would you even make it to the testing? The book also makes a comment about human nature as some candidates turn to manipulation and murder to succeed in these tests, thereby forcibly eliminating the competition. The question is, would you?

The Testing is very fast paced, with no boring parts and lots of interest. This is a great start to the trilogy and I am very intrigued as to what happens next, especially with the ending that has taken place.