Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Published: Houghton Mifflin Books, June 4th, 2013
Pages: 336
Source: Hardcover, purchased
Genre: Dystopian
Rating: 3/5 (76%)

How I Felt: This is the second time I've read this book and my opinion has changed a bit since I first read it earlier this year. To me this book is like a mixture of the Hunger Games and Divergent. Every aspect is so similar to these other classic dystopian tales and  I found that unoriginal and repetitive at times (from the world itself, to the organization of society/social standings). But don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this book, it didn't take me too long to get through and there were some excellent quotable moments. I felt like the writing at times got a little tedious, the author started vividly describing every move our main character and protagonist, Cia made. While this gives a good description of the surroundings and gives you a good mental picture, it can make the story start to lag a bit. In the beginning our protagonist Cia goes from being this girl who is so excited to be graduating school and finally becoming an adult to one who instantly doubts everything the government tells her and has done. This is a quality we look for in dystopian characters, but I feel like on Cia it was sprung out of no where and became forced (which I found to be a recurring theme throughout the novel), we saw her sorting through her head in one paragraph and then she was completely on board with the idea that the government is no good. I also thought Cia's personality of intelligence and street smarts were a little forced, like the author was trying to  force Cia into this girl as smart as Katniss and as sharp and quick as Tris. I also felt like Tomas and Cia's relationship was sort of insta-love because she never talked about him before, but as soon as she saw him in the office where they were discussing travel to the University she immediately started talking about how they shared a moment last year when they danced together, and how every girl at school likes him so he probably won't like her. Then when they started the fourth test, he immediately pounced on her, saying how she was beautiful and that he loved her. I liked Cia's friendship with Daileen, and how she loved Cia so much she vowed to do really well in school so they could be together again at the University. The whole concept of the Testing is really twisted, cruel and cynical, but an effective way of evaluating who would be best suited to someday lead the United Commonwealth. The world this story is set in really reminded me of both the Hunger Games and Divergent. The way the colonies are set up remind me of the Districts, because a lot of colonies are responsible for certain things, and the colony our protagonist is from has been written off as week and useless much like District 12. Also, the fourth test was much like the Games themselves, the challengers were placed in an unknown location and told to survive through the wild so that 20 of them could win a chance to get a more of an education, and of course it wasn't against the rules to kill your fellow candidates, so a lot of students were quick to become murderers. And while Cia was in the middle of the fourth test she talks about how some people didn't agree with the laws and rules the government set up so they weren't a part of society anymore, kind of like the factionless from Divergent. I did enjoy this book though, I loved getting to see the different tests they put the candidates through because they require a lot of brain power and I found them very interesting. I also thought Dr. Barnes' and Will's characters had a lot of depth, which is what makes any good villain and so I'm excited to learn more about them. I am going to continue on with the series because I'm interested to see what happens to all the characters. I recommend this book if you're in a reading slump, because it isn't a hard book to get through. If I had to sum up this book in one sentence it would be: “A teenage girl trying to protect her loved ones, while also trying to find out what plans the corrupt government has in store.”

Favourite Quotes:
  • “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.”
  • “The best leaders make mistakes and then learn from them. The best leaders never make the same mistakes again. The only way you can learn is if you understand the mistakes that were made.”
***Quotes taken from The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau and***
*Info on book taken from*

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