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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Book Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Series: The Testing #1
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publication Date: June 14, 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 336
Source: Purchased
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. (Summary from Goodreads.com)
Before I do anything I will just say...

The Hunger Games > The Testing

Ok, so let's start with the outside of this book. I purchased the UK edition of The Testing and I have a couple lil nags about it really.

1. I'm fed up of people putting 'For fans of The Hunger Games' on the front of books because either the book is nothing like The Hunger Games or is basically a replica - if I wanted to read another THG then I would just re-read the damn original and not a knock off copy cat dystopian story.

2. It is pretty (very) similar to the US edition cover of Divergent - even down to the massive symbol on the cover.

BUT it is a pretty cover, I guess. :)

Now onto the actual story. 

I'mma list my nags first (of which there are many) but note that I did actually quite enjoy this book!

I thought the story as a whole was actually really well done and I love the author's writing style - Charbonneau is very talented indeed. Many elements of the plot were original, dark and kept me intrigued. BUT then there was the overlap to several other existing dystopian novels...

Firstly there were the colonies (Districts - The Hunger Games / Factions -Divergent).

Each group in The Testing had it's own symbol (Copying Divergent?)

Also, the graduation ceremony reminded a lot of The Reaping from The Hunger Games.

A certain character reminded me very much so of Cinna.

There is another Peeta.

There is a substitute for the silver parachutes in the arena from The Hunger Games.

Our protagonist, Cia, is singled out and recognised just like Katniss was, only Cia had no reason to get attention.

A certain injury sustained and the use of a crossbow were used - I found both lacked originality. 

Also, have any of you watched the Japanese movie Battle Royale? If you have then Joelle kinda copied a certain element of those necklaces the kids are forced to wear.

These are just a few of my nags.

Now I know I've made this book sound awful and completely unoriginal but I refuse to lie (unlike many reviews out there). This book DOES have many copied elements but it also has MANY original parts to it too!

Some of Charbonneau's ideas blew me away and many of the twists I didn't see coming. 

I did really enjoy this novel and will definitely be picking up the sequel but I had to point out my nags.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog! I love to hear from my readers, whether they agree or disagree with my opinion :) I do my best to get back to every commenter, though I am not always successful. Heh...Anyway, I look forward to hearing what you have to say! :D

~ Gabbi