Tuesday, June 4, 2013

ARC Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Title: The Testing (The Testing, #1)
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Fantasy

Goodreads rating: 3.93 out of 5.00 (500+ ratings pre-release)
Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon

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.

Review by Chantelle

I was so excited to read The Testing, the blurb is absolutely amazing - like The Hunger Games but with an academic twist - and while ultimately, this novel did not 'wow' me, it didn't disappoint either.

The Testing is set in a dystopian world that is recovering after a nuclear bomb triggered The Seven Stages War where even the very earth fought against humanity. It was decided that these events occurred due to a lack of adequate leadership, and so they started 'the Testing', where an elite group chosen from the smartest, most intelligent young graduates would be made to undergo four tests, both written and physical, in order to choose those who will be granted the privilege of studying at the University to be made a future leader. However, of the 120 chosen to undergo testing, there are only 20 university spots available, and not only will many fail, not many will survive.

Bad decisions will be punished.

Epic right? The Testing is an extremely high-stakes, intense perspective on leadership - what it is, what it means, the relationship between decisions and consequences and whether the ends truly justify the means. What lengths would you go to in order to be given a better future, what if they wiped your memory such that you wouldn't remember The Testing, only whether you passed or failed The Testing.

Make a decision. Any attempt to resolve your decision will be punished. Any wrong answers will be punished.

I loved the plot, it was such an intriguing and captivating idea, a testing process that took the terms 'ambitious' and 'cut-throat' to entirely too literal levels. A testing process, whereby your memory was wiped afterwards, and all you were left with were supposedly fantastical nightmares of trying desperately to disarm a bomb. I would recommend this novel based on the plot alone.

However, I found it difficult to warm to the main character, Cia Vale. I found it annoying how she was always right, instead of a challenging test, it seemed more like an exhibition of how unfailing right she was in any situation. That being said, as the challenges progressed, and the stakes rose, and Cia started showing cracks as both her survival instincts and morality were tested, I found that I became a lot more invested in her journey. I definitely enjoyed the second half more than the first.

I would recommend The Testing to readers who enjoyed the aforementioned Hunger Games, or other  titles such as The Selection, Throne of Glass and Legend.

Overall: 7/10
Plot: 4.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Cover: 3/5


  1. WOW I can't imagine Hunger Games with an academic approach, this sound absolutely amazing! Even though the main character isn't so likeable... I probably still pick this up for the epic challenges! :)

    Alicia @ Summer Next Top Story

    1. It really was an amazing concept, hope you like it!

  2. This book sounds awesome! I got approved for it on Netgalley the day before it archived, but since there was no Send to Kindle button, that meant I had a day to read it before it disappeared, so I didn't get the chance. I can't wait to read it!!!

    1. aaww that's a shame! We'll be having a giveaway of The Testing in about a month's time so I'll keep you posted!

  3. I'm not sure about this book. The reviews have been hit or miss. I read the prequel but it didn't grab me. It felt too familiar. I may give this a chance but I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    1. I definitely understand that, the first half wasn't as attention grabbing as I'd expect from a premise that was so intense. However, the second half really makes up for it :)