#CBR6 Review #47: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Back in the late 2000s, vampires were all.the.rage. I’m glad that tide has turned, even if The Hunger Games has spawned a lot of dystopic fiction that depresses you and makes you feel that the earth’s doom is imminent. I’ve read Divergent, hated Insurgent, and never finished Allegiant. So I am curious to see how Joelle Charbonneau’s trilogy will stack up overall.

As a first book in a trilogy, The Testing is fairly engaging. Cia Vale has graduated from her formal high school education in the Five Lakes Colony, and is about to find out if she qualifies for The Testing, a series of tests in the capitol of Tosu City to find out if she qualifies for a university education (There’s a lot of finding out in this series). Of course, once she finds out she qualifies for The Testing, she begins to understand the dark side of The Testing. Her father had a university degree and realized that out of the hundred or so who entered, only twenty went to university–and no one knew what happened to the rest. So he tells her to trust no one, and so begins the cat-and-mouse game that is (for me) the most intriguing part of the book.

I wasn’t super fond of the romantic lead, Tomas, but there’s an interesting plot twist that I won’t spoil for you and that I hope gets fleshed out in the second book. Tomas is, obviously, handsome and mysterious and Cia trusts him (of course). I admit, after the unconventional Peeta, Tomas is a bit bland and cliche. So we’ll see how he unfolds in the second book.

If you like dystopic YA fiction, you’ll most likely be engaged in this novel. I have no idea how the trilogy will play out, but I hope it turns out better than the Divergent trilogy. No, I didn’t finish, but The Chancellor did–the nice thing about marriage is that you can make your partner spoil a book you don’t want to read for you. 🙂

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