Release Date: August 2, 2013
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Sixteen-year-old Cia Vale is honoured to be chosen for The Testing – a series of exams set by the United Commonwealth that selects the brightest young adults to become leaders of their war- stricken world. But when candidates start disappearing and Cia witnesses unimaginable horrors done in the United Commonwealth’s name it becomes clear that these are no ordinary exams, and Cia is forced to realise the truth: this is no longer about winning, but surviving.
Despite the fact that The Testing is has taken so much from The Hunger Games, I did enjoy it and couldn't put it down! Unlike The Hunger Games, it does have its own quirks, unique sub-plots and characters. I give this book high points for its action and fast-paced storyline, but it scores low for originality.
The Testing is a series of exams from the government that determines whether you have what it takes to go on to help them rebuild their world which has been left in ruins by war. Cia is chosen for The Testing, and so is her childhood friend Tomas; they aren't super close, but they know each other well enough to trust each other. But the government are hiding something, and they realise that winning the Testing might not be the end to all their problems.
So you can kind of see how The Testing has taken quite a lot from THG: the idea of the government, or the United Commonwealth in this case, not being entirely honest, the idea of the characters' relationships (Katniss and Peeta/Cia and Tomas), the idea of a big group of people that want to rebel against the government, etc.
Thankfully, Charbonneau does add her own ideas into the book as well to not make it a carbon copy of THG. The exams in the Testing process really intrigued and kept me on the edge of my seat. Especially one of the tests that involved all the candidates to find their way out of a dangerous and beast-infested wasteland. Yep, that was one of the best parts of the book!
Cia shares Katniss' strong and courageous personality. She is ready for almost anything and thinks everything over very carefully. I enjoyed her relationship with Tomas, as well. In the first half, everything went at a steady pace, but in the second half... that's where things start heating up for the two. No complaints here!
Even though I enjoyed the plot and what the characters had to offer, I'm going to have to dock some points for originality. I do believe that the author has more to give. Her writing style is very likable, and some of her ideas that she added into the book are original enough for me to think that she CAN come up with something completely her own. It makes me sad that she has taken so much from a previous very successful dystopian novel for her YA debut to be noticed.
The Testing is bursting with twists and turns. Danger is around every corner, so action and tension is never lacking. The book ended on a pretty good cliffhanger, setting itself up well for the sequel that I actually can't wait to get my hands on.
A review copy was provided by Templar Publishing