Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Series: Book One in the Testing Series
Published By: Houghton Mifflin Books For Children (June 4, 2013)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Dystopian
My Rating: 4 Stars!
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.
My Thoughts and Review:
I honestly wasn't prepared for how much I was going to enjoy this story. It felt very reminiscent of the Hunger Games at first and that made me a little sad to be honest. I love the Hunger Games but I didn't want a copy of it, I wanted something more original than that.
Thankfully, I got just what I wanted. Yes there are similarities between this and The Hunger Games, but only similarities, nothing stolen, nothing copy catted. In fact, once you got down to the nitty gritty of it all there was a pretty original story line there. You just had to dig a little deep to find it but once there, it was quite the view.
I have been reading a lot of dystopians lately, maybe too many, so I wasn't exactly in the best frame of mind when I started this one. I was feeling a little burnt out on the genre and really not looking forward to reading another one. I know, I know, so not cool of me but, there you have it.
So of course you can imagine my surprise when not only did this one capture my attention, but it also managed to completely pull me out of my funk and give me something to look forward to every time I opened it up. I became pretty engrossed with the story and really warmed up to Cia. She is pretty determined, helluva smart, feisty and she questions everything, something that kept her alive throughout the Testing, and she manages to do it all without coming across as a know it all or being so obnoxious I wanted to smack her.
I have to give the author some props, this was a dang good story with an intriguing action packed plot line and some engaging characters. I never knew whom to trust and it was never clear who the good guys were and who the bad guys were, even up until the ending. I felt like the author would just bring us to the brink of figuring it all out and then pull us back with another unexpected twist or change in the storyline and once again we would have to work our way to the edge.
I love it when an author can take me by surprise and make me sad when the story is over and leave me wanting more and that is exactly what Charbonneau did and I can't wait for the next book so I can do it all over again.
*All Opinions are my own and I was in no way compensated for my review*