I read the entire Testing trilogy within a month of each other so I thought it would make sense to rate the books and the entire trilogy overall. I love reading dystopian novels. They are usually very unique and I like how each author envisions their dystonia. The novel takes place in a post-apocalyptic United States. During the 7 stages of war, the entire world was leveled due to the decisions of the leaders of the world. In order to prevent the mistakes of the past, in the new world – the United Commonwealth have decided that in order to be a leader, the best and brightest must undergo a vigorous testing and if they pass, be awarded with a University education and a successful career.
Malencia (Cia) Vale is honored to be chosen as a testing candidate. Her father a very important scientist in their community went through the testing is working very hard to revitalize their colony. Cia wants nothing more than to follow in his foot steps. Cia was chosen long with three other students from her colony, the Five Lakes. Nobody has been chosen as a testing candidate in her colony for years. Cia expected that her father would be proud of her for being chosen, but she finds out that he is distant and does not seem happy about her leaving. Before she leaves to do her test in the capital, Tosu City, he gives her a warning, “Trust no one.”
Cia is confused, does that mean she cannot trust her fellow colony residents, including Tomas , someone that Cia has a love interest in? Cia arrives in Tosu City, she meets her testing roommate from another colony. Her roommate offers her some corn cakes and tells her that if she’s hungry to please help herself. Cia remembers her father’s warning and does not eat the corn cakes and counts them. When they wake up in the morning, Cia hears her roommate’s stomach growl but notices that she does not touch the cakes. The other testing candidates from the other colonies are determined to get rid of the competition to secure their spot in the University and Cia realizes that the Testing Officials are testing them on everything and even encourages deadly solutions.
I do not want to give too many spoilers but throughout the series Cia realizes that practically everything that she goes through is a “test.” She has to trust her judgement in making allies, there’s a lot of great twists that keeps you guessing. Most of my guesses were incorrect so I think Charbonneau did a great job with her twists and keeping the reader guessing. After finishing the book, I still have questions on where the loyalties of some people lie.
Based on the description I am sure that it reminds many of you of other trilogies. I see the Testing trilogy a cross between Hunger Games, The Legends, The Mazerunner and the Giver. The book still manages to surprise me.
What I liked about Cia was that she was smart. Not only did she have a survival instinct, but she had a very mechanical brain and thought of a lot of solutions to help her survive the testing. Sometimes I thought that Cia was too perfect, but I think this played out good in the end.
Cia’s love interest is Tomas, who is from her colony. Although Tomas is an important part of her testing and survival, I never thought that they had any chemistry. I thought that Cia had better chemistry with the other characters such as Enzo or Raffe. I feel that Tomas and Cia were only together because they were from the same colony and certain events brought them closer together. I would have liked it if Cia was in a love triangle involving a guy from the Colony and Tosu City.
There are certain times that I thought that the book was a little bit farfetched. Charbonneau did a great job of providing the background and history of what happened during the 7 Stages of war but how things work now and what Cia’s role in the whole situation is a bit of a stretch. I sometimes had a hard time believing that this is what they were doing to the Testing candidates.
The book was a very easy read. Each book was about 200 pages, I think it would have been better if Charbonneau expanded her books a bit or had another book. The ending which can make or break a trilogy was acceptable but I felt it was just a summary of everything that has happened and what people were doing now. Although I did like that as I was invested in a lot of the characters, it was too brief.
Overall, this trilogy is a very good read. It is a great beach read and I actually read the first book in Panama and could not put it down. I did not even go to the pool one day because I wanted to finish reading.You can easily finish the book in one sitting if you choose to.