Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Book Series: The Testing, Book #1
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Genres: Dystopian, YA
Format: eBook
Length: 336 Pages

My Ranking:

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.

I completely devoured this book. I had been hearing the good reviews for weeks, so I thought I'd try it out. Richly deserved; this book is stellar!

After reading the first chapter, I knew I was going to love this book. The suspense starts immediately as Cia is chosen for The Testing. The intrigue builds as her father reveals some disturbing memories of his experience and warns her to "trust no one." I was hooked!

Then, of course, there is Cia and my first impression of her is strong, capable, observant and adaptable. Perfect for a heroine in this type of dystopian society. It would be easy to assume she's a Katniss Everdeen character and this is a nod to The Hunger Games, but there is something different about this story. It felt more sinister. The feeling of "there is something creepy beneath the surface" immediately clenches in your gut and never eases - it just continues to grow as Cia learns more and more about what she's been thrown into.

The more I read the more intense and sinister the book got. It was like there was this scary monster that you could just see over your shoulder that got bigger and bigger with every flip of the page. It made for an amazing read.

It wouldn't be right for me to go into too much detail about this book. It's something you have to experience for yourself. It's just freaking amazing. I am lying here at 4 a.m. having just finished and also, yes, having to go to work in a few hours but it just grabbed me and wouldn't let me go.

I don't think this is the authors first book or series, so I will definitely be checking out more from her. I already downloaded the novella, so expect a review from that as well before the week is over. This book was a fantastic first for a series and had all the elements that I love: well-developed characters; a strong female lead with a conscious; a unique voice; a gripping plot; and fantastic pacing from start to finish!

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