I have finally finished The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau, I know that this has been on my currently reading pile for a while; for some reason I stopped reading The Testing less than 100 pages from the end and I was so mad at myself for taking nearly 2 months to then pick it back up again. I had planned to finish the series this week and then I realised that I never reached the end (even though I had predicted how it was going to end, because the rest of the series gives it away) but then I had to finish the first instead.
Enough explanation as to why this has taken so long.
So The Testing is a dystopian novel set in a world where the world has been destroyed and those who finish school in their own village they are compared and the top number of students basically compete to get into the only university left in the country. The story follows Malencia Vale who has graduated from her school and chosen to go to the testing for a university placement; only when it is time to leave her father tells her stories from his testing and nothing is what it seems. From then danger, death, and truly terrifying tests of knowledge, endurance, and intelligence ensue.
Do you possess a winning combination of theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and raw intelligence?
Do you have what it takes to lead others?
Are you willing to crush those who stand in your way?
Every year, the United Commonwealth invites top graduates from each colony to participate in the testing. Successful candidates will go on to the university and help the government rebuild our war-stricken world.
This process is not optional.
Disclaimer: The United Commonwealth is not responsible for candidates’ psychological or physical health during The Testing.
Although this took me quite a while to pick back up, when combining how long it took me to read the first bit and then the last 100 pages, I flew through this. You are introduced to some well-developed characters and interesting plots; there is some romancing happening in this book but it definitely doesn’t play a large role in the story. In fact, this story is pretty much survival.
I liked the pacing of this book, the final challenge does take up the majority of the second half of the book, with very little in the way of resolution after the big climax. Like I mentioned earlier, there is some predictability about this book; especially when you consider that it is highly compared to The Hunger Games by Susan Collins, so you expect that there is going to be some weird and strange deaths that happen. It does have a similar feel to The Hunger Games as I read it, how the characters reacted, banded together, worked through problems; it felt like sometimes I was reading an alternative competition but with Peeta and Katnis.
The writing wasn’t eloquent and flowery, often being really direct. If you are not fond of telling instead of showing, you may struggle with the writing; there is a large amount of telling especially when considering the main characters emotions.
As this is the start of a trilogy, you expect several open plot points at the end of the book; there are tonnes in this which I am hoping will be explored and wrapped up nicely over the next two books. I do plan on picking up the rest of the series relatively quickly because I think there are things about this book that can be forgotten; with the main plot of surviving and thriving in the main test being the focal point, other smaller plots can be forgotten about.
I do have high hopes for the rest of this series!