Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The Testing - Joelle Charbonneau
Expected publication: June 2013
It is no small secret that I am a bit of a dystopian junkie, so when I had the chance to read a galley of The Testing from Netgalley, I jumped all over it. The first book in a new trilogy, a strong female main character, did I mention it was dystopian? GIMME.
I was not disappointed.
Cia Vale has spent her entire life dreaming about being selected to attend University after graduation. The world is rebuilding after the Seven Stages War and the University is where the brightest and best go to become leaders. Growing up in the Five Lakes, Cia is more than aware of the fact that there hadn't been a candidate chosen from her sector in many many years, and when the graduation ceremony finishes just as it has in previous years, it looks as though nothing had changed.
Until it does.
Cia and three other new Five Lakes graduates are selected and they are given 24 hours to pack and say goodbye to their families.
I know, I know...this sounds sooooo much like The Hunger Games. In fact, for the first little bit, that was all I could think of. Cia = Katniss. I kept waiting for her to bust out the bow and arrow...and while there IS a crossbow involved, it doesn't belong to Cia.
As I continued to read, I found myself focusing more on the story itself rather than the similarities. I was completely drawn in and The Testing began to stand solidly on its own. It is no surprise that Cia is a smart smart girl, yet she is not perfect. The Testing is difficult physically, mentally, emotionally - and what I particularly liked about this story is that the author doesn't make Cia immune to the challenge. She struggles. She doubts. She questions everything - both what she encounters with each new day and what she thought she already knew. Her character is believable.
Especially knowing that she has a weakness for dimples and a crooked smile. Hello, Tomas!
Being the first book in a trilogy, The Testing ends in a bit of a cliffie - yet it wasn't so dramatic that I wanted to throw things and scream about the wait. It was in the right place...there was enough closure to make me feel like the book was over yet enough left out there that I am anxiously awaiting the next installment.
Well done, Ms. Charbonneau. You passed the test. (I know, I know...I couldn't resist!)
You can learn more about The Testing here.