Thursday, March 6, 2014
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Title: The Testing
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Published: August 1, 2013
Genre: Young Adult / Dystopia
'The Testing' follows the story of a young teenage girl named Malencia Vale, or 'Cia' Vale as she prefers to be called, in the United Commonwealth, aka a run down version of what we know as the United States. Graduation day bears upon her, and she is forced to cope with nightmare-turned-realities of becoming an adult in a distressed world. After Graduation, Cia is then chosen to participate in the Testing, the process through which future leaders are decided, but not without a cost. It's a really exciting book with a very familiar but awesome-all-the-same story.
First of all, let's just get it out in the open, the awkward similarities between The Testing and a few other, very popular Young Adult Dystopians. The Hunger Games trilogy in particular. If you had The Hunger Games read before starting into this one, it probably won't be very hard to spot how alike they both are. The whole 'Testing' process resembled the Games in a handful of ways, especially the forth stage. The protagonist Cia, is a lot like Katniss, in her character traits and her abilities. Even interactions between Cia and her love interest, Tomas, seemed all too familiar. It all really bugged me because I expected it to be something new and really unique.
Surprisingly though, the similarities weren't what I disliked most about the book. It was the freaking characters! I say this with all due respect, but the character development, if any, was flat and forced and negligent and near non-existent. Even setting apart the whole similarities thing, I felt like most, if not all, of the characters were 2-dimensional, which made it really difficult to become invested.
Cia's heroism and perfect-ness are shoved down your throat and you're expected to just be okay with it, which I definitely wasn't. There was no development, no growth in character at all. Every obstacle in her way, throughout the book, was dealt with almost effortlessly and it just didn't seem like she was a credible character. Tomas is equally underdeveloped, and uninteresting for the most part. He's the perfect example of a 'love you always' kind of guy, who comes off as irritating and way too overprotective to everyone but the person he's fallen in love with. Their relationship just did not click for me.
The only characters I sort of enjoyed reading about, were Zandri and Cia's Father, but we don't see much of either. All the other characters were either too underdeveloped to be appreciated, or created too melodramatically to be appreciated *cough* Will *cough*.
While I did really dislike the characters, I loved the story. Again, regarding this book as an individual, without all the similarities to other books, it's actually really entertaining! The concept in general is very dystopian-esque, and really interesting, and though the world building kinda lacked in a few places, especially the history of the United Commonwealth, it was still an enthralling read. For the most part anyway. I loved reading about how the Testing worked, the Four stages, the effects on people's lives. And the survival of the Forth stage. I do wish the subplot with Cia and the old man could have been expanded on, because I have a feeling it'll play a big part in the later books, but oh well!
'The Testing' could have been so much more than it was and it was disappointing, but on the bright side, it was still a fun read!
Sorry for the lack of posts this week guys, I literally had no spare time at all! Hopefully I won't be as busy next week though! Haha
Thanks for reading