The Testing

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By: Joelle Charbonneau

Narrated by: Elizabeth Morton

This was an interesting, engaging, dystopian story in the vein of Divergent and Hunger Games. In fact, more than once, I was reminded of those two stories, but there is more than enough unique material in this story to give it creds of its own.

When Valencia is selected to go on to the University, and the selection process the precedes it, to become one of the leaders of the new world, her father’s words haunt her: Trust no one. It doesn’t take long for her to find out why.

The brutal new world that exists is harsh, polluted, and twisted – in more ways than one. The Seven Stages of War destroyed life as everyone knew it, and from the ashes rose the United Commonwealth. Valencia (called Cia) read all about it in her history books – everything is now a distant memory. Things are different now – or are they?

Brainwashing, murder, betrayal, and a risky love affair leave Cia constantly double-guessing and questioning even herself as she is under constant scrutiny and threat throughout the Testing. She is constantly reminded of her father’s parting words: Trust no one.

But that is not who Cia is. She trusts these people around her, the smiling faces and easy jokes. Part of her is aloof as she starts to see through the cracks and into the inner workings, but despite constant warnings, Cia believes in those closest to her, even to the point of risking her own life for them.

As the Testing becomes more and more dangerous, Cia has to find ways to survive. With forbidden help coming from all angles, Cia is a shoo-in for the final selection, but will she actually make the cut, or will her sharp senses betray her?

You have to read this one to find out!

The ending left even me double-guessing and a little surprised. The story was a contrast, jumping between giving almost too much detail and moving along slowly, to fast forwarding and skimming over stuff that I would think was important. This one story had almost enough material for a full trilogy packing into one book! I do think this one was worth it, though. I already reserved and started the second book in the series, so look for the review for that, coming soon!

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