Posts Tagged ‘the testing’

Independent Study is the followup to Charbonneau’s The Testing in which young protagonist Cia Vale survived the gruelling life or death competition to secure a place at her society’s university.  The society in which Cia lives is struggling to emerge after many years of devastation, both natural and man made and the graduates of the university are expected to provide leadership to their communities.  When we left Cia at the end of The Testing she was just beginning to understand what had happened during The Testing and the depth of her society’s betrayal of its young people.  She must decide what to do with that information and whom to trust.

I will start by saying that while Independence Day is a good book, I did not enjoy it as much as The Testing.  Perhaps that’s not too surprising – the second book in a trilogy (Graduation Day, the third and final book in the series is due out later this summer) is often the most challenging for a writer in terms of keeping narrative tension and the plot moving.

What I liked

The characters.  I continued to be engaged by Cia and her story.  I find her a smart, level headed heroine and I liked that she considered any issue deeply before acting.  I do wonder though if this considered analysis before acting may be a major flaw for her in book three.  I also appreciated the fact that any love interest didn’t turn her brains to mush as is too often the case with YA heroines.

The setting and concept.  Generally speaking I liked the dystopian/Hunger Games setting of this series.  I liked the moral dilemma in which it places Cia in this book.  I did have an issue with the government’s so casually condemning many of its top young people to death and wasting their talents at a time when the society is struggling to survive.  I still didn’t feel that was adequately explained in either of the books.

Interactions between the students.  I enjoyed the developments of the relationships between the students.  I liked the introduction of the Tosu City students to the mix – I felt that added an interesting dynamic to the story.

What I didn’t like

Lack of focus.  My biggest issue with Independent Study was the lack of focus.  I found it often unclear what Cia was trying to achieve in this book.  Was her goal simply to survive the induction (a sort of mini-Testing)?  Was it to aid the rebels by finding proof of the reality of the Testing?  Was it to obtain a good internship so that she could work against the Testing from the inside?  Personally, I feel it would have had a stronger narrative if some of these subplots had been removed.

All in all though I did enjoy Independent Study and will certainly check out Graduation Day when it’s released this summer.  I look forward to reading how Cia’s story continues.

I gave Independent Study three and a half stars out of five.

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As I am moving onto a month of nightshift work this week, I will be primarily listening to audiobooks.  I’ve used Amazon’s Matchmaker page to pair up some of the books in my TBR with Audible books so I might be able to get through some of them.

This week has been more of a re-reading week in preparation for some upcoming new releases.  The first of these was Sapphire Blue from Kerstin Gier’s Gem Trilogy.


I have read all three books in the Gem Trilogy, although the third one I read in German some while ago – I shared my thoughts in my Emerald Green review.  My German is good, but I’m sure I’ll have missed a few things, so I am looking forward to reading Anthea Bell’s translation which is excellent.  Having compared the translations of the two earlier books, she has really captured Gwyneth’s spirit and humour.  As it’s been a while, I’m rereading Sapphire Blue to refresh my memory before jumping into Emerald Green.  I’d forgotten just how adorable Gwyneth is!

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Pages: 544 pages
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Next week the third and final book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, Allegiant, is released, so once again I did a reread.  I loved the continuation of Tris’ story, and also learning more about some of the other factions.  It was interesting that it raised questions that were only glossed over in Divergent.  Just what IS beyond the fence?  I am very much looking forward to Allegiant, as I’m sure many of you are too.  One of the themes of the trilogy is choice and how it affects your life.  I wonder what choices Tris will have to make in book three?  Roth has said that part of Tris’ journey is learning when and when not to make the ultimate sacrifice.  She chose not to die in Insurgent, which makes me rather worried for her fate in Allegiant…

Another trilogy I’m pretty excited about is Joelle Charbonneau’s The Testing.  For those of you unfamiliar with this series, it’s a YA dystopian series in a similar vein to The Hunger Games.  Check out my review.  Book one was released earlier this year and I’m really looking forward to book two.  Charbonneau left our protagonist in a very interesting place and I’m interested in seeing how it progresses.  If the trilogy’s Facebook page gets over 1000 likes, the publisher will release an excerpt of book two, Independent Study.  I encourage you to go and click, and while you’re at it, if you could Like Scottish Bookworm in Quebec’s FB page too, that would be fantastic.

Added to my library this week

Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope in Audible format.  I saw that this is being narrated by Kate Reading, one of my favourite narrators, so I just had to snap that up in preorder.  This is Trollope’s updating of Austin’s Sense and Sensibility, and having loved Bernie Su’s vlog updates of Pride and Prejudice and Emma, I’m intrigued to see how Trollope does this.

Also in Audible format, I picked up Hades Daughter, Book 1 of Sarah Douglass’s The Troy Game.  I loved the series, even though it didn’t get the greatest of reviews.  It’s worth checking out in Kindle format as only the first book is available on Audible.

I also added Prodigy, book two of Marie Lu’s Legend series in both Audible and Kindle formats as well as Never Fade, the sequel to Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds, also in both Audible and Kindle formats.

This week I discovered Amazon’s Matchmaker page which shows which books in your library can be paired up with Audible books at a (considerably) reduced cost.  It’s definitely worth checking out.

What books are you planning to read this week or have you used the Matchmaker page?  Let me know in the comments.

I received a free review copy of The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau through Netgalley, and here are my thoughts.

The Testing tells the story of Cia Vale from a small village struggling to survive in a post apocalyptic future. The government invites Cia to undergo testing for admittance to the University, an opportunity which could change her life and that of her community. It soon becomes apparent that this is not an invitation Cia can refuse, and that she will become involved in a struggle for her very survival.

It is very difficult to read this book without comparing it to Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games. Many of the same themes are there: dystopian society struggling after a cataclysmic war; young teens forced by an all-powerful government to compete to the death in a competition for a marvelous prize; heroine torn between two loves; shadowy rebel forces attempting to overthrow the government.

What I didn’t like

I felt at times this borrowed too heavily from The Hunger Games. The premise is very similar, and many of the same themes are explored.

Again, comparing The Testing to The Hunger Games, I felt the setup was lacking somewhat. In The Hunger Games, the government’s motivation for the Games is crystal clear; it’s a method of control. I struggle to see where Charbonneau is going in her setup. It is made clear that the post apocalyptic society is struggling to maintain population levels, so it seems very strange that the government would choose to cull a significant number of young people who could otherwise have made a positive contribution to the society. However, as this is just the first novel in the series I’m prepared to give the author a pass on this, on the understanding that this will be explained more fully in future books.

On the other hand, I felt the slow breadcrumbs trail hinting at the danger of the Testing was very well done.

What I liked

I found the heroine Cia to be very well written and engaging. Although she is a teenager, she has a good head on her shoulders and acts sensibly and thoughtfully in the situations in which she finds herself. She does have a tendency to trust where she should perhaps be more wary, but her thought processes are well described, so you can see her trusting as a risk she did consider. This makes her a much more engaging heroine than say Twilight’s Bella.

The love triangle was also very subtly and well written. Clearly, in this novel, the heroine’s first priority is survival, but enough groundwork was laid that this will become an interesting theme for future books. The whole question of who should she trust will be fun to explore.

The setup for book two is very intriguing. Cia will be in a very different situation, and I look forward to seeing how she handles it. It will also move it well away from Hunger Games territory, which can only be to the good.

In summary

If you enjoyed The Hunger Games or Divergent it would certainly be worth your while picking up The Testing.

I gave The Testing four stars out of five.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

Hello, I’m sorry for the long delay in an entry. It’s been a crazy month or so with a trip to Scotland, a visit to Texas and a current extended stay in a Quebec emergency room with a seriously infected leg.

There are a few posts I’m planning to share. One on the The Testing Book One in The Testing Trilogy. by Joelle Charbonneau kindly given to me for review via Netgalley. This is a YA distopian novel and worth picking up. Full review soon.

I also plan to write about my experience with Tepp Wireless and as an Anglophone in the Quebec emergency health system

Just don’t expect these posts next week, OK!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.