I have absolutely zero self control when it comes to dystopian books. I just have this urge to read any dystopian book I can get my hands on and often I end up extremely disappointed. So many authors are trying to capitalize off the success of The Hunger Games and so their books turn out to be very mediocre. The Testing is essentially a wanna-be, it tries so hard to be the next Hunger Games yet it ultimately fails.
The Testing is about a test that will determine whether or not you can go to University. This sounds like an awesome idea but it turns out this extreme standardized test has already been done before and way better (ex: Legend). Next up we have a protagonist who is very one dimensional and suffers from lack of development. I was pretty apathetic and didn't care for Cia at all. Next up we have a love interest whose whole demeanor screamed "Peeta impostor" in my mind. Cia and Tomas's relationship was awfully similar to Katniss and Peeta's romance, there is even a moment that reminded me of the cave scene from The Hunger Games.
The problem with The Testing is that it's pretty tedious and at times it felt like a chore. It's not a good sign when all of your homework is done and you're avoiding the book you're reading. The first half of The Testing (or so) is literally dialogue and Cia taking written exams. The dialogue isn't even witty or entertaining, sometimes the reader wasn't even informed what actually was said. There were so many times in The Testing when instead of saying verbatim what the character said, Charbonneau just tells the reader what they were talking about. The dialogue that was in The Testing was pretty basic and was nothing special at all.
The relationships between the characters were extremely underdeveloped and I didn't care for any of the characters. I don't even remember any of the characters' names (except Cia) because they were so bland and unremarkable. I even had to look up what Cia's love interest was named which is very sad! I remember the characters from books that I read years and years ago, yet I couldn't remember the names of the characters from this book. Nothing stood out to me about these characters because they never really caught my attention.
The romance in this book is extremely awkward and badly done. Cia and Tomas's relationship is built on absolutely nothing and they have zero chemistry at all. The fact that they are from the same area and that they are both taking The Testing, doesn't mean that they have to fall in love with each other. I didn't even understand why Cia and Tomas even liked each other because there was no spark between them. I'm not sure why the author included a romance, my guess is to conform with the generic dystopian mold.
The Testing has some shoddy world-building and I had zero idea how The United Commonwealth was formed. The United Commonwealth was a total mystery to me and I feel like I knew nothing about it at all. To tell you the truth, if there was any world building I'm not sure I would have even cared because I was so bored with this book. I wanted to Charbonneau to make me care about the world she created but she never did.
The Testing isn't absolutely terrible, there a few good things about it. The ending of this book is actually executed surprisingly well and I loved the final action sequences. The author set up the sequel in an extremely interesting way but I don't really have any interest in reading the sequel. (I probably won't read it, but I'm not ruling out the possibility that I will read it). The only thing I didn't like about the ending was the extremely obvious setting up of a love triangle; does every book really need a love triangle? I'm getting sick and tired of all these love triangles because most of them are done so poorly.
I'm pretty confident that The Testing will become a popular book and will sell extremely well. The Testing already has received a starred from Publisher's Weekly and so many bloggers are obsessed with this book. I'm in the minority who didn't enjoy this book; maybe I have read way too many dystopian books. I feel like the dystopian genre can no longer surprise me because so many authors like Charbonneau are just recycling concepts that been done a thousand times over.
If you're looking to read a great dystopian book, The Testing is not for you.
-The author ends the book in a way that makes you want to read the sequel.