In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor Cia Vale vows to fight. But she can't do it alone. This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for - but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves - and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.
The Testing Series has been a roller coaster for me. Cia Vale has been a strong character and the politics have been well placed and developed. Unfortunately, the second book and the first half of the third novel were the best parts. The ending didn't quite hit it for me.
Not jumping the gun, the plot twists were unbelievable. Things the reader wouldn't have questioned since Book 1 were answered and explained and it's terrifyingly heartbreaking. Not only that, but characters come back who haven't played a major plot role since Book 1 and even by the end their motives remain puzzling, but in a good way.
The ending lacked the political punch I expected. Granted the mission carried out by Cia should have come to an end with more talking and less fighting (which is what I assumed is what would happen based on her character), the talking fell flat. I wanted less twists and turns and more straight shooting. It reminded me of the third Pirates of the Caribbean film where each main character was following five different paths to throw off the other characters.
Basically, there was too much planning for one conclusion; it could have been simpler and still been impactful. Cia matures so wonderfully, and it's hard because the entire series follows an eight month timeline but I still wanted this 16 year-old to act like a 27 year-old. I had to keep reminding myself that this was YA and so having her mature the way she does was something I needed to be grateful for (and something Katniss could learn a thing or two from).
Overall, I would recommend The Testing Series to anyone who is a fan of dystopian novels. If you're a fan of the other popular choices out right now, you'll eat this up. If you're more of a specific dystopian fan, than this series might not be the one for you. It can be a little dystopia-stereotyped at times, but I don't regret reading it for a second. Charbonneau knows how to write and kill a character that makes it feel like you just lost your best friend.
Rating: 4 / 5 Colonies
If you're interested, you can find the paperback here or the digital copy here.