Official Stuff –
Author – Joelle Charbonneau
Pages – 310
Publisher – Houghton Mifflin
Series – The Testing
In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.
My Rating – 3 of 5 stars
This book is the 2nd in the Testing series. This review will contain spoilers for the first book.
When we last left Cia, she had survived the Testing and had her memory erased. However, before her mind was erased, she managed to record herself a message that explained what the Testing really was. Who to trust and who not to trust.
She doesn’t know what to do. She can’t let anyone know that she remembers or knows anything about the Testing. It would put her life in danger. She doesn’t know if she can trust Tomas, her boyfriend, or any of her friends.
Now, Cia has passed the Early Studies portion of her University career and is moving on to the rigorous studies of the career the University has chosen for her, Government. She is loaded up with nine classes, plus an internship, and has to pass an Induction. The Induction is a dangerous initiation that the senior students set up. Students die during this, just like in the testing. However this time their memories aren’t erased.
During all this, Cia learns that there is a rebellion forming. People are not happy with students disappearing from the University. The graduating class gets smaller every year. The President of the country is concerned and wants to remove the President of the University, but he has more supporters than she does and needs help from Cia.
Cia is being watched and she is walking a very thin line. Any sign of failure and it could cost her life.
So, I didn’t love the first book in this series but I didn’t hate it either. I had some issues with it, but the premise was interesting enough for me to continue. The University is killing students it deems unworthy. The kids that don’t quite make the grade, the ones that get too stressed out, even the ones that are TOO smart. And it’s done right under everyone’s nose. Even the families don’t know because if you are from a colony and are sent to the Testing, it’s known that you’ll never see your family again, even if you pass. You are not allowed to return to your home or really stay in contact with your family.
The issues I had with the first book are the same with this one. The writing is so dry. Very right to the point and almost robot like. You are in Cia’s head for the books and that’s how she thinks, so I guess it makes sense but I like a little flower in my reading. She also has a problem with trusting people, meaning she has been told over and over not to trust anyone yet she trusts everyone. She tells herself “I shouldn’t trust this person” but she does anyway. She’s always trying to do what is right, which is an admirable quality; however it generally gets her into trouble and makes enemies for her.
I still find her relationship with Tomas not quite believable, especially since the recording told her to be wary of him, yet she continues to date him. It’s been awhile since I read the first book but she is being watched specifically because of her behaviors during the testing, but I don’t remember her doing anything especially remarkable that would warrant the extra attention she gets from officials. They are trying to cause her to fail so they can get rid of her, yet they keep passing her along and giving her excellent marks. If they wanted to get rid of her that badly, wouldn’t make more sense just to do it? That’s how they get rid of others.
It’s not a bad sequel, it ups the stakes a bit and though I’m not particularly impressed by the writing, I am engaged in the story, so I’ll be reading the final book.