The Testing Trilogy by Joelle Charbonneau started out really good.
I love puzzles and I love solving puzzles, I love people who think outside of the box. Cia, the protagonist of the story, is one of those people. She’s really good at problem solving and figuring things out, and it was really interesting getting inside her head.
The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.
Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies–trust no one.
In a way it was like The Hunger Games because teenagers are pitted against one another, but I think it was more similar to Red Rising, because both The Testing and Red Rising had governments that made you think what they were doing to you were good for you and everyone, and you didn’t have to be the last person standing to win.
This trilogy is nowhere near the leagues of The Hunger Games or Red Rising though. Read on for my tarot thoughts about the book.
Review by Tarot
What I like about the book : 7 of Cups
The 7 of Cups, in a nutshell, is about being presented with many options and having to make many tough decisions. I really enjoyed that there were so many tests, puzzles, and quests. I love that Cia had to make a lot of hard decisions through her analytical and deductive skills. There were so many possible variables and options presented to us as the readers, and we just had to sit tight and see what Cia does next. The whole story really kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering who to trust and what was going to happen next.
What I disliked about the book : 10 of Pentacles
Well, I liked that the book was smart and interesting, but it wasn’t that smart, and most importantly, it didn’t give me any feels at all. One of the problems with the presentation of every other character as potentially untrustworthy is that we never really grow to like any of them. The 10 of Pentacles is about family, and I think there was a lack of that here. When it comes to books like these, the people you trust and work with become the family that you choose, and these connections are what makes the books good for me. With this book, I felt disconnected. I didn’t feel anything for anyone Cia was working with, and none of them really mattered to me.
10 of Pentacles can also signify endings of a sort, and I most definitely was disappointed with the ending of the book. It felt like a cop-out and invalidated almost everything that happened before for me.
Final thoughts : 7 of Wands
The 7 of Wands is about fighting to keep your position, and I think it represents quite accurately what Cia has to do for most of the book. She’s fighting against so many other people for a position at the college, and she has to keep fighting with every level of the test and even after that. I think it also represents that this book has to fight for a position on my favorites list. Unfortunately, that’s a fight it’s probably going to lose. I liked the book, I didn’t love it.
My Rating : 3/5