Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Series: The Testing #3
Publication Date: June 17th, 2014
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 304
Genre: Dystopian, Action, Romance
Source: Public library
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.
Literally crying of disappointment right now.
Man I was so psyched to read the final novel because this series had miraculously managed to miss out on absolutely-awful-second-novel-syndrome.
Mind you it wasn’t the best 2nd novel but usually, the last book is better than the second.
Instead it suffered from third-novel-syndrome.
This had to be the biggest disappointment I’ve had in a while.
Did I miss out on Cia’s annoying, whiny-as-fuck, pretentious voice in the last two books? Or was that just my newb attempts at reviewing novels?
But seriously. Every single thing she said annoyed me. I don’t exactly have any quotes (I had to return the book) but damn her voice annoyed me. It sounded robotic and oh-so-superior to the reader. I wanted to claw my hair out and stop reading from the very first chapter. But I continued to read hoping that it improved.
She was such a Mary-Sue in this book it wasn’t even funny. Nothing ever kills her and all of her opinions are right. Like hell they are.
And Tomas. Oh Tomas, Tomas, Tomas. You poor thing.
The romance in this book was awful. Tomas wasn’t present for 99% of the novel and every time I read about the two of them together, it felt like they were two pieces of plastic trying to hug. In other words, they didn’t click. There wasn’t enough romantic tension or build-up between the two at all. Probably because they were almost never together. It felt like an obligation and where the hell did Cia’s suspicion go? I clearly remember her talking about how she wasn’t sure if she could love him since he killed one of her friends in the first novel. But it’s nonexistent in this book.
On top of this, all of the speech patterns of the characters sound exactly the same. Sentence structure, agreement, EVERYTHING is the same from Stacey all the way to Cia’s brother.
Speaking of the characters, can I mention that all of them are so badly characterized? Some of them are incredibly shallow, so much that if they died, I felt nothing.
Bad characters aside, I had many issues with the plot itself.
How does it make any sense that it’s not okay for the government to kill but it’s perfectly okay for Cia to kill?
In no way is it justified that Cia can kill whoever she wants just because it’s not the government.
The dead body counter jumps up even higher just because of Cia. And the killing isn’t even peaceful! At one time, Cia and Tomas poison their opponents to death by burning up some deadly plants. Then they hide the bodies but please tell me how it’s logical in any way that NOBODY NOTICES. I’m fairly certain that professors would figure out that their students are missing even if the classmates don’t. And then, Cia doesn’t even get any consequences! She freaking blows up another kid with a bomb and doesn’t get in trouble!
And you’d think that the enemy would be sufficiently terrifying right?
No. I was about as scared of them as I am of sausages.
As a result, the ending felt weak and cheesy. When they beat them (and we all know that they succeed because EVERYTHING works out for Cia), Cia is all philosophical about how “it was worth it” and “now I’m working to rebuild myself” and all of that stereotypical shit.
There was also pacing issues throughout the book. The entire beginning is just Cia musing over how she needs to find people to help* her and her “tests”** for them. When she finally finds her comrades, there is half a book left for her to actually do her job. As a result, everything feels rushed and crammed into 150 pages.
*And please find some synonyms for help because I was seeing this word 1450974370932 times in each chapter.
**Which again makes NO sense because she’s trying to stop the Testings NOT make a mini-one for her own needs. Want to know the consequences of failing her test? DEATH. Humane right? And so much different from the government Testing. (Can’t you sense my sarcasm?)