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The Testing #3

Graduation Day

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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.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published June 17, 2014

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About the author

Joelle Charbonneau

32 books2,507 followers
I am a storyteller at heart. I have performed in a variety of operas, musical theatre and children's theatre productions across the Chicagoland area.

While I'm happy to perform for an audience, I am equally delighted to teach private voice lessons and use my experience from the stage to create compelling characters on the page. I am the author of the Rebecca Robbins mystery series (Minotaur Books), The Paige Marshall Glee Club mysteries (Berkley) and The Testing YA triology (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

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5 stars
9,026 (28%)
4 stars
11,164 (35%)
3 stars
8,110 (25%)
2 stars
2,410 (7%)
1 star
491 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,330 reviews
Profile Image for Kathleen Lanman.
84 reviews
June 25, 2014
Very disappointing ending to the series. There were so many little things that irritated in this book. Her magical, omnipresent bag of holding, for example. It's always there, and it contains anything and everything. At one point I thought the bag was the author having a sly joke with the reader, but I think that was wishful thinking.

Nobody behaved in ways that made sense. Why would a national leader put a child in charge of a violent uprising? For that matter, the whole testing system makes no sense, regardless of past history. It would be like if the most talented kids competed for the chance to get into the Hunger Games, and the winners got to be president. How is this a valid method to identify leadership skills? And why would Cia trust any leaders who had been chosen through this process? No matter how many times Cia justified the value of the testing, I just couldn't accept it. Why did Cia and the rebels not just spread the truth? I have a hard time believing most of the society would be cool with all their best and brightest being killed off in the hopes of identifying new sociopaths to lead the nation.

The use of technology doesn't make sense, either. They can alter genes and use hovercars, but haven't invented a telephone or train to connect the colonies? Cia seems to have access to all the materials needed to create communication devices and weapons. Why has no one invented mass communication?
Profile Image for Just a Girl Fighting Censorship.
1,831 reviews112 followers
December 13, 2014

This final book in the series, which up until this point had been decent, was abysmal; it was just absolutely terrible. I read the first two books in a few days but I almost had to pin my eyelids open to get through this one.

Here's a content breakdown:

50% - Talking about what to do again and again and...

The President gives Cia an assignment. Cia spends several chapters coming up with a plan that we then have to listen to her tell Tomas...and then Stacia...and then Raffe...and Zeen. Then they have to come up with a new plan and the cycle continues...

25% - Racap

We get a recap of what happened in the last two books. We get a recap about what happen in the last chapter. Seriously, the average reader does not have dementia. The constant recapping serves no purpose other than to act as filler.

15% - Cia is taking things out of her backpack

5%- Cia is putting things into her backpack

The bag is practically a main character. For every problem that Cia encounters, you can guarantee that the solution will be coming out of her backpack. How big is this fricken bag?!

4% - Build up

There are a few moments when you think Okay, finally something is going to happen....this is where it's going to get good and then....it never does.

1% - Something actually happens

The action of this story is so fleeting that it's over before you realize that it began.

Blink and you miss it! Everything is resolved so quickly I actually had to page back to see if I missed something.

The big reveals in this book were laughable. The 300 pages could have told the same story in 100, and that's being generous. How can a series that starts out with such promise go so terribly wrong?! What happened?

In my opinion, the author didn't have a clear vision. The history of the world she created was foggy at best, it was just derivative of other books and stories with nothing unique or noteworthy about it to make it special or interesting. Her characters were flat and just as uninteresting.

I didn't care if the Testing ended. I didn't care if Tomas and Cia ended up together. I didn't care if they both died, I was actually kind of hoping they would! All of the interesting characters are underdeveloped or abandoned (Will, Stacia, Raffe).

Overall, there just wasn't enough story here to cover 3 books. I was bored out of my mind and took no pleasure in reading this final installment. Usually I would say if you've made it this far through a series you might as well finish it out, I mean, I actually read all of the Fifty Shades of Grey books. This series is an exception. Read the first book if you must but then you can just quit. There is no need to continue.

Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,125 followers
May 10, 2017
Well, thank God we have Cia in the future because she seems to be the lone possible savior of the entire world. Literally. Even the president needs this teenage girl to save what is left of the country because she has not one other person in all of her government that can do what Super Cia can do! So, don't worry for our future, kids, Cia is on the case!

Seriously, I've read some annoyingly too good at everything characters before, but Cia takes the cake. I really liked The Testing, and enjoyed Independent Study, but I struggled with this one a bit. The fact that Cia is given a job to save the country, basically, by the president, makes no sense. But, hey, it's fiction, so I guess that's just part of what we are supposed to accept.

Another thing that was disappointing in this book was the amount of time that Cia spent thinking things through. Pages and pages of thinking things through. I get that she was under a lot of pressure - you know, saving the world and all, but do we really need to read her every thought? Less thinky thinky, more do-y do-y.

The ending was meh. Super Cia is a bit of a selfish girlfriend. I guess that is her great weakness. All superheroes have them. But, she knows that she can't possibly NOT be important anymore. That just wouldn't be okay. She is said to be 5'1 in the book, I'm guessing most of that is head.
Profile Image for Jamie.
107 reviews23 followers
June 26, 2014
I just can't get past the Mary Sue main character. She seems to have an intimate knowledge of EVERYTHING, so she never has to ask people questions or consult books. She is the only trustworthy person in the entire novel, so much so that the president asked her alone to commit the act that would prevent a war, with no other plan to fall back on. She won't accept help from anyone else because she doesn't have faith in anyone but herself. Oh and she also has superhuman strength because with the amount of shit she keeps putting in her bag, she would have to in order to be able to drag that thing around everywhere with such little effort.

I really enjoyed the first book when I read it as an ARC, but the issue with this series is that you get so excited about what's going to happen next that you don't notice the crappy character building and writing. Everyone who gave these books a good rating should reread the novels now that they know what happens. It's a real eye opener.
Profile Image for Rachel Maniacup.
153 reviews80 followers
October 28, 2015
Reading the final book in a trilogy,most of all in dystopian is always a dread for me (especially after having read the Divergent series),'cause I never wanted to experience any more frustrations after having read an awesome starting of the series,when at the final book,you'll only be devastated on the series'ending!?that sucks big time!

So to be honest,I want to tell you that I enjoyed reading this book,but not as much as I enjoyed the first two books in this series.

In this final book,Cia was given a big responsibility she never expected.And that responsibility who put it on her,surprised her even more. The task that was given to her is to find a way to get rid of the highest ranking officials of the Testing,so they could finally stop the whole process of the Testing. But I felt like Cia had fallen out of her character a bit,that her being indecisive here made me worry if she would be able to save her friends,and her entire country.

I just wish that there should have been more to this book,because I felt like the story had more to say,especially when there was a huge twist at the ending..I wanted more,really!

All in all,this is still a good ending to this series that I highly reccomend to anyone who's a fan of dystopian genre.^^
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,014 reviews1,051 followers
September 29, 2014
Okay...as much as I would like to tell you that the finale to this dystopian series wouldn't end in a rebellion, I couldn't tell you that because that is exactly the direction of the entire series.

Having said that though, I am still satistfied with the outcome of the story and that is saying much especially when it comes to a dystopian series finale.
Profile Image for Blaine.
728 reviews579 followers
February 7, 2023
Graduation Day was a much better ending to the Testing trilogy than I expected. There are at least two unexpected plot twists. Cia is forced to confront more complex leadership questions than in the first two books, and as a result, this book was not as repetitive as the last one. It’s still not as good of a series as the Hunger Games, but it’s about as good as the Divergent trilogy, and significantly better than the Maze Runner trilogy.
Profile Image for Isabel.
201 reviews7 followers
August 31, 2016
Oh dear Lord, this was seriously a let-down. The first two books? Fantastic. Action packed. Loved them.

This one? Boooooooring.

I was stuck between finishing what I'd started and setting it down because of how boring it was. Only a few pages in, I knew it was already not as good as the first two.

**There are a few spoilers from here I suppose. Just don't read more if you haven't read it yet.**

As someone else has already pointed out, why in the heck would a president put a teenage girl in charge of everything? Yeah, I get that she's the "only one" the president can trust, or something. Sure. Whatever. But there's no way in heck she'd put everything on Cia.

Also, the entire story went so dang slow! It took Cia about ten pages just to think through one problem and then it took another twenty for her to decide who she can tell.

And then, on top of that, there's so much guessing going on. Like, is this person trustworthy? No? Wait, yes? No? And many characters were made to seem like they weren't trustworthy, when they actually were the entire time. I understand having a little mystery, but it's just ridiculous in this book.

The first two were great, like I said, but I can't give this book more than two stars without feeling like I'm totally lying to someone.
Profile Image for annelitterarum.
206 reviews1,368 followers
August 2, 2021
J’hésite avec 1 parce que ce troisième tome est vraiment tombé dans mes clichés de la dystopie et n’était pas vraiment nécessaire☹️ un peu déçue car à l’époque j’avais ADORÉ le premier tome mais malheureusement je crois que c’est la pente descendante jusqu’à la fin de la saga, et c’est sûr que le fait que j’aille attendu 5 ans pour la finir n’a pas aidé mais bon… je vous conseille malgré tout le 1er tome😬
Profile Image for Jaylia3.
752 reviews129 followers
October 30, 2014
Graduation Day begins in high tension, right where Independent Study left off, but within the first few pages author Joelle Charbonneau manages to weave in a review of the previous two books in the series without diminishing the tautness or velocity of this final entry in The Testing trilogy--very helpful for readers like me who have had a wait between volumes to finish the story. Cia has just discovered a shocking truth about the rebellion meant to bring down the Testing--a ruthless elimination process for future leaders of their post-global-disaster society--but when she brings that information to the President of the United Commonwealth hoping to discharge her responsibility, she is instead given a terrible but crucial task, one she’s not sure she has the heart to accept.

At the beginning of the first book (The Testing) Cia is living with her family in The Five Lakes Colony of the United Commonwealth--the area that before the Seven Stages War was the Great Lakes region of the United States--but she’s proud to have been chosen to go to the capital city Tosu (formerly Wichita) for Testing, an “honor” so brutal and deadly that candidates who survive have their memories of it wiped afterwards. In the second book (Independent Study) Cia attends the autocratic university designed to train society leaders, and while there is less overt violence in this part of the story, pervasive threats and power struggles between students mean there is no less tension. The second book is more thought provoking than its predecessor, spending time on the relative merits of big government vs. a libertarian society, and this final book of the trilogy combines the strengths of both previous books. It has the ramped up action of the first book, but it doesn’t leave the deeper issues of the second book behind--making it a great finish.

If you’ve read The Hunger Games you’ll notice some similarities, but I’ve enjoyed Charbonneau’s series more. The premise makes more sense to me--instead of sadistic surrender terms, the horrific trials young people go through are meant to winnow out the weak while selecting future leaders, and though Cia wants to eliminate the Testing she’s sometimes torn because in spite or maybe because of its brutality the Testing has been largely successful at its mission. War and environmental catastrophes wiped out most of humanity and almost destroyed the planet, but leaders selected through the kill-or-be-killed Testing process have proven they can make the tough decisions needed for survival.

I love the vividly written, the post-catastrophe Midwest setting of The Testing trilogy and the detailed history and science of the world building. Cia is both capable and caring--she’s a tinkerer and good with the stripped down tech of her world so she makes a great main character. In the first book too many of her actions were influenced by a budding romance for my taste, but though that relationship has continued in the second and this third book Cia’s decision making process has (fittingly) matured. I’ve been assuming this is a trilogy, but I would love to read a continuation of the story.
Profile Image for Jeff Raymond.
3,092 reviews179 followers
April 5, 2014
If I'm being honest with myself, the way The Testing ends the series up is a little bit of a disappointment. It's not the trainwreck that The Hunger Games became, mind you, but it's still felt a little out of step and not the sense of closure one would expect.

Essentially, we've spent the first two books building up a world so Cia can tear it down. The book has moved into full-on political conspiracy mode with plenty of spycraft and such to go along with it. Once things get started, the book really races to the finish as it becomes a question of who can be trusted to do the right thing.

Overall? Still probably my favorite YA dystopia, even with the flaws. A less-than-perfect ending doesn't change the ride to get there at all. I feel as if this has been overlooked in the face of Legend and Divergent and Matched when it's fully better than all of them, but there's no accounting for popular taste, I suppose. Very glad I got to finish this one up, a solid end to a great series.
Profile Image for May.
Author 8 books8,625 followers
November 11, 2015

La graduación es la tecera y última parte de la trilogía La prueba, trilogía distópica con tintes muy tópicos y a la vez diferentes. Una trilogía con sus subidas y bajadas, cuyo primer libro (La prueba) me encantó, cuyo segundo libro (La iniciación) flojeó un poco pero me dejó con ganas de más, y una trilogía que en sí me ha gustado pero que decae con cada libro.
Como digo, La graduación es un tercer libro que vuelve a decaer de nuevo. Creo que el mejor libro de toda la trilogía es La prueba, y la verdad es que los otros dos decaen. La graduación no es tan flojo como La iniciación, pero vuelve a flojear y eso me ha decepcionado un poquito puesto que esperaba que esta tercera parte viniera con fuerza para cerrar la trilogía bien.
Aún así La graduación es una buena tercera parte con su trama y que va cerrando todas las cuestiones que quedaron abiertas desde el primer libro. Es un buen cierre de trilogía porque no deja nada abierto y aclara todas las dudas que quedaban.
Me ha gustado mucho el desarrollo de ciertos personajes como Cia y Tomas, que dan mucho más de sí en esta tercera parte y que se cierran perfectamente. Me ha gustado su caracterización y la evolución que se ve en ellos desde la primera novela.
El ritmo está bien, engancha más que el segundo pero no tanto como el primero. Tiene una línea de trama que se sigue perfectamente y ocurren muchos acontecimientos que amenizan la lectura y también le dan velocidad.
La prueba es una trilogía con una idea muy original y diferente, pero que en cada libro toma cosas de otras distopías demasiado evidentes y son llevadas al terreno de la propia novela. El primer libro es el mejor de todos, con un ritmo frenético y una trama que absorbe por completo; y La iniciación y La prueba decaen muchísimo respecto a éste.
Para mí con La prueba era suficiente y creo que los otros dos libros están muy forzados a existir y que son innecesarios.
Sea como sea os recomiendo encarecidamente que leais el primer libro de la trilogía y que os quedéis ahí, no creo que los otros dos merezcan la pena. Pero sí que merece la pena leer La prueba y al fin y al cabo su final te deja satisfecha.
Profile Image for Marketa.
109 reviews748 followers
September 30, 2017
Ne. Ne a ne. Néé.
To byla taková nuda. Takové lehce předvídatelné nic plné ničeho.
Hrozně jsem se po jedničce těšila na další díly, co si autorka vymyslí, ale evidentně už netušila, CO SI VYMYSLET.
Poslední díl byl plný YA blbosti v podobě "hlavní hrdinka musí udělat všechno, protože je to prostě hlavní hrdinka a vůbec nevadí, že je jí nějakých směšných 16 let. Protože... je to hlavní YA hrdinka." Meh.
Profile Image for Sharon Mariampillai.
1,986 reviews87 followers
May 30, 2017
Actual Rating: 3.15

This is a good read. I liked the book, but I thought it lacked the same intensity as the previous two books. The story had action and the characters were great as usual. I thought the ending could have been way better. I really did not like how it ended as I thought there could have been more. Maybe an epilogue to tell us about Cia and how she is after her decision. I just thought the author could have given us more than what we got. It is sad to see a great book have such an unexpected and flat ending. I am sad to say goodbye to another series. However, I am glad I got to enjoy the books as well. For the whole series, I would rate this a 3.75/5. Overall, an okay read.
Profile Image for  ღ suus ღ.
157 reviews12 followers
August 7, 2017
Wat een fantastisch derde boek van deze geweldige trilogie. Het was zo spannend dat ik niet meer kon stoppen met lezen en heb ik de tweede helft van het boek in 1 ruk uitgelezen.

Deel 2 en 3 heb ik na elkaar gelezen waardoor ik nog lekker in het verhaal zat en enorm met Cia meeleefde. "Hoe gaat dit aflopen?" bleef ik mezelf continue afvragen. Op een gegeven moment vertrouw je ook niemand meer.

Het einde (eigenlijk het hele boek) was niet voorspelbaar. Ik heb geen enkel moment gedacht dat het zo zou eindigen. En voordat ik ga spoilen houd ik nu op haha. Maar goed. Nog niet gelezen? Ga dan zeker snel een begin maken aan deze trilogie ^^!

Cia i love you! <3
Profile Image for Kimberly Francisco.
707 reviews107 followers
March 16, 2014
I'm sad I didn't enjoy this more. It wasn't as action-packed or fast-paced as its predecessors, Cia's motivations didn't ring true to her character, and the triple and quadruple-crossing (this group is working for this person! No, this person! No, that person!) grew confusing and tiresome. The final confrontation was a let down and pretty unsatisfying.
Profile Image for James Tullos.
292 reviews1,361 followers
November 11, 2021
I've read some unsatisfying endings before, but this one beats most of them. This series barely has a villain, barely has a protagonist, barely has a story, barely has an identity.

If you're going to rip off The Hunger Games, why not rip off the good parts?
Profile Image for Grüffeline.
1,045 reviews100 followers
July 5, 2018
Die Dinge laufen nicht immer so, wie wir uns das vorstellen. Du musst dich einfach wieder aufrappeln und dir eine neue Richtung suchen.

ENDLICH HAB ICH ES GESCHAFFT! Woohooo! Und jetzt suche ich mir auch ganz schnelle eine andere Richtung, a.k.a. ein anderes Buch, das hoffentlich besser zu unterhalten weiß.
Nach dem ersten Buch nahm der Lesegenuss dieser Trilogie leider rapide ab. Erinnerte der erste Teil noch ein wenig an die Tribute von Panem, langweilte man sich eher so durch den zweiten Teil, der aber immer noch mehr zu unterhalten wusste als das Finale. Ich musste mich zwischendurch zwingen, das Buch in die Hand zu nehmen. Der Schreibstil ist trocken. Einfach nur trocken. Ich weiß nicht, wie es anders beschreiben soll. Es kamen keine Gefühle bei mir an, da kann Tomas (den ich übrigens nachwievor verdächtig finde, aber anscheinend ist Cia das egal, obwohl sie auch skeptisch ist) sie noch so oft "mit Augen voller Liebe" anglubschen. *schüttel* Auf jeden Fall hat man zu keinem Zeitpunkt das Gefühl, mit im Geschehen zu stecken. Das einzige, was dieses Buch bei mir aufgelöst hat, war Langeweile. Dass zum Schluss doch alles irgendwie nicht so ist, wie man dachte, verwirrt zusätzlich und machte mir das Ganze nicht unbedingt schmackhafter. Cia wurde mir immer unsympatischer und es war mir im Grunde egal, was mit ihr passiert.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
5,067 reviews183 followers
June 1, 2014
The final book in the Testing series is finally here. I have grown close to Cia throughout these books. I was so looking forward to reading this final book. Even though I knew it would be bitter sweet because the series was ending. I found myself struggling to get into this book. I started it and it took several tries for me to stick with it. The problem is that there was so much action in the second book with the "testing" that when I got to the final book, it was more talk then it was action. Don't get me wrong as there was some action but it did not happen until really the last half of the book. Until then, it was just Cia and her friends talking about what needed to happen. Also, Cia seemed like she was unsure of herself and had to ask others for advice before she did anything. The ending was alright. Overall, this book was not my favorite in the series but I still can't wait to see what the author has in store for the next book or series.
Profile Image for Nikita.
14 reviews
February 8, 2016
I know it took me so long to finish the novel but it doesn't mean it's not good. Just too much school work but I think this is still a solid finale to the trilogy. I'm a little sad it's over.
Profile Image for Morris.
964 reviews160 followers
August 22, 2014
More of my reviews can be found at: Adult in the Ya Section

I absolutely loved “The Testing”, and while a bit disappointed in “Independent Study”, I still enjoyed it. I wish I had stopped before I read “Graduation Day”.

The one redeeming factor of “Graduation Day” is the action, so I will begin there. The action sequences were intense and real page turners. Unfortunately, there was not enough of it.

It all seems like the author is trying too hard to put in plot twists. Some of it came nowhere and made no sense. Characters made decisions not in line with what had been established about them previously, and at some point Cia became just as cold and uncaring as those she was trying to overthrow. The ending made her seem like she cared about no one but a cause- the same way of thinking that created the testing in the first place.

I wanted to love this book, or to even just “like” it. Neither of those are possible. There are barely even any resolutions to the multitude of problems in their society. It was enough of a letdown to make me regret reading past the first book.

Profile Image for Amy.
286 reviews
August 28, 2015
Een mooie en spannende afsluiter van deze trilogie! Met elk hoofdstuk wilde ik weet verder lezen. Het einde past er ook helemaal bij. Ik zou hiervan misschien nog wel een novella van zien verschijnen ooit, dat zou leuk zijn. Uiteindelijk heeft het concept mij ook verbaasd, deel een deed mij veel denken aan THG en Divergent, maar de andere twee delen zijn totaal anders! Een toffe YA serie.
Profile Image for Madz.
24 reviews73 followers
January 3, 2017
This book (and series) was outstanding! Joelle Charbonneau outdid herself by filling the whole Testing series with love, loss, instinct and trust in a way that not only captivated me but made me smile at happy times and cry (especially at the end). I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves a great book filled with impossible choices and difficult answers.
Profile Image for Becky.
37 reviews14 followers
March 12, 2018
Finally. The long-awaited conclusion to "The Testing" trilogy.

To be honest, I really enjoyed the first two books of this series, but the last book was a bit of a disappointment(I know...harsh). It was still well written, so maybe I was dissatisfied because my hopes beforehand were way too high.

The first two books were full of action and suspense; however, I felt as though the author Joelle Charbonneau purposely dragged this book out and added a large amount of clutter. There were details in the wrong places and she slowed down the parts that I desperately wanted to fast forward the most. I felt like there were a lot of repetitive scenes too, but don't get me wrong, this series was a satisfying read overall. The entire story tied together very well, and I LOVED the story and characters. I just wish it could've ended better. :)
Profile Image for Chelsea.
20 reviews
December 23, 2013
Cia Vale, an ardent, intrepid, and judicious girl, is about to start a rebellion so precarious that any wrong move will result in her death, along with many others. Cia, and her friends from the colonies, have lived through many scarring encounters, and they feel that they have seen enough. Most of those encounters occurred in The Testing, a ruthless set of challenges that let only the most skilled survive. They want it all to end, The Testing itself, the people who created it, and the way it punishes those who fail. Cia knows she must do something to prevent this from ever happening again, so she decides to alert the President about the information she has received from these experiences. The President then tells her to eliminate a list of people who took part in creating or reviving The Testing. Cia knows the only way to end this is to follow her orders, but she cannot do it alone. Along with the help of her friends, she is compelled to destroy the most influential leaders controlling The Testing, in a matter of weeks. In this book, Cia must choose those she can trust with her life, knowing that the wrong choice may result in her elimination.
Graduation Day is a spellbinding novel about doing what it takes to reach the ultimate goal, even if it means making sacrifices along the way. Cia tries to find the best way to solve her predicament, without violence, but she realizes that there has to be bloodshed in order for the final solution to be reached. I was able to relate to this book because I have been in situations where I wanted to resolve an issue without any feelings being hurt, but sometimes it is necessary to do so, in order to get the point across. I was able to connect with Cia when she tries to find the least violent way to reach her goal, since she does not want any more deaths than necessary. Graduation Day is an enthralling, complex, and puzzling novel. A definite strength to this story is the unexpected twist at the end that completely throws the reader off guard. I recommend this book to fans of The Testing series, and to readers who enjoy the mental thrill of discovering riveting, new facts that continually change the entire direction of the plot. This is the third book in a trilogy, and I enjoyed this book and the series as a whole.
Profile Image for Jalyn.
316 reviews43 followers
July 10, 2017
I've finally found a YA Dystopian with a decent ending! Woohoo!

This is the final book in The Testing series and this book concluded the series very well. Though I didn't fly through this one quite as fast as I did the first two books, it was still very good with lots of little surprises. I couldn't decide who to trust the entire way through the book. How do you know who to trust when you're dealing with the most brilliant, and in some cases, the most power hungry minds? Who do you believe when you are hearing different stories from each side and both sides feel that they are right? How do you trust when you've already had your trust betrayed? Cia makes a lot of really hard decisions in this book, but she does a good job of thinking things through and reasoning her way through situations. I can definitely see why she was chosen for The Testing to begin with, and why she specifically was chosen to continue with the program. She's smart, thinks things through, and makes the tough decision even when she doesn't want to. I really enjoyed her story and watching her grow and be more sure of herself as the books progressed. This is officially my favorite dystopian series. I loved it!
Profile Image for Burcu.
21 reviews
September 26, 2019
Ana karakterimiz zeki hatta yaşanan olaylarda aşırı zeki davranan, yanından ayırmadığı sırt çantasında her zaman ihtiyacı olan şeyleri bulan, işi hep rast giden, mükemmel falan filan biri 🙄 Çok özgün bir seri değil diğer distopyalara benziyor yine de merak ederek okudum. 3,5
Profile Image for Ashleyjo.
826 reviews404 followers
October 24, 2014
Book 1:

A lot of reviews, including my own, compared The Testing (book1) to the Hunger Games - same death trial plot and same female and male MCs with trust and PG13 romance issues to work out in the backdrop as they race, test for their lives. The Testing was basically a more political, education based version of the Hunger Games .. without a love triangle. It was an okay read that I only continued because the possibility of it all being erased from the MCs memories in the second book.

Book 2:

The second book, Independent Study, was even more disappointing than the first. The author tried to carry some of the action from the first book over to the college setting and it just felt forced and unbelievable, as do the character's reactions considering what's been done to them. For example, Tomas knew what was coming for initiation & how dangerous it would be, but he never bothered to warn Cia, whom he claimed to love. There was very little progression of characters or romance & that was unfortunate since all of it wasn't very fleshed out in book1. Like in book 1, the story is told from Cia's POV & in large part through exhausting inner diatribes that make her a very unrealistic fruit salad turnover of prudish, holier than tho, naive, and intelligence.

Book 3:

Graduation was like jumping from a sinking ship straight into a steaming pile of quicksand.

Cia went from bad to insufferable.

I didn't think it possible to get more irritated with Cia's inner diatribes, but I wanted to punch this naive chick in the face and tell her to wake the f up! In an effort, I can only assume, for the author to make Cia appear to grow, learn the author ended up making her a neurotic, Pollyanna, dumbass. She obsessed over the trivial. She was oblivious to the plot conclusion that slapped me in the face 1/3 through the book. She wants to end the testing but is willing to engage in the VERY same tactics to gauge who's trustworthy... All while she is pointing her moral compass against killing to end the testing. Etc...

Tomas is just there.

Tomas is just someone to fill in some dialogue and act as a lap dog for Cia. This is not a romance in any sense of the term. He is merely the Ken doll that sits in the Barbie car as all the other dolls play a round of political conspiracy.

Tell, tell, tell, tell...

OMG this book was on replay times 10. Everything was told; retold, and, just in case the reader had the IQ if tree bark, told again. Take out the repetitive inner monologues and Cia telling multiple characters the same stories, & I doubt the book would be 100 pages. Yeah, I'm serious!

The testing destruction plot went from being the only shinning star afforded to this trilogy to it's most absurd element in the ending.

The political conspiracy was transparent and nonsensical. If x character really was the one who wanted the Testing, it would make no sense for x character to go about publicly threatening to dismantle it... That's not a ploy that would ever make sense. Likewise, this character would never make good on the bargain once all those that were in any kind of position to stop said character from their agenda were all eliminated. The author already told us where the power to control the testing rested, making the ending pointless since this character already had control to make the changes without any bargain; what could he possibly benefit from making the bargain when all the control was his to begin with? I digress... Nonsensical ending to the plot.

The characters end on a very open note, which doesn't bother me because I don't really give 2 arses by the last page wtf happens to them. But, for those seeking rainbows and hearts at the end... Ain't happening!
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