on June 4, 2013
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From the publisher's website:
It’s graduation day for sixteen year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (The Former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about – hope for – is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing. A United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (“Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance -and sheer terror- await.
I didn’t know if I was going to make it through this one. The beginning reads so much like “Hunger Games” I started scouring the net to see if fanfic of that was going to be a trend now. I can’t find that it is anywhere, but who knows.
However, once I got past the first few pages I really liked it. I’m going to commit blasphemy here…I liked it better than The Hunger Games. *gasp* I know!
I think the reason I liked this book more was simply the main character. I could tolerate Cia much better than Katniss simply because she isn’t so pessimistic from the word “go”, that takes time to build.
In this world there’s been horrible wars and natural disasters that have destroyed the United States as we know it. Each colony that survived is encouraged to give their young people a good education so they can go to University so they can learn the skills that help them renew the earth so mankind can flourish again. To this end all the brightest students are brought to the capitol to undergo “The Testing”. Those who can take the pressure pass on to attend the University. After graduating they will be sent to a colony that needs their specific talent. Those who don’t…
You know what’s going to happen, you know what “The Testing” will really be about, but watching Cia discover all this and adapt to it is what really gives this novel teeth. This isn’t a hardened girl who only knows the tough life and a struggle to survive, things aren’t perfect, but Cia does live fairly comfortably as a her father is an important member of the colony in terms of renewing the land for crops. Despite her sheltered upbringing, it’s gratifying to see that she catches on quickly and takes her father’s warning to heart.
I don’t really want to go on and risk spoiling anything. Just know it doesn’t shy away from some pretty gruesome deaths of teenagers. To say more about it would give those moments away and really that is what the journey of this book is all about.
And the ending is a real mind frack. But in a way that makes me anxious for the next book.
You can download a free copy of the Prequel here!