Audio Book Review | The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Audio Book Review | The Testing by Joelle CharbonneauThe Testing
by Joelle Charbonneau
Narrated by : Elizabeth Morton
Series: The Testing #1
Published by Recorded Books
Release date : June 23rd, 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Source: The Publisher | Format: Audiobook
Purchase at: Amazon (Affiliate Link) Audible

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one and the same?

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.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

I received this book for free from The Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My Take:

The Testing is not a new-to-me title. I have seen his bad girl floating around Goodreads, blogs and the like for some time, but something kept me from reading. What? Couldn’t tell ya. But when I saw it available on audio, I went out on a limb a requested; hoping my hesitations about the book were wrong and I would thoroughly enjoy it.

The jury is still out on that one.

Don’t get me wrong — there are many things to like about The Testing. With any dystopian, it needs to be brutal and harsh, and The Testing was definitely that. But I like to be wowed, on the edge of my seat and suffering from some serious anxiety due to stress and I just didn’t have that in The Testing.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why someone would want to go through the Testing to attend University. If it were a society that overlooked education and didn’t find it important, I could see. But it’s HUGE in this world. They are testing for their new leaders; those that pass move on to great things and develop and remold society. But with Cia personally knowing someone who went through the Testing, this explanation fell flat. Granted, due to memory swipes and the sheer lack of knowledge for what happens DURING the Testing is there, I just don’t understand the logic behind the entire thing.

I can overlook the similarities between The Testing and other fight-to-the-death dystopian’s out there — it’s not a wholly original concept but when the similarities are TOO much? When it feels like there was a list with check marks and the author was checking away to make sure certain THINGS were there? That’s a large pill to swallow.


Cia was a hard character to like and connect with. Her luck knew no bounds and yes, one could argue that she was very intelligent, but everything felt way too convenient for her. It honestly felt to me like she didn’t really have to WORK for anything. Literally everything came easy to her. I didn’t care for the romance either. It felt forced — that is was there for *cough* convenience only.

The ending ended on a perfect note – I will admit that. There were some expletives coming from my mouth once the audio was over. I can’t say for sure if I am sold on the second book yet — but I may pick it up.

The Narrator

Within the first 20 minutes of the book, I knew the narrator was not a right fit for the story. Hate is a strong word — but there were parts of her narration that I HATED. Her voice for the other characters being the main one. And I felt like she was adding emotion where it didn’t fit and fell too flat when the emotion was NEEDED. That’s a poor explanation but it’s hard to really explain what I mean! A part of me feels like I may have enjoyed this more if I read it — verses listening to it. But, that’s not here or there.

Overall — The Testing was just OKAY for me.


Rating Report
Overall: 3.1



Tell Me Your Thoughts

  • Have you read/listed to The Testing? If so, what did you think?
  • Dystopian novels — yay or nay?

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