After getting the first in the trilogy for Christmas, and buying the second soon after, I was rather looking forward to the publication of the third book in this dystopian trilogy, so I picked it up only a day or two after publication.
I wasn’t disappointed with this book – far from it – but I was left a little unsatisfied at the end of it.
Graduation Day is the third in The Testing trilogy, the first two of which I reviewed here. It picks up exactly where Graduation Day left off, with Cia embroiled in an uprising against a corrupt system. So far, so Hunger Games.
There are, of course, many differences between the Hunger Games and The Testing, but the chief amongst them, for me, was that Cia seems to have suffered no ill effects from the trials she has endured – where Katniss, by the third book, was a roaming mess of PTSD, Cia remains composed and capable of running a revolution single-handed. And that, essentially, is what she does in this book. As the blurb says, she has no idea who to trust, or how far to trust them, and she has to find out how to choose allies in her revolution, and whether or not to complete the task handed to her, which she has been informed is the only way of saving everyone.
I did enjoy this book, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the trilogy as a whole. I also enjoyed the murky and confusing atmosphere in which it operates, where nobody is sure where loyalties lie, or how far they will go – Cia is alone in a crowd, and she faces some awful decisions. I really did enjoy that.
What I did not enjoy, and what rankled most, in this book, was that there was no definite conclusion. There was a conclusion, certainly, but everything was left up in the air – who’s the villain and who’s the hero in this scenario? Nobody really knows, and the system in the aftermath of the revolution, well, who knows how it might go. I didn’t enjoy that. I understand the stylistic choice behind it – certainly no revolution can change an entire world in a single movement, and governing after a revolution takes time and development, but this is fiction, and I want a more concrete end than this. That was disappointing, for me, as well as Cia’s seeming infallibility. I felt that this, the last book, lacked an emotional punch. It was more of a tug, really. And while I appreciate a good tug at the heartstrings, this book fell down very slightly at the end.
Still a solid example of the genre du jour, though, and I would have no issues recommending The Testing Trilogy to any fan of dystopia, such as the Hunger Games, Delirium, Divergent, etc.