Release Date: October 29, 2013
Source: Soho Teen
Genre: YA Dystopian
Review Date: November 16, 2013
Rating: 3 bookmarks
Synopsis: For fans of Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games: high fantasy and dystopia meet in this high-stakes tale of a civilization built on lies and the girl who single-handedly brings it down.
When Eva’s twin brother, Eamon, falls to his death just a few months before he is due to participate in The Testing, no one expects Eva to take his place. She’s a Maiden, slated for embroidery classes, curtseys, and soon a prestigious marriage befitting the daughter of an Aerie ruler. But Eva insists on honoring her brother by becoming a Testor. After all, she wouldn’t be the first Maiden to Test, just the first in 150 years.
Eva knows the Testing is no dance class. Gallant Testors train for their entire lives to search icy wastelands for Relics: artifacts of the corrupt civilization that existed before The Healing drowned the world. Out in the Boundary Lands, Eva must rely on every moment of the lightning-quick training she received from Lukas—her servant, a Boundary native, and her closest friend now that Eamon is gone.
But there are threats in The Testing beyond what Lukas could have prepared her for. And no one could have imagined the danger Eva unleashes when she discovers a Relic that shakes the Aerie to its core.
Disclaimer: I received this book as a courtesy in exchange for an honest review.
Things started well enough, but the pace was a little slower than I'd like. In all seriousness, the last 75 pages or so were the best part of the book. The story didn't really start getting really interesting until then. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Eva, and what happened to her brother. I wanted to know what she would decide to do once her life changed. Basically the would as she knew it wasn't really what it was at all. Eva feels like she's hit with a ton of bricks with the understanding that just been taught a bit fat lie, they all have for 100+ years. I wanted that turning point to happen earlier in the book some how. I get the purpose cliff hangers, but we didn't get enough of the "good stuff" in this installment.
This book took us back to the olden days...yes the olden days (but in the future). Getting light from candles and gas lamps, women showing no skin and arranged marriages. The whole nine. Women were to be proper maidens, not run around in the wild looking for relics. This alone made Eva a strong character. The testing had not had a female participate in over 100 years. She decided that she would replace her brother in the Testing for the purpose of completing his dream for him. Despite being frowned on by society, her family and even people she considered friends, she takes it on and she shows a vast amount of courage.
On a side note, I really enjoyed the face that this book took place over the course of 1 month, with exception of the prologue of course. I can appreciate a nice lean story timeline.
One specific thing that stood out to me as similar to a popular YA dystopian trilogy is the testing. 12 young Testers out in the blistering cold trying to survive against the elements, wild animals and compete against each other to bring back the best relics... does this sort of sound familiar? I'll give you a hint, 12 districts. Same as that other book, there are people of authority behind the scenes pulling their strings throughout the whole test.
There were a few things that sort of bothered me about this book. Beyond the Testing sounding like another book (sort of), I'd have to say that it's the fact that we never find out who killed Eva's brother, which set her off on this whole journey. FYI, that wasn't a spoiler guys! This happens in the first couple pages.
I also didn't like that even though it was implied that Eva had people up against her during the Test, nothing negative happened. She caught two guys whispering about her and you'd think they were planning something, but nothing happens. She gets caught breaking the rules and nothing happens! The action fell flat for me and was seriously lacking. There really wasn't any true action at all. Even during the scene when she could have fallen to her death I didn't feel any suspense, Jasper just reaches out and grabs her.
There is a set up for a future romantic triangle in the next book, but it was pretty much nonexistent in this book, which isn't necessarily bad. I just wish that Ms.Terrell had expressed Eva caring for Lukas in a more serious way before the very end of the book. Again, all the good and juicy stuff was at the end of the story.
Even with its faults, overall I enjoyed the story. I really liked the few drawings here and there, found within the chapters. They were a fun treat. I liked the additions to the inside cover like the map of the area where the testing took place and the history of the New North. Those things really added to the story. I would recommend this book for those who enjoy YA dystopian.