Review: Graduation Day (The Testing #3) by Joelle Charbonneau

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Title: Graduation Day
Author:  Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher/Year:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  6/17/14
Length:  534 Pages
Series: The Testing #3

Overview

She wants to put an end to the Testing
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.

Who can Cia trust?
The stakes are higher than ever—lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope—in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau’s epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it’s Graduation Day.

The Final Test is the Deadliest!

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed the finale to this series.  While i compared the first installment to THG i think that the path that our lovely author took was VERY different and really impressive.  In this third and final installment, we see that Cia has to figure out who to trust, how to get things back in order and understand what that means for her and her friends.  As you remember from the 2nd book, Cia has an internship in the President’s office and this means that she’s privvy to certain information.  The challenge also means that it makes her a target for the rebels since she knows more than she should.

What we get in this story is the journey that she goes on to understand who she’s grown into, trusting her instincts or trusting the people who are in power, and then understanding what to do with it.  While the other stories gave us the journey of getting through the phases of testing and trying to survive in the university, this story takes us on more of a survival tale, keeping herself safe while trying to help do the right thing for the commonwealth.

Ms. Charbonneau does something great here – she makes the supporting characters really important and we get to learn more about them in an unobtrusive way.  We continue to see Tomas in the same light that we always have, although is feature in this story was maybe less so than in the past – he’s really supporting – and more of a tertiary character.  Raffe on the other hand – we get to know him a lot more, and i think that we’re constantly challenged to understand which side he’s on.  Enzo and Will are the same in this story as well.  They play important roles, but again, Cia’s challenged to understand who can be trusted and what their motivations are.  The other one – Ian – well i think that we began to see what he was in the 2nd book when we were really introduced to him and while he’s in book 3, he’s not as major as i would have expected.

Through the course of this book, Cia learns things about herself that she didn’t know, her journey and she begins to uncover the secrets of the Commonwealth and what the testing is about.  I think that I began to question whether or not i was on the ride side of believing things as well, and those characters (the politicals) that i felt were right before, well, i wonder still if they are.

At the end, there’s a lot of death, to be expected when rebels are involved, and i think that some were necessary and some were not.  I’m still quite sad about one of the deaths, since i think that maybe that person deserved a different ending, but the sacrifice that was made seems justified so i guess it wasn’t for naught.  (like the word there?)  The others, well i think that we knew many of those would not see the end of the book.

We get some of the closure that we were hoping for, but i’m still not sure what’s to be in store for the future.  the one miss that i find with this book is that there wasn’t an epilogue.  While we get a final chapter, it’s not really what i was hoping for – it gives us a glimpse about 3 weeks into the future, but nothing substantial and that’s really the one thing that i would change.  we’ve become accustomed to fast forwards in this genre, and i was hoping that we would get that here.  Oh well.

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