In the follow up to ‘The Testing’, Cia has made it to the University. Having taken the exams that will determine the future of their careers in the United Commonwealth, Cia and the other successful testing candidates now have a whole new set of challenges to face.
Cia’s memories of her first Testing have been erased, but as she prepares for her initiation into her class, disturbing flashbacks make her question the University and all it stands for. With her dreams full of suspicions about what happens to students that fail to live up to the University idea of its ideal candidate, she is thrown into a dizzying round of intense studying, ruthless initiation processes and cut-throat competition.
When she learns about a group of rebels working against the government officials in charge of the University, Cia has to choose whether to risk her life, and the lives of the people that she cares about, by joining their cause. But who can she trust? And who is doing everything they can to make sure she’ll fail?
When a series gets off to such a strong start, I’ve often found that I’m a little disappointed in the sequel. Here, the author manages to recreate the same world with just as much tension and suspense. Yes, the pace is a little slower and events don’t take quite such as deadly a turn as in The Testing, but that makes the things that do happen even more shocking. It does also suffer a little bit from middle book syndrome – where we’re clearly building up to a larger storyline but we have to wait until the final instalment for the main action to kick off.
Despite this though, it still gets a massive thumbs up from me. I really like the way that this novel is set against an academic background, although still in a dystopian world. I always think that it’s a little unrealistic when books are set in a world where law, systems and order have completely gone out of the window in just a few short months. It seems entirely plausible that society would have set up a system like this to help them rebuild. Having characters rely on their intelligence to get ahead, rather than fighting, also marks this series out from a lot of the other books in this genre out there at the moment and I found it a really interesting read. I’ll definitely be buying the third one in the trilogy!