Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: Graduation Day - Joelle Charbonneau

Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau
Series: The Testing Trilogy #3
Genre: YA, dystopian
Published on June 17, 2014
Published by HMH Books
Pages: 304
Read From: 8.12.14 - 8.15.14

With the United Commonwealth teetering on the brink of all-out civil war, this is the moment to lead that the gifted student and Testing survivor Cia Vale has trained for. 
Having discovered the brutal truth behind The Testing, she has vowed to end it once and for all. As Cia plunges through layers of deception and danger, she must risk the lives of those she loves more and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates. 
The stakes are higher than ever - lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope - in this electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau's epic Testing trilogy. 
Ready or not. . . .it's Graduation Day.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Yes, I love the cover art. It's shiny and pretty and purple. :) No more need be said.

Characters: I still very, very much love Cia, and I think she especially showed her strength in this book. Cia is not a killer; she has a lot of trouble taking someone else's life for any reason. And when she has to, it eats at her. Unlike Katniss, though, Cia is also able to realize when it isn't the time to mourn and push on. Unfortunately, she has to take lives to succeed, and if that's what it takes, she'll do it with a reluctant, but resolved, heart. She doesn't spend chapter after chapter moaning about it. She will look for a solution that doesn't require taking life, and that's perfectly in keeping with her character. But if there simply is no way, she puts her emotions aside and does what needs to be done. Cia is practical, and I can't thank her enough for it. Tomas is awesome, too. He would rather just run away with Cia and not look back on what's happening. But he realizes that leading a rebellion against The Testing is what Cia needs to do, and he sticks by her decisions. Tomas is so amazingly supportive; I want him for myself. ;-) I was kind of surprised at how much Raffe and Will's characters developed in Graduation Day. I can't say too much about them in fear of giving spoilers away. But they both ended up being my favorites in the end.

The Romance: No love triangles! Tomas and Cia are unwaveringly devoted to one another.

Plot: The rebellion led by Symon has been exposed for what it is, and Cia must take up a leadership role in order to comeback Symon's rebels and The Testing leaders. It won't be easy. Cia needs the president on her side, but she doesn't know how thoroughly Symon has convinced the president that he's on her side. She will also need to trust some of her fellow students, but she has no idea who. It's a risky game, and it's one she'll have to play very carefully unless she wants to end up being Redirected. . . .for good. Graduation Day is the climax of the events of The Testing and mostly Independent Study. It's not so much twists and turns as it's starting a rebellion and assassinating the people who are responsible for killing so many students. Not to say there aren't any twists - there are, in the end (more on that later). But it's a much more straight forward storyline. There's more world building; we learn about the politics and situations that led to the Seven Stages of War, and even a bit of the geographical location of these "future" cities and colonies. Overall, though, Graduation Day is a fairly sedate storyline that doesn't vary its pacing all that much.

Believability: No complaints!

Writing Style: First person, present tense. As with the other two books, I don't mind the present tense (actually, I forgot it was in present tense).

Content: None.

Conclusion: I had one issue with the ending, and that was the twist. [Spoiler] it turns out that the whole rebellion/assassination is another test, designed especially for Cia. See, the president didn't want to end The Testing after all; she thought it needed to be tougher. Dr. Barnes is having a case of guilt over The Testing and wants to end it. So they make a deal: if Cia can follow the president's orders and kill Dr. Barnes, The Testing will end. If she doesn't, it continues. [End spoiler] It's not necessarily a bad twist; it was just unnecessary. It felt like it was there for a twist's sake. The Author couldn't just write a straight-up rebellion; there had to be something more. And in creating that "something more," the end was a little too tidy and also a little confusing. Independent Study is my favorite out of the series, and this last book had some flaws. Overall, it's a very entertaining series, and Graduation Day isn't necessarily disappointing. I just wish a few things had been done a little differently.

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-guy read, sixteen-and-up, fans of dystopian!

Others in This Trilogy:
1)The Testing
2)Independent Study
3)Graduation Day

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