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- Michael Howell - Great productOur little girl loves this thing. She's used it since she could kick her feet and learned a little about cause and effect very early on. It's not annoying or too loud and has two settings for volume. It folds over and she can use it like a little piano. I think, because of this toy, she has gained an appreciation for music.
- J. Sorrell "SinCityHippie" - best price for bookbook was free helps a little with work nice to have on phone and tablet for easy access.... not bad
- fashionista - Wow! practical advice!The stuff Matthew has to say is actually practical. The most important thing that I was reminded was that to attract the extraordinary man that I dream of, I must be the extraordinary woman of his dreams.
He reminds us that it isn't all about the man- we must own our own lives, pursue our own passions, and find true joy without a man- that, he says, will attract more men than anything else. And that is such a great message for women to hear!
- Built To Last - Well, I loved it!Dang! This book is NOT for the faint of heart! While it is reminiscent of Divergent and Hunger Games, (both books that I loved, until the LAST ones!!!!!), it also compares with The Maze Runner by James Dashner. In Divergent and Hunger Games, the candidates KNOW they will be physically and mentally challenged and may even die. In The Testing, as in The Maze Runner, they have no idea why they are being tested and why they would be allowed to die. They are scared and just trying to survive.
The Seven Stages of War has created a society of Colonies, whose most intelligent young are culled after high school graduation to enter the Testing in order to find the brightest and most capable future leaders. Every smart student in their graduating class hopes to become a Testing candidate, not realizing what the “TEST” really is.
The Testing is a series of LETHAL tests that are completed by selected candidates in order to be eligible for college. It starts off with a somewhat benign History, Science, Math and Language segment then quickly is followed by a series of puzzles that, if gotten wrong can kill you or seriously maim you. Next a group project that appears harmless until trusting your teammates might be a bad idea. The last test is being dropped off far away and having to find your way back to the main city Tosu City. It is dangerous and is what takes up the main part (50%) of the story.
Suicide, poisonings, booby-traps and betrayals make trust impossible and likely to get you killed. None of the children elected for the Testing had any idea it would be lethal or even dangerous. None of them have any specific training that would help them survive all four tests. Out of 108 candidates, only 20 are expected to succeed and that might be defined as SURVIVE.
Our main characters are Malencia or Cia Vale and Tomas Endress and while really smart, totally not prepared to see those they know DIE. Cia’s father has gone through the testing, but they erase survivors minds so that they cannot reveal the test to others; only Cia’s father and quite of few from his testing group, have horrible nightmares about that time and think they might be memories. Memories on the level of Lord of the Rings types behavior and he warns Cia not to trust anyone. This warning keeps Cia and Tomas who she shares the information with, vigilant enough to see danger when it is in front of them. There is a stab at romance by the author between these two, but they are so busy fighting to stay alive, that the falling in love scenario seems forced. Maybe it will be more in book two?
My main issues with the story are that I didn’t think Tomas was portrayed very well in the Test. He was the smartest boy in school, and yet, Cia continually outsmarts him on the test and seems to be a lot more compassionate than he is. He supposedly was so kind to everyone back home, that this doesn’t make sense. He is the one that makes the idiotic mistakes, doesn’t listen and doesn’t come close to Cia’s logical abilities or instincts. Cia is master of all including taking care of her own gross injuries. She always knows when danger is around and saves Tomas’s life more than once. He wouldn’t have made it without her, and yet others get very far on their own. That just really didn’t make sense. One more thing, the guy at the fence that was helping Cia had a bracelet in his hand when they were talking about the vial he gave her. Wouldn’t the committee know what he said then?
The story really touches on the loss of innocence, believing in humanity and goodness. It also calls into question what makes a good leader and living with mistakes. I am ready for book 2, Independent study and REALLY hope it does not follow the traditional, aggravating second book format.