Book Review: This is Not a Test

This is not a TestImage
Courtney Summers
Young Adult
Published: 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin


                It’s the end of the world…
                Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is of little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.
                To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.
                As the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in a startling way and soon the groups fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more, and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life – and death – inside.
                When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?


               This is not a test reads more like a contemporary novel than zombie fiction. You never really find yourself too worried about the threat of the zombie hordes outside of the school, your concern really lies within the confines of the school. You learn really quickly how fast what you believed in can fall when your life is at risk and your survival is at stake. What you’re capable of, is truly unknown until you’re faced with the unknown.
                Sloane Price is a deeply wounded character. She is probably one of the most damaged and broken characters I’ve ever read in a young adult novel. She’s just so sad and you feel her despair pouring out of the pages, bleeding form chapter to chapter and even when she’s happy or seems better you can’t actually be sure.
                This is not a Test calls this into question, “What do you do when you survive something when you never wanted to exist at all?” This is an extremely fascinating character study. Who could imagine surviving the zombie apocalypse and not because you’ve been trying to but because fate seems to want to keep you around for a little bit longer.  Sloane actually went out of her way many times throughout the novel to succumb to the zombie plague and each time she is saved or it plain does not work out.      
                All of the characters are great, they all have unique voices and each give something valuable to the plot. None of them are who they seem to be, and I’m sure none of them are who they thought they were either.
                For such a small novel it is action packed, it’s not dull and everything rushes by quickly. It isn’t in a bad way, but in a good way because you get down to the nitty gritty and you don’t have to wade through useless fluff/filler.  
                This is Not a Test also has one of the most intense endings that I’ve ever read in a young adult stand-alone novel! It almost felt incomplete because the ending was rather left up to interpretation. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who ‘writes off’ young adult fiction and to those who enjoy it. I guarantee you’d be happily surprised by the quality and depth of this story.




Book Review: Inferno

Dan Brown
Mystery Adventure
Published: 2013
Publisher: DoubleDay

                Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon awakens in a hospital in the middle of the night. Disoriented and suffering from a head wound, he recalls nothing of the last thirty-six hours, including how he got there… or the origin of the macabre object that his doctors discover hidden in his belongings.
                Langdon’s world soon erupts into chaos, and he finds himself on the run in Florence with a stoic young woman, Sienna Brooks, whose clever maneuvering saves his life. Langdon quickly realizes that he is in possession of a series of disturbing codes created by a brilliant scientist – a genius whose obsession with the end of the world is matched only by his passion for one of the most influential masterpieces ever written – Dante Alighieri’s dark epic poem The Inferno.
                Racing through such timeless locations as the Palazzo Vecchio, the Boboli Gardens and the Duomo, Langdon and Brooks discover a network of hidden passageways and ancient secrets, as well as a terrifying new scientific paradigm that will be used either to vastly improve the quality of life on earth… or to devastate it.
                In his most compelling and thought-provoking novel to date, Dan Brown has raised the bar yet again. Inferno is a sumptuously entertaining read – a novel that will captivate readers with the beauty of classical Italian art, history, and literature… while also posing provocative questions about the role of cutting-edge science into our future.


                Dan Brown gets a lot of negative comments in regards to his overall story plots. They are the same in the sense that James Bond movies are the same. There is a basic formula that he uses to write his stories and in all honesty the formula works wonders for him. Inferno is a great example how a basic outline can be buffed up, and turned into something tantalizing, entertaining and easy to get involved with as you read. The twists and plot turns contained in Inferno were without a doubt fantastic, engaging, and in general written very well. If you can only look the basic plot dynamics you will indeed find yourself engrossed in an original story.
                Inferno is a great improvement over Dan Brown’s novel ‘The Lost Symbol’ which was released in 2009. Though I did enjoy ‘The Lost Symbol’ I would actually now consider changing the rating in regards to comparing the two novels. There was more suspense; action and mystery within the pages of ‘Inferno’ than there were in ‘The Lost Symbol’.  This book was a real winner for me, I’ve enjoyed Dan Browns work since I’ve read ‘Angels & Demons’ (The first book in the Robert Langdon series) and was very pleased that he seems to be back on track with his latest edition to the series.
                The scientific possibilities that were regarded within this book was really eye opening and made me do a lot of research on my own. Despite the drastic measures that were taken by Characters part of me really started questioning near the end if they were wrong. The issue portrayed is a real crisis that we as a race are currently facing, and there needs to be some kind of solution. I’m not advocating what the Characters do in regards to this issue or even the end results but I do agree that our world is floundering and we are in dire need of change. Obviously I won’t get too far into this as this is a book blog and you personally do not likely want to know what my person views are on current events.
                Definitely recommending this novel however, it is very eye opening, interesting and well written. Dan Brown writes likeable, identifiable and relatable characters and in all honestly that is sometimes what can make or break a novel.
                Check it out; it’s worth the read even if you’re a little unsure about it. If you don’t enjoy it at least it will inspire you to read ‘Dante’s Inferno’ in the future.