In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies.... a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas - and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government's murderous programs put her - and her loved ones - in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.
- Goodreads -
Independent Study is the second book in the Study series. And we all know that often the second book in a trilogy often slacks a bit in comparison to the first and last book in this series, luckily that wasn’t the case with Independent Study. Sure there might be less action than in the first book and it was laying framework for the last book in this series, Graduation Day, but I enjoyed this book immensely.
Cia and her friends start their studies at the University and they all have to undergo an induction and orientation. But those two things are not as peaceful as they sound. People disappear and die. Again. And no one seems to notice what is going on, except for Cia. As I mentioned before, action wasn’t the main focus of this book. Instead now the focus was on politics. There is some confusion about who holds the power over the country, the government and the president or the ones who rule the University. No one knows what is going on exactly and who’s to be trusted or not. New alliances are formed and old ones are broken. Charbonneau did a great job with creating a world consisting of lies, mysteries and betrayals you never saw coming.
Cia was an interesting character. She’s brilliant that’s for sure, she notices things that others would have never seen but at the same time she misses things that practically lie right in front of her. You could easily follow her thought process since Charbonneau spelled it all out. But that was the problem, sometimes you got an information overflow. I mean information is nice but too much is just too much. Cia was the main focus of the book and I missed some of the other characters. Sure we still got to see Thomas and this new guy Raffe. But I would have loved to see more of them, especially Thomas. He had such an important role in the first book and now we barely got to see him, definitely in the middle of the book.
Independent Study was a great book and a very nice set up for the last book. And after reading this one my expectations for Graduation Day are high. Hopefully my expectations will be fulfilled. Up to now definitely one of the better dystopian books I’ve read.
Title: Independent Study
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Series: The Testing
Genre: dystopia, YA
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication date: January 7th 2014
Pages: 310 (hardcover)