New Release Review: Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau

Independent studyNew Release Review: Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau
Book 2 in The Testing series
Release date: January 7, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Book provided by NetGalley and Penguin Group Berkley NAL

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

AH’s Review – 2.5 Skulls – C

Book 2 of The Testing series finds our main character Cia attending university having made the cut in the previous book. The tests are not over and as our university students write their examinations for their fields of study, Cia is surprised to find out that she has been assigned to Government, rather than her first choice – Engineering.

The exams don’t end there. The first week of classes the new students undergo further examinations with almost impossible tasks to complete. Failure is never an option. Failure is cause for Redirection. Redirection is fatal.

I’m having a hard time with this series. I enjoyed the first book and was looking forward to this installment in the series. Is it trying too hard to be a Hunger Games clone? Maybe. I can’t see why a world ravaged by warfare, environmental disasters and the like would sacrifice their best and brightest hopes for the future. Why would you cull any student?

The whole rebellion side was a little iffy for me as well. Why bother rebelling when you live in the relative comfort of Tosu city?

The writing was OK. I did find the pacing slower than the first book and at times a little boring. This book felt like a filler book, moving our main character from point A to point B in the overall plot.

I’m not sure that I will be continuing this series. On the one hand, I am curious to see what happens. On the other hand, I am not sure that I will have patience for it.

Rating:  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ .5

Series Reading Order:

1. The Testing
2. Independent Study
3. Graduation Day – June 17, 2014

Thank you to Edelweiss and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for a review copy of this book.

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