Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: Jan 7, 2014
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
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.
I remember really liking The Testing. It was one of those books that really grabbed my attention and even with its Hunger Games like scenes I still loved it. When I got my hands on a copy of Independent Study I was super excited because this book was going to be the one that set it apart from THG and really take on a life of its own. Well I am happy to say that it does steer clear of THG, but unfortunately this one didn't deliver quite the punch that The Testing did.
This book takes off pretty much where The Testing left us. Cia is about to take her final test to see if she has what it takes to become a student of the University. She still has no memories of what happened during her time before her final test but she does remember the recording and the horrific events that were on it. Cia isn't sure what to do with the knowledge that her peers were killed so she keeps the information to herself. She knows that telling anybody at this point will mean nothing good so she stays quiet and just observes as much as she can. Clues that she picks up tell her that she can't trust anybody and when the final testing is finished Cia learns that the testing has really only just begun.
This was good don't get me wrong. I really liked the whole testing and induction idea, but the delivery was a little boring. The tests themselves were intense, but Cia's inner dialogue and constant thinking started to drive me a little nuts. I got so tired of reading about her questioning everything and then going back to what she initially thought she should do. It all felt like a complete waste of time time that could have been spent building up the world and learning more about the rebels. I wanted to learn about them in this book and while we do learn more about the University and its board we are still left mostly in the dark about anything else.
For me this falls into that icky category of middle books in a series. It gives us enough new information where we will pick up the next one, but really doesn't give us anything that we wouldn't have learned if we had just picked up the third installment. There are two major bombs dropped in this one but again I am positive they both will be brought up in the third installment so really did I need to read this one?
I guess I am just going to have to look at the positive and realize that this was filler, but good filler. The tests that Cia faces in this one are intense and it shows just how far the officials are willing to go. I did enjoy seeing who caved under pressure and who made it past certain checkpoints. If you are looking for a romance though this one isn't as strong as the first and you will not be happy if that is what you want out of this. Yes Cia is with Tomas but the book isn't centered around them so just be warned. I also sorta smell a triangle and I'm just hoping that I am not right.