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Independent Study - Review

Independent Study: The Testing, Book 2 - Joelle Charbonneau

Publication Date: Available Now from Templar Publishing

 

Source: Purchased Copy

 

Cia Vale is now seventeen and has everything she ever dreamed of: a boy she loves, a place at the University and a future as one of the leaders of the United Commonwealth. But Cia remembers. Cia must choose whether to stay silent and protect herself and her loved ones, or expose The Testing for what it is.

 

Really enjoyed this second novel in “The Testing ” series – the first one had a very Hunger Games feel to it, in Independent Study the action moves from one kind of test to another – the university hopefuls may have passed the first hurdle but it has come at a huge cost that they cannot even remember. And if any of them thought passing The Testing meant safety and security then they are in for a bit of a rude awakening.

Once again we follow Cia – she cannot remember her testing but she knows more than most and will also discover more during the course of this story – now working secretly for the resistance she has no idea who to trust, even amongst those she counts as friends. She’s also a little bit too clever for her own good and some very bad people are wondering if maybe she has some help..

 

I liked the often claustrophobic feel the author brought to this second novel – the action is fairly low key in a lot of ways, now Cia must fight and learn on a more cerebral level. I thought the handling of her relationship with Thomas was great – especially as she grows suspicious of him, indeed of everyone. In her new environment she has new friends and enemies and telling one from another is not easy, it creates a great underlying tension in the reading that sat very well with me.

 

The world building is expanded nicely and we learn more about how the government works, where it has its roots and it becomes apparent that Cia may have an even bigger fight on her hands than she thought. I do like the blurred lines the author has drawn between the good guys and the bad – there are several “factions” if you like, all who think their way is best, as things progress you wonder whether actually there is anyone that you could entirely root for. Cia herself faces some tough choices in order to ensure her own survival. Its intriguing stuff.

 

The ending was really great – well great if like me you have the third book immediately to hand – as Joelle Charbonneau has set the scene for a really tense and excellent finish – assuming she can keep up the momentum for “Graduation Day” I’m sure I’m going to be adding this to my list of favourite YA Trilogies.

 

Happy Reading folks!