Monday, 3 March 2014

Review: Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau

Title: Independent Study
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Genre: Dystopia
Series: The Testing #2
Source: Publisher & Purchased by Myself
Publisher: Templar Publishing
Publication Date: 1st January 2014

Tell Me About It
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.

My Thoughts
After finishing The Testing I desperately wanted Independent Study in my hands to read, luckily I didn't have to wait as long as others for this next instalment
Cia is now in the university in Tosu City, but if she thinks she is safe and past all the testing she can think again. Her life at the University is just about to get hard, with an enormous amount of classes to take, way more than her other fellow students, and an internship with President Collindar Cia can not let her defences down for one minute.
Her first day at the University is eventful, with a test as soon as they relax into their rooms, and then an even more eventful test. Some of the tasks they have to complete as a group are once again not for the faint hearted, and Cia must learn to trust strangers from other colonies in the city, with her future in the University, and her life. To make matters worse all this takes place in a field of study that Cia did not want to go into, Government, although she is happy that Tomas got into Biological Engineering, a field he wanted to go into.

Independent Study is once again full of mystery, secrets, and a lot of hidden agendas. Professor Holt wants to continue with The Testing process, not al all concerned about the casualties, willing to continue to weed out all the students that don't meet the requirements, but ready to 'redirect' them if they don't fit the standards that are looked for.

In regards to the characters I am still debating over who side they are really on. Michal is obviously on Cia's side and he has a small but important role in Independent Study. Ian I did like, and how he is willing to help Cia, but I still have doubts in the back of my mind over whether he is on Cia's side, or if he is reporting to the other side. Symon, the leader of the rebel group is a familiar face from The Testing, and he also has a few surprises hidden up his sleeve. Raffe is another one who I really don't know if he is on Cia's side or not. He is occasionally sneaky, but also offers his assistance and saves Cia's life and surprised me with some things he does. However after reading The Testing and knowing that not everything is what it seems, I am still putting him on the fence until the next book and I get to see his true intentions.

Independent Study is not a violent as the previous book, but this book allows Cia to really delve into the politics, the secrets, and the plots, and learn more about The Testing process and finally make sense of the truth. The last chapter was a shock, I didn't expect it to happen and once again Joelle has shown us never to trust anyone, they have their own secrets and agendas and have no problems killing to get what they want. When you think you can trust someone they quickly turn and show their true intentions, while others who you doubt may turn out to have good intentions. What happens next is a total mystery to me, and I am still doubting some people over their true intentions. Graduation Day needs to be in my hands now, at least I am happy with the knowledge that it's only a few short months to it's publication. Independent Study took me a while to read as I am still getting into the swing of things, but when I did pick it up to read I did not want to put it down. It is just as gripping as The Testing and I am looking forward to the next instalment.

About Joelle
I am a storyteller at heart. I have performed in a variety of operas, musical theatre and children's theatre productions across the Chicagoland area.

While I'm happy to perform for an audience, I am equally delighted to teach private voice lessons and use my experience from the stage to create compelling characters on the page. I am the author of the Rebecca Robbins mystery series (Minotaur Books), The Paige Marshall Glee Club mysteries (Berkley) and The Testing YA triology (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

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