"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."
Independent Study is sort of better and worse than The Testing. It's better in some ways. Worse in others. It's sort of hard to explain.
The problem with the characters, especially Cia, is that they are quite difficult to understand. Needless to say, all of them (well, most of them) make me feel utterly stupid. They are just so good at solving problems which doesn't even seem to exist. I don't even know how they are so smart. I don't even see the problems. Cia, especially, is the smartest of all. She may have doubts about her ability, but don't let that fool you. She has killed people. She has destroyed people. She has done a lot of things to be in the University in Tosu City. And to be alive, I may add.
The plot holes are driving me crazy. Some characters are just there only to move the plot forward. Then they disappear when they aren't needed. For example, Cia's sort of mentor guy (the connection between the rebellion and her; just can't remember his name) is promoted to a new job. So where's his replacement? Shouldn't he be more focus on his new job than Cia? And Cia should had gotten his replacement instead of him looking over his shoulder... Hello! He has a freaking new job with the President!
Anyway, other than the plot holes and weird character appearances/disappearances, I think Independent Study's plot is good. Of course, everything is in the University, but it isn't without death. There's about three or four or five characters who are going to die. I bet Graduation Day (the sequel to this book) will have a lot more deaths and "redirection."
Hmm...Tomas' secret about that girl isn't that big of a shocker. (Want to know the spoilers? Keep on reading). He did kill her, so yes, I guess our suspicions are confirmed. But according to him, it's accidental. Apparently, Will pulled a gun and was waving it around. Hmm...Tomas isn't so bad, after all. I just hope he won't be in the crossfire for the next book.
Cheating. The teachers and staff behind the University thinks Cia is cheating. Apparently, her scores are off the chart. So much, they think she's cheating. Of course, we know she isn't cheating. However, that simply confirmed my thoughts for her. She is too smart for us. Oh! We are poor mortals compared to that Athena! Be still my heart, one day I will never catch up to her Pallas! (Sorry, trying to make fun of someone's poetry. Didn't work, I think).
Joelle Charbonneau (more like Charisousjosdij; Too many letters in her last name) is as good as ever. I love how she writes. Keep it up!
Rating: Three out of Five