Seventeen-year-old Cia Vale survived The Testing, as has Tomas, the boy she loves, and they have both gained admission to the University. She has a promising future as a leader of the United Commonwealth and no memory of her bloody testing experience, thanks to a government-sanctioned memory wipe. Cia should be happy but is plagued by doubts about the past and future.
Determined to find the truth, she embarks on a path of study forbidden by the government delving into the Commonwealth's darkest secrets. What she finds is the brutal reality lurking behind the friendly faces of her classmates and the unbearable realization that leaders chosen to protect us can be our greatest enemy.
©2014 Joelle Charbonneau (P)2014 Recorded Books
Independent Study is not a bad book per se; however, quirks that didn't bother me as much with the first book became problematic by the second. Yes, Cia is a bit too smart and figures everything out. But ultimately, that the characters talk like textbooks with very few colloquialisms made the story and characters feel very artificial to me. This was exacerbated by a narrator on Audible who also couldn't make the words sound natural and instead felt like she was reading off a card, with odd breaks in the overly wordy dialogue.
Story: Cia has passed the testing but now faces the challenges of induction. She's been chosen as a leader for government and her life is just as perilous and decisions just as critical as during the Testing. Lives will be lost, she will face betrayal, but she will also be given hope for the first time. Cia will have to learn quickly: for every mistake she makes, someone will die.
Unlike most dystopian books, the government isn't all evil nor populated with moustache twirling bad guys. Characters are good and bad and each have their own motivations for what they do. While this book did not peg my implausibility meter quite as frequently as other dystopians, there were still some questions about why the government is so stupid/allows Cia the chances she gets to learn more about them. The old "hiding behind an object just in time to overhear incriminating words from the bad guys' was more than a bit too much.
As noted before, the dialogue here became very stilted by book two. I didn't mind it as much in book one - I greatly appreciate a character who acts with maturity and thoughtfulness. But when every character seems to be the same way, it does lead to monotony. I began to wish for a character who would actually speak in sentences less long than an entire paragraph. It's the type of writing that sounds good in your head but when said outloud, you soon realize how stilted and unnatural it sounds. On the audible version, it really became problematic.
I will continue to read the series through to the last book. I've read some really poor YA dystopians lately and this is definitely not among them. But at the same time, I would have liked this better without the endless textbook dialogue or supernaturally gifted main character.
The politics behind the testing is better explained and feels more plausible than in the first book. I like that Cia is her own person that makes her own decisions based on what she thinks is right.
The part in the old zoo was interesting.
I saw most of the ending coming but there was still a part of the ending that was unexpected.
No. I don't think that she was a good choice for this series. Most voices sound the same.
This book is more developed and interesting than the first. Thomas is not in this book as much as in the first one, which is a good thing in my opinion. He is too perfect with few character flaws, which makes him uninteresting.
The first book was ok but this second one... AWFUL. I had to stop listening... Not EVERYTHING has to be a test.
No. The narration is so atrocious, I would urge my friend to buy the real book, or at least the ebook. In fact, I'd buy it for them just so they don't have to listen to Elizabeth Morton struggle through the narration.
The Hunger Games! Dystopian young adult novel, fighting against "the man." A huge challenge, lots of tests in order to determine who lives and who dies. A corrupt government, a secret resistance movement. Lots of similarities, but different enough to not be the same books. I'd have to say The Hunger Games is a bit better overall, but The Testing trilogy is also very good.
She sounds like she's reading to 4 year olds. Seriously. I caught myself reading to my friend's six-year-old the same way Elizabeth Morton narrates this book and stopped because it was condescending. She's reading to older kids but doesn't seem to know it. Half the time I wonder if she's ever seen what she's reading before she reads it. Very slow. Very deliberate. Intonation is way over the top. It makes me wonder, if Charbonneau actually, uses a musical comma, every other, word in the, book. All the characters sound the same – especially the males. This is very confusing when there's no "Cia said" or "Will chimed in." Which is rare, Charbonneau loves to tell you who is speaking.
Overall, with a better narrator, you could cut at least an hour off the listening time. Though it is a slight improvement over the first book.
Unfortunately, no. That's one of the reasons the story lost a star. Combined with the *facepalm* ending, I'd give it 3.5 stars if I could.
The series should have ended here. I don't want to spoilers, but for such a smart girl, Cia is really, really naïve and makes some horrible decisions – all to allow for a third book. I wish Charbonneau had not bitten into the trilogy fad and ended this series when it came to its natural conclusion.
Also, if my child was reading these books, I would make sure they really understand government as the message of the book could be seen as anarchy is superior to government. Which is against my personal beliefs and when it was explicitly stated in the book I had to hit back 30 to re-listen and sure I heard right.
Independent Study is better than The Testing!!! A surprise cliffhanger that I did not see coming. Joelle Charbonneau is in on par with Suzanne Collins as far as I am concerned. Elizabeth Morton does not disappoint. I highly recommend this book without reservation.
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