Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
Independent Study starts where its predecessor The Testing ends, with Cia about to enter the University in Tosu City in the middle of what before the Seven Stages War was the United States. This second book is more thought provoking than its predecessor, as Cia ponders issues like big government vs. a libertarian society, and there is less overt violence, but power struggles, competitions between Colony and Tosu City students, and pervasive sinister threats mean there is no less tension.
Trust is a huge issue in Independent Study, all the way through the story. Like all (or almost all!) students Cia has had her memory of the Testing experience wiped out, but she’s found a recording she made for herself about it that is unsettling to say the least. I enjoyed learning more history of United Commonwealth in this book, especially how scientists dealt with the devastations of the wars and their aftermath, including sections on chicken survival and new lethal strains of poison ivy.
This being the second in a series, readers will probably enjoy it more if they start with The Testing. Independent Study ends with a cliffhanger, so if you hate that you’ll want to wait until the next book is published. Also, this series has some strong similarities to the Hunger Games and if that bothers you you'll want to skip this series entirely. But if you don’t mind that, if you like Hunger Games and would like to read more books like it, I recommend this series. For me its premise makes more sense and as good as The Hunger Games is I’m enjoying these books more.