Anything But Independent | Independent Study Review

I had mixed feelings regarding the first book in this trilogy The Testing. I loved the first half; the educational twist on the dystopian genre was refreshing. But then the second part happened. And I didn't like that. I was reading a poor copy of The Hunger Games, and sadly, Independent Study did not break away from The Hunger Games pattern. Oh, no. Charbonneau stuck to her guns and replicated Catching Fire perfectly. Cia has just survived The Testing, and now, after thinking she's finally safe, she has to do a load more tests and stick herself in life threatening situations. So, basically Katniss competing in a second Hunger Games then? Furthermore, to really lack and sense of originality, Cia is going to become the face of a revolution. Seriously Charbonneau? You're slipping a bit of Mockingjay too? I only assume, due to the strikingly ridiculous similarities (although I feel copying is more apt) that Graduation Day will be Mockingjay all over again.

Charbonneau had a lot going on in Independent Study, yet nothing ever seemed to happen. There were lots of characters and so many odd names that it was hard to keep track of who was who. Additionally, the majority of the time the characters appeared for one or two paragraphs and then vanished completely. They weren’t needed, so why were they there? The excessive amount of characters that served no purpose seriously impacted my enjoyment of the novel.

During The Testing and Independent Study one character I constantly liked was Michal. My opinion didn’t falter at all while reading. But then Charbonneau ruined everything. She killed Michal. 98% into the novel everything’s going well, and then BOOM. Michal is dead. And I find myself asking why. Why is he dead? Why is my favourite character dead? It’s Finnick all over again. Why do author’s perpetually do this? From Suzanne Collins to Helen Fielding. Do they get joy from killing their best characters? Or is it merely a tool to create suspense and action, to shock readers. Perhaps they find themselves stuck, not knowing what to do, thinking ‘well, it’s a bit boring at the moment; I’ll just go ahead and kill someone. And not just anyone, one of my best someone’s in the whole damn series’. Authors need to stop doing this. Meaningless death doesn’t make a book more interesting. It appeals to me in no way.

I won’t be reading Graduation Day; too many things annoyed me to persist with the trilogy. Reading a book or series should not be a measure of persistence, and sadly it was. I would not recommend this book, or the trilogy for that matter. If you want something similar then I highly recommend you opt for The Hunger Games. I'd love to know what you think of this book, so please let me know in the comments.

'Independent Study' by Joelle Charbonneau
2 Stars

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