Reviews for Truancy Origins

Booklist Reviews 2009 April #1
"This prequel to Truancy (2008) features 15-year-old twins Zen and Umasi, adopted sons of the notorious mayor of Education City, a dystopian metropolis where children are the product of cruel schooling. While Umasi is a model student and obedient son, when Zen discovers his father is responsible for the oppressive educational policy, he runs away to the abandoned districts to recruit homeless kids for his rebellion against city agents. Umasi quickly follows Zen, hoping to stop him from destroying the city, but the rebellion escalates into a war between the brothers. Both Umasi and Zen have inexplicable martial-arts training and talk like college professors, rather than teenagers. Despite its title, this book does little to explore how Education City came to exist or even why the brothers turn against each other. Instead, Fukui, who is a teen himself, focuses primarily on deftly depicted violence and explosive action sequences that will resonate most with reluctant male readers."

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
In this flashbacky prequel to Truancy, much is revealed of the falling-out between Zyid and Umasi. Both brothers hate their fascist society, but one becomes a violent rebel leader while the other is more inclined to wax poetical. There's some melodramatic brother-versus-brother wallowing to get through, but the story's fight scenes are vividly cinematic. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 December

Gr 8 Up--Zen and Umasi, the teenaged adopted sons of the mayor of Education City, rebel against the rigid strictures of society and the educational system and join the outcasts on the streets. But they have very different values and goals. Zen is determined to destroy the school and the City and establish himself as leader of the Truancy, a company of teens who have been expelled, while his gentler, more humane brother wants to protect the common people of the City, even if it means destroying his own brother. Fukui's second novel reads like a futuristic Lord of the Flies with gangs of boys running wild through an urban jungle battling one another and the Enforcers (for those of us who lived through the 1960s, the word "pigs" springs immediately to mind). Fukui's dramatic and compelling dystopian world will initially capture the imaginations of teens who are disenchanted with school and home and the limitations imposed upon them by adults. Unfortunately, the overwrought writing style, stock characters, underdeveloped plot, and nonstop mayhem are unlikely to hold their interest.--Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK

[Page 118]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

VOYA Reviews 2009 April
Fifteen years ago, the mayor of totalitarian Education City received an unwelcome gift from a mysterious source--six-month-old twin boys. His charge was to raise the babies, Umasi and Zen, as his own. Although initially apprehensive, the mayor accepted his responsibility, providing the pair with the strict upbringing proper in the city, while sheltering them in the luxurious mayoral mansion. As they grow, intense Umasi becomes a serious student, whereas feisty Zen rejects academics for martial arts training. Although neither boy is especially popular with other children, both love their adopted father despite his stern emphasis on homework and grades. The educational system rules absolutely in their city, and the mayor wants his sons to be outstanding in their oppressive world. As the boys grow, they discover that their father is responsible for the rules that sustain Education City and respond to this knowledge differently. Zen decides to destroy their world, but Umasi is equally determined to save itLike Truancy (Tor, 2008/VOYA April 2008), this prequel is replete with fights, flights, and desperately brave youth versus dreadfully wicked adults. Indeed the beatings are bloodier and the body count higher, but the writing is less polished and the plot more fantastic. The novel reminds the reader of an especially dark and sadistic video game and is certainly not for the squeamish. Although not equal in style or plot to its precursor, this raw and fast-paced story will be in demand.--Jamie S. Hansen 2Q 4P S Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.