Fifteen years ago, the Mayor of the Education City was presented with an unwelcome surprise by his superiors: twin six-month-old boys. As the Mayor reluctantly accepted the two babies, he had no way of knowing that they would change the city forever… Raised in the comfort of the Mayoral mansion, Umasi and Zen are as different as two brothers can be. Umasi is a good student; Zen an indifferent one. They love their adoptive father, but in a city where education is absolute, even he cannot keep them sheltered from the harsh realities of the school system. But when they discover that their father is responsible for their suffering, affection turns to bitterness. Umasi and Zen are thrust onto two diverging paths. One will try to destroy the City. The other will try to stop him.
Truancy Origins is the prequel to Truancy written by Isamu Fukui. Truancy, which I read earlier this year, was written when Isamu Fukui was still a senior in high school, and I was impressed. Truancy Origins takes you back to when everything first started and it reveals so much more of what had to be assumed and neatly connects several threads.
Origins begins with the story of the two boys, Umasi and Zen (Zen later changes his name to Zyid), and is set 15 years prior to the events that set the Truancy movement into motion. We learn about how the Mayor became the father of Umasi and Zen and who it was that put the children on his doorstep. But what I really enjoyed was learning all about the Mayor, about how ruthless a person he was and that making the students life as hard as possible was something he took pleasure in. When Umasi and Zen find out what their father actually does, one of the boys, Zen, flips. He freaks out, finally understanding who is the cause of the student's harsh lives and he swears to fight the unjust education system and start the Truancy.
It was a great treat to read about Zen’s and Umasi’s early years and how they were as boys. Both were pretty smart but had a completely different outlook towards school: Zen was doing just enough to get by whereas Umasi was aiming to be top of his class. And it was fun to see Umasi growing from a "nerdy" student into the pacifist that we saw in Truancy - cool and collected, and also how he got his kick-ass martial arts skills! As well as the characters, we also get to learn a lot about the organization of the City itself, the roles of the Educators and it really allows a lot of things fall into place.
Writing a prequel was a great decision, it adds a lot of information that you previously had to guess at. There is much information about the two boys and how they came to be how they were in Truancy. This is a book that you simply have to read after you have read Truancy itself.
Review by Jasper de Joode
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