Author: Isamu Fukui
The Mayor rules the city with an iron fist, with the help of his Educators. Fighting against the Mayor and the Educators is a group of former students called the Truancy, whose goal is to take down the system by any means possible. Fifteen-year-old Tack is just trying to survive the system, his days an endless procession of sadistic teachers, unrelenting schoolwork, and indifferent parents. But things start to look up when he meets Umasi, a boy who runs a lemonade stand in an uninhabited district and who becomes Tack’s mentor. Then someone close to Tack gets killed in the crossfire between the Educators and the Truants. Tack swears vengeance, and joins the Truancy to get close to the killer. But he soon finds himself torn between his desire for vengeance and his growing sympathy for the Truants.
I thought that the plot of this book would be simple – the Truancy is good, the Educators are bad, the Truants must beat the Educators. That really wasn’t it. The Truancy and the Educators are bad. Which would make a grand total of one “good guy” (two if you count Tack, which I don’t).
Tack was my favorite character. I didn’t agree with his desire for vengeance, or how he went about it, but it did make for a more interesting story. And I’m glad that he felt guilty about killing people. I do, however, think that he shouldn’t have agreed to kill in the first place.
Umasi was my second favorite character, and from my viewpoint, the only “good guy.” I liked him because he really cared about people, and made a point of not killing. He wasn’t a student, or a Truant, or working with the Educators. In fact, he didn’t do much of anything – except offer advice. Although I agree with his reasons for not joining the Truancy, I think he should have acted on his ideas to change the City.
Zyid…I have mixed feelings about him. I admired him for doing something to get rid of the Educators, but I think he went about it all wrong. I hated him for ordering so many assassinations and causing so many deaths and so much destruction. Then he’d show that he did have a heart and a conscience, and I’d feel sorry for him. I’m still not sure if I like or dislike what happened to him in the end.
Noni I didn’t like at first, simply because she was a heartless assassin. Then, like Zyid, it turned out that she actually had a heart, and I didn’t mind her so much. But I don’t see what Tack likes so much about her.
Pretty much the only thing I had a problem with was all the blood. I can handle a little death, especially in a book as full of battles as this one was. But all the gory details aren’t needed. If this book were a move, I’d rate it PG-13 for violence.
I’m not quite sure if I’m satisfied with the ending. It wasn’t unduly sad, thankfully, or unrealistically happy; with two groups of “bad guys” fighting against each other, a happy ending is out of place. But there is room for a sequel. And I sure hope there is one!