Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: Truancy

Track lived an average life in the City, being brainwashed and oppressed every day in school.  His world changes the day his little sister is accidentally killed in a terrorist attack.

Wanting revenge, Track joins the terrorist kids that are calling themselves the Truancy.  He's determined to kill their leader, Zyid, his sister's killer, but instead finds himself Zyid's second in command.  As he learns to fight and kill, he starts to wonder whose side he's really on...

Entertainment: ★★★

The premise sounded very cool - a school system systematically devoted to turning children into faceless, obedient cattle, and a rebel group with the fabulous name of the Truancy.  And in many ways it was interesting and exciting and fun.  However.  By the end of the book, I was finding it more than a little cheesy.  And it started to turn into this weird martial-arts movie, complete with a wise, pacifistic sage and lots of sword fights.  I was seriously expecting Jackie Chan to do a cameo or something, it was that strong a resemblance.  So I finished the book with mixed feelings - it was exciting, but frankly a little weird.

Plot: ★★

Honestly it took itself a little too seriously.  And it was hard to take the mercy/pacifism message it supposedly had seriously when everybody's slicing and bombing and gunning each other to bits.  And frankly having a teen as the 'wise sage' character was just bizarre.  He's spouting all this philosophical stuff you'd expect to come from the bearded man on the mountain but instead he's, well, a kid.  Oh, and I  still don't understand why everybody was taking the time to learn samurai skills when they all clearly had access to guns and bombs.  So the only way I can describe this plot is as anime meets dystopia, and I didn't think Truancy combined the two well.

Characters: ★★★

As mentioned above, the whole wise sage kid thing was weird.  And Zyid was equally weird.  Both of them talk like adults, not dropout kids.  And I just didn't get a lot of the side characters (most of whom also talked like college-educated world-weary forty-year-olds, not children).  I did like Tack, though, and I thought his growth and change was fairly plausible.  So for him, I'll give the Characters three stars.

Writing: ★★★

Props for good fighting scenes, at least at the beginning of the book.  I do have to take away points, however, for a severe lack of slow scenes and the fact that 429 pages of fight scenes just gets old fast.  Plus towards the end the fight scenes were getting a little deja vu and repetitive.  Overall fairly well written with plausible action.

End Result: three stars.  A decent book, but not amazingly excellent.

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