AUTHOR: Alex London
GENRE: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
TAG LINE: Some debts cannot be repaid.
RATING: 4 Stars
SUMMARY: Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.
Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.
Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.
REVIEW: I was really excited when I found Proxy. I’ve wanted to read this book since I first heard about it. I read The Whipping Boy when I was younger, and the idea of a fresh new spin being put on the story intrigued me. It helped that Proxy is sci-fi and has an LGBT protagonist, who’s also a POC. So this story has a lot of positives going for it.
I really enjoyed the story in a whole. The plot is pretty simple and doesn’t become overly convoluted by unnecessary plot twists and facts. Syd, a proxy in The Mountain City, carries a virus in his blood that can reboot the entire system. When his patron, Knox, gets injured and the truth about Syd’s origins comes out, they go on a cross-country chase to reach a group of rebels known as the Rebooters.
The plot is consistent, the characters are intriguing, and Syd has a really strong voice. I loved that Syd approached things logically and didn’t make dumb decisions. Mr. London created a smart character that stayed true to himself and wasn’t compromised in order to increase the drama. The world of Proxy is really interesting and Mr. London does a great job of building it, creating a place I can believe exists. There are some questions left un answered, mostly based around the science of how certain things work, but because of the genre and the length of the book, I understand why he doesn’t go into detail.
There’s a nice balance of characters. The one female character, Marie, is strong. She doesn’t flinch at the first sign of danger and holds fast to her beliefs. I really enjoyed her and her sharp wit.
Knox was by far my least favorite character. He was self-centered, obnoxious, and for the most part showed little growth. I know why Mr. London wrote him like this, and I can appreciate that, but it still made reading his parts hard. Every time Knox spoke, I rolled my eyes. I really wanted horrible things to happen to him.
There were some issues with the book, which is why I detracted a star. I didn’t like how the POV switched constantly. The book is written in third person past tense. In the beginning of the book, we get alternating chapters that focus on Knox and Syd. This works well; but, when Syd and Knox meet, the POVs change between the two without any clear definition. I can be reading one paragraph in Syd’s POV, and Knox’s thoughts and be interjected into Syd’s dialogue. There are also moments where minor characters, such as Egan or Marie, have a voice. This made reading confusing at times and definitely pulled me out of the story at moments.
There were a few grammatical errors. This isn’t necessarily a reflection of Mr. London, but rather the editor. I think one more read through would have caught those mistakes, which consisted of repeated words, wrong word choice, or the wrong clause.
My only other complaint was the fact that I could see the ending coming a mile away. Mr. London does a great job of foreshadowing, but the pieces click into place rather quickly when you see how things develop.
All together though, I’d say Mr. London did a great job. I’m so happy that someone wrote a story with both a strong LGBT character and a POC. I’d have liked a few more female characters, but I understand that there wasn’t a place for them. The story was interesting and I became invested in Syd and what happened to him (screw Knox). I’m going to go out and buy Guardian so I can finish Syd’s story and learn about this Liam character people have been talking about.
A side note: I am really disappointed in the cover artist. The cover is supposed to be a mirror image of Knox and Syd, but its evident the model for Syd is white. Shame on the artist for not appropriately representing Syd’s character and white washing.