Reviews for “Proxy” and “Guardian” by Alex London

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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.

This is one of the many books I picked up at New York Comic Con 2013. When I saw on the  Book Con schedule that Alex London was doing a panel with Veronica Roth, I decided to read Proxy right away .

I found it to be a enjoyable and fast paced read. The action is non-stop. Just when the characters have gotten away, someone else is right behind them. Some “twists” were predictable, but no less captivating. It was an adventure that kept me turning the page.

I liked the character development for the Syd and Knox along the way. From beginning to end I was engaged with the way their situations and their journey shaped them.

I do have to critique Knox. I did not hate him, but he did annoy me a lot. He got to be less so towards the end. What annoyed me most about him (besides being a spoiled rich kid who let Syd take his punishments for years with indifference because he just wanted to get back at his father) was that he would flirt with Syd. Knox has some nerve! His punk ass stupidity caused lasting damage on Syd! Then Knox tries butter him up to get him to trust him? And what a tease too because Knox is not gay.
Then Knox gets all afraid Syd might “get ideas” when they have to share the thermal blanket. First of all, that is the furthest thing on Syd’s mind, especially since he does not even like Knox romantically. Second, Syd should be worried about Knox trying something since he’s the one flirting all the time. The best part was when Syd and Marie were messing with him. That got me to laugh out loud. It’s one of my favorite scenes.

I very much like Marie, but she was not as developed as Syd and Knox. I hope to learn more about her background and see where her character goes in the next book.

I like that Syd, the hero/main character of the story, is gay. Not that I have read all the books that exist, I don’t see many LGBT heros/main characters in Sci-fi/fantasy stories. That aspect of his character, as well as the homophobia he experiences was well written. It didn’t feel forced or artificial.

There is also the social commentary aspect of consumerism and advertisers always bombarding customers. Only in Proxy, it’s a bit like “The Matrix” where they are biologically always connected. Therefore, in Proxy they always being presented with ads and offers everywhere they go. I don’t know how it doesn’t drive them insane.

One other critique I have was Knox’s sacrifice at the end. I am not sure how I feel and keep going back and forth. Not that he did it, but the way it was rushed. I keep trying to figure out if it felt like it came out of thin air or if it makes total sense. On the one hand it’s about time Knox grows up and does something for a greater cause than himself. And he owes Syd much more than he could ever give, so I am glad he stepped up. Then again, Syd had been cultivating the virus for 16 years. Knox had his blood transfusion a week ago. Did such a complicated virus really spread in his system that quickly? Did I miss the hints and clues to the mark behind his ear, or was it left out on purpose for a last minute “shocking” twist?  That is something to look for when I read it again.

3.5 out 5 debts to pay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The pulse-pounding sequel to Proxy! Inspired by The Whipping Boy and Feed, this adrenaline-fueled thriller will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.
In the new world led by the Rebooters, former Proxy Syd is the figurehead of the Revolution, beloved by some and hated by others. Liam, a seventeen-year-old Rebooter, is Syd’s bodyguard and must protect him with his life. But armed Machinists aren’t the only danger.
People are falling ill—their veins show through their skin, they find it hard to speak, and sores erupt all over their bodies. Guardians, the violent enforcers of the old system, are hit first, and the government does nothing to help. The old elites fall next, and in the face of an indifferent government, Syd decides it’s up to him to find a cure . . . and what he discovers leaves him stunned.
This heart-stopping thriller is packed with action, adventure, and heroics. Guardian will leave you breathless until the final page.
A fast-paced, thrill-ride of novel full of non-stop action, heart-hammering suspense and true friendship—just as moving as it is exhilarating. Fans of Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series, James Dashner’s Maze Runner, Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking series, and Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy will be swept away by this story.

 

 

Back in May, right before Book Con I went to the book launch party for Guardian at Books of Wonder. Alex London spoke a bit aboutProxy and GuardianGuardian is the sequel he never planned to write. While Proxy works as a good stand alone, Guardian leaves you wanting more. I can’t stop thinking about it and have been unable to move on to my next book.

I really enjoyed the talk at Books of Wonder. Alex London is really personable, friendly, and funny. He’s a good story teller. You can read more about his bio hereTo sum up he used to be a journalist and one story he told that stuck with me was when he was in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am not going to be able to retell it as well, so please bear with me. A volcano was erupting so they evacuated the town. Except for one group of people who decided to stay. They were these boys who had been taken as children to become soldiers and were then rescued and being rehabilitated.
So Alex had called up the priest, who was their caretaker or teacher, to make sure they were all right. The priest said that they were fine and that the lava was spilling into the town, but they boys had quickly built a trench around their school, so the lava flowed into that and left them unharmed. The reason they didn’t want to evacuate was because they had finally found a home and so they worked together to keep it intact. I didn’t say it as eloquently but I think you get the meaning. It was a very touching and heart warming.
(I should bringing a digital recorder to the talks I go to so I can make proper notes afterward.)

I also watched the Book Con panel with Alex and Veronica Roth last night. I was there in person, but I felt like watching it again because I enjoyed it so much. They’re funny and I really liked their casual conversation and learning all the tidbits about their books I didn’t know. I laughed at the clone army part. 

Ok, so onto my thoughts on Guardian.

First, you don’t know how much it BOTHERS me that the covers don’t match. I have an first edition of Proxy and the cover of Guardian matches the paperback edition of Proxy. I like this design better and would like to know who printed this edition:

Guardian by Alex London

 

Although both my copies are personally signed by Alex, so if I got that ^ edition (if it exists) of Guardian I’d have to get it signed too. Publishers, listen to me. Keep your editions consistent so it can match on my shelves. Hardcover first editions should keep the same design. Same with paperbacks. 

Ok, now I am really going to write my review. It contains spoilers so I’ll hide the rest.

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Book review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

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Pierce Brown’s relentlessly entertaining debut channels the excitement of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and lush wilds spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

(Note: I wrote this review on March 23, 2014. After I reread it I’ll post a new review with more thoughts.)

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Book Review: Savage Girl by Jean Zimmerman

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Savage Girl introduces us to Bronwyn, a strong, independent girl who is adopted by a wealthy Manhattan couple. She takes her new world by storm as suitors find her irresistible…and deadly.


A riveting tale from the author of The Orphanmaster about a wild girl from Nevada who lands in Manhattan’s Gilded Age society

Jean Zimmerman’s new novel tells of the dramatic events that transpire when an alluring, blazingly smart eighteen-year-old girl named Bronwyn, reputedly raised by wolves in the wilds of Nevada, is adopted in 1875 by the Delegates, an outlandishly wealthy Manhattan couple, and taken back East to be civilized and introduced into high society.

Bronwyn hits the highly mannered world of Edith Wharton–era Manhattan like a bomb. A series of suitors, both young and old, find her irresistible, but the willful girl’s illicit lovers begin to turn up murdered.

Zimmerman’s tale is narrated by the Delegate’s son, a Harvard anatomy student. The tormented, self-dramatizing Hugo Delegate speaks from a prison cell where he is prepared to take the fall for his beloved Savage Girl. This narrative—a love story and a mystery with a powerful sense of fable—is his confession.

(Note: I originally wrote this review on March 14, 2014)

I was randomly selected to receive an advanced digital copy of this novel through this site I signed up to. Which is pretty cool and exciting.

It really took me a while to get used to the prose. At times the descriptions would be quite poetic. (Page 80: No other landscape I had ever experienced more proved the point that beauty and terror are sisters. I stared out at the desert and felt its challenge.)

I liked the historical fiction aspect when it came to reading about America’s landscape and city life in the late 1800’s. However, the author would get too carried away until it became a rambling tangent that interrupted the narrative. It also did not make it easier to read when it came to Hugo’s present day confession and the words exchanged between Hugo and his laywers were not in quotations. I often had to reread paragraphs to figure out what was said out loud and by whom.

I understand why Hugo was the narrator, it is a confession after all and makes for an interesting twist, but I often found him unlikable. Also, when he was not at home with Bronwyn I found him a bit dull. I was curious to see Bronwyn’s transformation through another character’s point of view. Perhaps Tu-Li or Tahktoo.

All that being said, I pushed through. I found it picked up in Part 2 and became an interesting mystery. I liked the philosophical nature vs. nurture brought up in the story. I enjoyed the story and am glad I pushed through to finish it, but I cannot say I loved it.

Overall I would rate it 3 out of 5 suitors.

Book Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire, by Cassandra Clare

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Shadowhunters and demons square off for the final showdown in the spellbinding, seductive conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian, but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance.

Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change. Who will survive the explosive sixth and final installment of the Mortal Instruments series?

I wrote a guest review for Lazy Book Lovers, where I remained spoiler free. If you don’t want any spoilers please read  my review on LBL.

If you have already read it and would like to know my thoughts and discuss the book, please continue.

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Book Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Lost Souls, by Cassandra Clare

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What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

(Note: I originally wrote this review February 23, 2014. )

This book has become such a huge guilty pleasure of mine. It’s not a great book. Heck, in the whole series the prose gets quite repetitive. Whenever Clare describes a character there is a formula about the angles of their face, what they are wearing, the color of their hair, their eyes, and what their eyelashes are doing. BUT it’s deliciously cheesy with teenage angst and I can’t help but admit I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of when I would love to watch soap operas in my childhood and teenage years. It was like Days of Our Live, Passions, and some CW supernatural drama all rolled into one. I just can’t get enough. LOL

I think I was supposed to read this after Clockwork Prince and before Clockwork Princess, which means the references to Infernal Devices made in Lost Souls were just supposed to be hints. But I already know how the dots connect.

Like all the good soap operas I have enjoyed in my life, here are a few things that bothered me: (Spoilers ahead.)

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Book Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Fallen Angels, by Cassandra Clare

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The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And, most importantly of all, she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her, his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

((Note: I originally wrote this review February 15, 2014. )

This book was just ok. Not as compelling as the previous books in the series. This forth book of The Mortal Instruments is supposed to be read after the prequel series’ Clockwork Angel and before Clockwork Prince. Which means the reader is not supposed to know who Brother Zachariah really is.

I feel though that either Clare should have kept The Mortal Instruments a trilogy or that the second half should be read after all threeInfernal Devices books. That way Tessa could have been included in City of Fallen Angels too. Her gift would have been very useful, and these kids would not have screwed up the way they did.

Spoilers Ahead:

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Book Reviews: The Infernal Devices, by Cassandra Clare

The Infernal Devices trilogy is a prequel story to The Mortal Instruments. Even though it is a prequel it should definitely be read after The Mortal Instruments‘ first three books because they are not as bogged down with the set up of the mythology. It gets right to the story, so by the time the reader gets to this book they should know about this supernatural world.

 

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The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.

(Note: I originally wrote this review January 25, 2014. )

Not going to lie, I totally judged this book by the cover. I bought it years ago because I love the artwork. I knew I would not read The Mortal Instruments right away. I had no idea if I would even like that series or it’s prequel story, but I just bought it for the cover alone.

I really like the descriptions of Victorian London. The story was fun and well paced, even if it was a bit predictable. I knew early on not to trust Axel Mortmain and predicted the distractions. Still, I enjoyed the way it unfolded.

I also liked most of the characters. I feel Tessa is more mature and less whiny than Clary. I like her. I love Jem. In fact, it would not be a YA novel without a love triangle and I prefer Tessa with Jem over Will. I know it is futile since I read on Shadowhunter wiki page that Jace is a direct decedent of Will and Tessa. I don’t care. Jem is friendly, kind and open. (I love this quote from Jem to Tessa on page 472: “I know you feel inhuman, and is if you are set apart, away from life and love, but I promise you, the right man won’t care.” He said this after Will rejected her because she might be a warlock and it is forbidden for Shadowhunters to get romantically involved with them.) Will can be a jerk. I don’t dislike Will, he just needs a good kick in the behind and to stop putting up walls.
I am unsure about Jessamine. Her brattiness can get old fast.

The creepy Clockwork automations are interesting. It’s a new sci-fi addition in a mainly fantasy series, This is more of a sci-fi and fantasy mix.

I loved this quote from Tessa on page 87: “One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have power to change us.”

4 out of 5 automations

I was advised to read these in publication order, which means I should read The Mortal Instruments: City of Fallen Angels next. However, I never bought that book and it’s not availble to read at the library yet. So, since I own it already I am going forth with The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Prince.

The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare.

(Note: I originally wrote this review January 28, 2014. )

I really enjoyed this story. It was a mystery, crime solving adventure and a page turner. Over the weekend I read 365 pages. Saturday morning I was on page 137 and by Sunday night I was finished.

This whole world totally reads like fan fiction. Not that that is a bad thing. I just mean that I really like the relationships between these prequel characters and the world they live in, even though it does not reflect actual historical Victorian England. The characters feel too modern in a period setting. Still, the banter between the teenage characters is amusing. I especially like the brotherly bond between Will and Jem, as well as the friendship between Tessa and Sophie.

It is interesting reading about the ancestors of the families from TMI, and their feuds. 

I warmed up to Will and had a bit more sympathy for him. However, he’s so silly to believe that demon curse. I knew that demon was bluffing all along. That was so predictable. I mean, I guess because Will was young and clueless about the Shadowhunter world that made him too naive to realize the curse was bogus. It’s just so silly. And why didn’t Magnus mention the demon’s flaw in the first place? Would Will not have believed him?

I love Magnus more and more with each book. His humor and personality amuse me.

While I prefer Jem as a love interest (his make-out scene was Tessa was pretty hot), Will’s confession scene to Tessa was so sad. And while she cares for Jem, her heart is with Will. Poor Jem. I am a bit spoiled about what happens. I know Tessa gets to have them both. Talk about having her cake and eating it too.

5 out 5 swords

The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare.

(Note: I originally wrote this review February 9, 2014. )

This was a great conclusion to The Infernal Devices trilogy. There was action, drama, humor, political vindictiveness, bitter-sweet good-byes, answers to questions, and possibilities. 
First off the Herondale birthmark. I was glad to see its origin, but Will never brings it up. I know he has too many scars to count, but I thought at least this mark would not have escaped his notice considering it has significance in the previous (yet future events) Mortal Instruments books. Besides being “touched by an Angel,” what does it mean? Does it mean Ithuriel protects him and his bloodline too? That would bring more meaning and protection for Jace who has the mark and was given Ithuriel’s blood before he was born. I just would have liked a follow up to its meaning, besides it being a marker for the Herondale bloodline.

I’ve come to love Will as much as I love Jem. He’s funny, and I did like his silly, cheesy songs and poems. I absolutely love Will and Jem’s friendship. My heart broke first when they had to say goodbye, and then when Will died. I cried during the Epilogue. Not only for Will and Jem, but for Tessa, who leaves her children and grandchildren because she cannot bear to outlive them too.

I really like Woolsey’s line to Tessa, “Most people are lucky to have one great love in their life. You have found two.” I have read that Tessa and Jem make an appearance in the next TMI books and I am so looking forward to it.
And even though I ship Tessa/Jem, I was totally cheering them on when Tessa and Will consummated. That scene was very sexy. I ship them both. I am glad Tessa and Will got to have a full life together and have children, and I am glad Jem found a cure, left the Silent Brothers and can finally be with Tessa. I hope they have children too in the next series to come.

Consul Wayland is a backstabbing piece of shit. So glad he got what he deserved in the end. His letters to Charlotte, or to anyone, would piss me off. On the other hand, the Lightwoods’ letters to him were amusing and made me chuckle.
So glad those Lightwood boys were good guys. Gideon’s proposal to Sophie reminded me of Pride and Prejudice. Everyone had to leave the room, Cecily and Gabriel were listening at the door. lol

It was really cool to see Henry’s invention of the Portal work. I liked that he worked with Magnus.

The climax when Tessa turns into Ithuriel was very cool. Having Mortmain’s clockwork device and Tessa be his destruction was a good backfire. Not to mention it is Tessa who saves them all with her power. She’s not as well trained, and an outcast in the Shadowhunter world, but she stands up for herself and doesn’t sit on the sidelines.

Another plus is that the end was not rushed and summarized after the battle was won. There was a good 100 pages after the battle to wrap it up making the last book well paced throughout.


5 out 5 Angels