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.

I liked seeing the consequences of destroying the networks, consumerism and corporations in control. The society and government became the extreme opposite, socialism. “We all serve the Reconciliation. The work of one is the work of all.” It was scary because it shows how when one extreme is destroyed, then out of fear and need for control the opposite comes to power. There is no such thing as a utopian society but there should be something in the middle; a balance.

Also, I really liked the scene with Gianna and the other patrons’ children in Mountain City when she was retelling the aftermath. Whenever Gianna mentioned The Reconciliation they would spit and curse. The way they responded to her, they were a cult.

Also a huge plot point to discuss is the illness of those who had biodata and were connected to the network. The behavior of the “nopes” was very zombie-esque, only they didn’t want to eat brains. Maybe I was thinking too hard about this, but wouldn’t Syd having the virus that destroyed network in his blood give him immunity to the illness, like work as an antibody? However, he was supposed to die in process and never suffer the consequences. Then I remembered the illness was described as withdrawal, so I guess the virus has nothing to do with that anyway. Syd had biodata in his system and would suffer too, and it would be too easy for Syd to be immune.
Since they are going through withdrawal that also explains the sudden turn around some of the “nopes” make at the end. They learned to adapt. So what is next for them?

Syd’s grief and guilt was written so well.  Knox was in his head, talking to him, and Syd even mimics his sarcasm at times. It was good to see Knox, even in his subconscious. I didn’t realize I’d miss him. There were some funny scenes, but not as much humor asProxy had. I laughed when Marie was taking inventory of the hovercraft because “it would keep her from watching Syd and Liam in the most awkward medical procedure she’d ever seen.”

I liked seeing Marie’s struggle with her idealistic beliefs and helping her parents, and that in the end she put her family first.

I wish we got to see more of Dr. Adaeze Khan. I get why she was killed but was hoping to see her become friends with Syd and Marie. I am hoping for a prequel story one day with her, and Syd’s parents. Also, what is the history behind the Nigerians closing their boarders? It comes up briefly in both Proxy and Guardian.

The complexity of Liam is written really, really well. I think this quote summed him up perfectly, “He was better than the worst thing he’d ever done and worse than the best he’d done too.” He’s a soldier with blood on his hands, but he’s also a naive kid who was easily manipulated. He is sometimes vulnerable, and idealistically romantic, who is not ashamed to be gay.

There were two reoccurring themes I liked. One was when Liam would try to calm himself by imagining waterfalls. The second was Cousin’s statement, “I have always been more interested in silences than in confessions.” That is a good line. Cousin was scary. He was an enforcer, like Darth Vader; and a manipulative bully.

Liam’s feelings for Syd might seem sudden at the beginning but it’s six months later. Liam has been there since the Jubilee. Knows the truth about Syd being a false symbol and he understands why he’s morose.

Oh! I believe I caught a blooper on page 219. It was stated that Liam is illiterate, but how was he able to read the scratchiti in Mountain City that said “Chey is watching”?

I would have liked more development of Liam’s background. His family, how he became a solider, how he became a believer in Yovel. The story ends abruptly when Syd asks for Liam’s story, and a third book is needed. I want Liam’s story. Apparently there are hints about what happened to his hand in a short story, “Punishment”, published in the paperback of Proxy. So, I’ll read that. 

Still, there is a cliffhanger with Syd and Marie’s illness. What will happen with the sick people who recovered? It’s understandable the solution of a Machine was too easy a conclusion, but where do they go from here? I need to know.  Alex London is being vague about writing more. *shakes fist*


3.5 out of 5 blue veins.

 

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