Saturday, August 24, 2013

Proxy by Alex London

In a future where the Earth has been ravaged by war and natural disasters, a new order has arisen where those who created the safe haven of the new city benefit from their wealth with good food and a suitably lux lifestyle, while the orphans and ordinary people scratch out a living in the Valve.  It is also the city where the wealthy can purchase a Proxy contract for their entitled children, selecting orphans from the Valve to be their own personal whipping boy (or girl) - every time the Patron child misbehaves the Proxy child is punished in their place.  It is a system that works, a system that is meant to protect the Patron child as they grow and learn, the punishment of their Proxy should lead to learning a lesson - but sometimes the Proxy ends up with a Patron like Knox.

Knox is wealthy and entitled, and he has no care for his Proxy Syd -every time he does something Syd has to deal with the consequences from hard labour through to painful jolts from an EMD stick.  When he is dragged before the Guardians yet again Syd wonders what his next punishment will be, and he has no idea that this time Knox has committed murder and the punishment is hard labour in a prison camp where he is likely to die or face permanent injury - and he will be imprisoned well beyond the two years he owes on his contract.  In what seems to be an impossible move Syd escapes and finds himself on the run with the most unlikely ally - Knox, the Patron who has made his life a living hell (and he has the scars to prove it).

Proxy was an intriguing and interesting take on the dystopia theme, but also on the theme of the whipping boy who takes the punishment of their wealthy Patron - a system they are signed up for in the orphanage without their consent.  The only way to leave the Patron/Proxy system is to repay the debt, to do your time and avoid racking up extra debt, or to die.  Syd is at the centre of a conspiracy that he has no clue about, he has no idea how special he is until Knox makes a completely boneheaded decision that sets both of them on a collision course with an unbelievable secret that neither of them could ever have guessed at.

The cast of Proxy is interesting, and the action is well paced, and the little hints and clues about the conspiracy at the centre of the novel are carefully doled out to keep you hooked on the story.  As Knox and Syd learn the little bits of the truth you learn with them, and it keeps you very much connected to what they are going through and what the ultimate goal might be.  The characters built around Syd and Know feel a little clichéd at times, but that is to be expected a little as people and stereotypes become clichéd for a reason.  This is a well imagined future, and one that could easily be just around the corner.  The writing felt a little awkward at times, the sentences not laid out or said quite the way I would have expected, but it was still an addictive read that I didn't want to put down - especially when I reached the second half of the book.

If you like this book then try:
  • XVI by Julia Karr
  • The Declaration by Gemma Malley
  • Numbers by Rachel Ward
  • The limit by Kristin Landon
  • Slated by Teri Terry
  • Hex by Rhiannon Lassiter
  • Eve by Anna Carey
  • Legend by Marie Lu
  • Variant by Robison Wells
  • Arrival by Chris Morphew
  • The hunt by Andrew Fukuda

Reviewed by Brilla

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