07 July 2013

{Book Review} Proxy

By: Me My Shelf And I | 07 July 2013 at 12:10 AM | | | | | |

clip_image002Proxy
Proxy #1
Author:
Alex London
Pages: 384
Release Date: June 18
Publisher: Philomel
Format: ARC
Rating: 4.5 Stars

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.

For the past few years, I’ve heard the phrase, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” repeated in news commentary and by those struggling through hard times. Whether it’s true or not, Alex London has taken that phrase to the extreme in PROXY. The wealthy families control the credit and can do most anything they please while the poor are trapped in a debt cycle where they must “pay off” their debts by being proxies and taking the punishments of their wealthy patrons. And while we see no middle class, the closest hint towards it includes powerful criminal leaders.

Not only is PROXY a satire of the United States’ class system and economy, but also business practices in general. People are ‘connected’ to the city’s network the moment they arrive in the city, whether that’s when they’re born or when arrive as refuges. The network tracks everything a person does and stores it. Think of Facebook, Amazon, and any shopping sites—they track your purchases and browsing history so they can target advertisements. Now imagine that on steroids where the ads are constantly projected around you. On top of that, proxies receive a contract with all the horrible details hidden in fine print or phrasing far above their ability to understand.

This society is quite bleak if you’re a proxy, but if you’re born wealthy you get the fun, right? There are zoos filled with extinct animals, bio-patches that interact with your bio-network, fancy automated cars, and, of course, no capital punishment. As we see through Knox’s eyes, we realize that the entire system is quite unpleasant for most people.

One of the most unique and surprising aspects of PROXY is how seamlessly London weaves between perspectives. In three paragraphs, we can see through three different perspectives, yet never be confused on who it is or feel lost in the transitions. If someone told me this was possible before I read PROXY, I doubt I would’ve believed them—but believe me, it does.

I absolutely loved and hated our main characters Knox and Syd, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I flip-flopped so much on Knox. He’s not a particularly good guy (not really bad either), but he exudes charm. I wanted to like him, but wanted to smack him into tomorrow. And while Syd is the nice-guy underdog I wanted only to root for, he pulled some typical, mopey teenager attitudes exactly when I wanted him to rise above it all. Their flaws just made the ending that much better.

My absolutely favorite part of PROXY is when Knox and Syd first meet and have to navigate that social taboo—proxies and patrons are forbidden to meet. I almost wish that the novel had kept more of that dynamic and stayed a little more contained. Rather it goes the path of revolution and our characters must try to change their world. As it transitioned, I lost a little bit of interest, but a chapter or two into their rebellion, I was fully on board again! Trust me; you want to read this amazing ending.

FIND ALEX LONDON
WEBSITE | TWITTER

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2 comments:

  1. I really like the sound of this book! :) The plot sounds unique and I always like a refreshing dystopian story.

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The premise is fascinating! Might have to get my hands on it:)

    ReplyDelete

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