Syd is an orphan. He doesn’t know anything about his past. He doesn’t want to think about his present. The only thing that keeps Syd going is that his debt is almost paid. Two more years and Syd’s time as a proxy will be done. No more punishments for crimes committed by his patron. No more being seen as less than everything in the eyes of the system. Two more years and Syd will finally be free.
Knox doesn’t think much about his past. Or his future. He doesn’t have to when he can focus on the present and all of the indulgences and luxuries it offers. Not to mention the opportunities to create mayhem and catch a cheap thrill. Sure, sometimes Knox gets caught. But then his proxy is the one punished. So, really, who cares?
Then things go too far.
Drawn together in the wake of a horrible wrong, Syd and Knox have to run from the authorities as they try to understand the secrets beneath the patron/proxy infrastructure. In a world where debts can be lethal, these unlikely allies will have to work together to try and tear down the system if they want to survive in Proxy (2013) by Alex London.
Proxy is a thrill-a-minute adventure set in a future where everything has a price. London alternates between Knox and Syd’s points of view throughout for a complete picture of the world as well as both characters. The world building here is top-notch to create a disturbingly possible and dangerous future.
Filled with as many explosions as it is with philosophical discussions, Proxy is an exciting read that also asks hard questions about obligations and the nature of determinism. The evolving dynamic between Syd and Knox is also fascinating to follow.*
Suffice to say, Proxy is a fun, surprising read. Even better, it is filled with meaningfully diverse characters readers will want to cheer for.
*Syd is also gay which isn’t a big deal in and of itself EXCEPT that his being gay is not in anyway the focus of the story–it’s just a part of his character. Unfortunately it’s still rare for characters to go against normative ideas (white, straight, etc.) in stories that focus on other things (like amazing stories of action and suspense). Proxy is obviously one exception and I hope to see more such characters in the future because society needs them. And if they’re anything like Syd they’re going to be awesome.
Possible Pairings: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson, The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid, Legend by Marie Lu, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Black City by Elizabeth Richards, Vicious by V. E. Schwab, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld