Author: Alex London
Published: June 18th 2013
Review Copy: No
Why did I want this book?
I discovered the book on an American blog and really liked the review. After a couple of quotes, the decision was made: I had to buy it!
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.
The cover image looks very Sci-Fi-loaded, but you shouldn't be put off by it. The Story is set in a future dystopian world, but it isn't too withdrawn. On the one hand, the world is very futuristic, on the other hand, as soon as they are on the run, they use horses.
I think you could easily replace "Proxy" by "The Whipping Boy", then unfortunately, that's what Syd is.
The writing style was the main reason, I bought this book. I had just read an excerpt and I was already in love with it. Alex London created an atmosphere, that fascinated me from the beginning. I just couldn't put it down anymore! Do you know that feeling, when you find a book and you aren't sure, if you will ever find such a great one again? Yeah, that was the feeling I had, while reading it.
We have three important characters. First of all, of course there is Sydney, called Syd. He is an orphan (just to make Alex happy, I should mention, that Syd is a POC) and owns money to the government because of it. To pay his dept, he got signed up as a Proxy for a rich kid named Knox. Any time Knox misbehaves, Syd gets punished and tortured. And Knox excels at getting into trouble. Usually he just plays pranks but one day, he steals his dad's car and gets into an accident in which his date dies. As always Syd gets punished for it, but when they brand and plan to send him to a working colony for 16 years, he runs away.
To get out of the city, he needs a new ID, but when the only guy who can get him one turns out to be Knox, Syd decides to kidnap him, to get away from the government. But does Knox' father really care about his son, then by now he wants to see Syd dead, not caring that his son is still with him. And Knox doesn't seem to mind being with Syd, since he usually loves doing everything, that makes his father mad. Not until after a while, he realizes, that Syd is more that just a whipping boy and he regrets getting him into so much trouble. Well, there is also a girl involved, but I am not telling you, who it is. That's something you have to discover on your own!
For all of you, who already fell in love with Syd: Sorry girls, he is queer. And this is something, that unsettles Knox a lot of times. Which was actually pretty funny! I think it is good, that this book deals with topics like being gay. And no: There is no tragic love story in there. But yeah, there was some kissing in there nevertheless!
Stuck in my Head:
Usually, I always pick just one quote, but I think, this is a book that should speak up for itself.
„Syd pressed the base of his hands into his eyes. Another mark on his body. The birthmark, the scars from fights and cheap vaccines, now this, another reminder he had as much control of his skin as he did over the weather. None. Rage boiled inside him, pushing the pain in his body down. Sixteen more years, added just like that, and in Sterling Work Colony. It wasn’t right. It wasn’t fair.“
"The horse sped under Syd and he felt a tingle up his spine, a thrill. He’d never sat on anything alive before, never felt this much power beneath him, knowing the animal was only just barely under his command. He squeezed his heels into its sides and found he could steer the horse that way, or at least make suggestions to it. As long as his suggestions were respectful, the horse obeyed with tremendous force. All this death, he thought, and I’m just starting to feel alive."
"I believe you, Knox...And I don't care...Got it? I believe you're sorry. I. Don't. Care. I don't want your sorry. Live with your guilt. It's the one debt you owe me and I don't ever, ever want it repaid.”
What I didn't like:
Okay, there was a lot of Sci-Fi in this book. It didn't bother me, but I had to find something for this category.
Quick and dirty:
I think you can see, how exited I am. I love his writing style, the plot and the characters. Specially Syd, he was just adorable. It has everything you wish for: depth, suspense, great story and even humor. Honestly, I am feeling the urge to read it again, right now! The sequel is already pre-ordered and I am so looking forward to May. But you can read this book as a stand alone as well. It doesn't need the second book as a conclusion. I love this book, even though I suffered a lot towards the end. Page-turner!