Proxy Review

Proxy - Alex London

This book follows two lead characters, Syd and Knox.  Knox is a spoiled rich kid who grew up having everything a boy could want except for love.  Syd is a poor kid who, because he was an orphan and had to go through the foster care system, and then go to get his biofeed implanted, and then go to school, is in some serious debt.  In order to pay off his debts, he became Knox's proxy which means that when Knox gets in trouble Syd gets punished.  Knox often gets in trouble, but at the start of the book he does something really bad and Syd is sentenced to the usual torture as well as 16 years in prison.  Understandably, Syd is like "fuck this" and the book kicks off from there.

I thought that the book was entertaining, and though I accepted it for what it was, I thought that it could have been more.  As always, I appreciate when there's some diversity in a book.  Syd is both gay and, considering that he was described as having dark brown skin and kinky hair, I think he was also black.  One of the things that I like about this teen dystopia trend is that we end up getting some books that deal with class issues.

But I do think that the book fails in convincing me that this could happen.  I do not have to suspend disbelief at all to imagine a world where the justice system fucks over the poor and privileges the rich, but this proxy system makes no sense to me.  Maybe it would work better if this was an underground system rather than the official justice system?  And I didn't understand why all these rich parents would give their children proxys.  Knox's father hates how spoiled and undisciplined his son is, and if he wants his son to learn a lesson and if he doesn't want to coddle Knox, then why would he give him a proxy?  Why not just let him get punished?

And with teen dystopians, I think that you do have to suspend disbelief when the teenager(s) fight back and actually have a chance at beating this really powerful government.  This was no different.  In this world people have this data in their blood steam and that makes it very easy for the government to track them.  I don't believe in how the characters were able to hide themselves.  

If Syd is alone in a room and suddenly Syd uses the fake ID and becomes Tom Miller, wouldn't the authorities know that Syd used a fake ID?

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Oh and the ending.  I liked the idea of how the book ended, though I thought that could be cleaned up a bit, but I did think "couldn't they do this other thing instead?"

Instead of sacrificing both Knox and Syd couldn't they both have contributed their blood and both could have survived?  I wish that that had at least been addressed in the book.

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So, in conclusion, I did enjoy it and I didn't think that it was a bad book.  But I think that with more work it could have been a lot better and thought provoking rather than just entertaining.