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Book Review and ARC Giveaway: Guardian by Alex London

In the new world led by the Rebooters, former Proxy Syd is the figurehead of the Revolution, beloved by some and hated by others. Liam, a seventeen-year-old Rebooter, is Syd’s bodyguard and must protect him with his life. But armed Machinists aren’t the only danger.

People are falling ill—their veins show through their skin, they find it hard to speak, and sores erupt all over their bodies. Guardians, the violent enforcers of the old system, are hit first, and the government does nothing to help. The old elites fall next, and in the face of an indifferent government, Syd decides it’s up to him to find a cure . . . and what he discovers leaves him stunned. All that he and Knox worked for hangs in the balance, and can he and his friends figure out how to help everyone- even though everyone is against them?

 The second in a duet, Guardian is the brilliant conclusion to Proxy, and tells the story of Syd and what happens after the Network fell. Knox sacrificed himself in the Network in order to take everything down and rebuild the world, and to give Syd a life. Now Syd is the messiah of the Revolution, yet no more than a prop. Give a speech here, give a speech there; nothing is what it is supposed to be. And now things are worse:  literally, everyone’s blood is turning against them because the datastream in everyone’s blood is turning corrupt and killing people from the inside out, starting from the Guardians who had the most access and working the way down. Meanwhile the Rebooters are turning more and more violent, and the Council heads seem to have their own agenda, none of which seems to be working with the stated goals of the Revolution. When things fall apart, Syd and Liam must run to the City and find allies in unlikely places in order to save the world once more- and possibly save each other as well.

As much an action adventure bromance as Proxy, Guardian delves deeper into more thinking issues and what happens when the sacrifices aren’t worth the promise. What can you do to fix things, how far will you go? How much will you deny yourself love and a future for the sake of atonement for the past? How far does debt go? Not one of the characters is exempt from the action and heartbreak, and that is a wonderful thing for readers. Still ever-present is the widely diverse cast, and the discussion of race, class, and now retribution among the Rebooters, including playing God with respect to whom to save and whom to let die, all extremely relevant topics today.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those loving action/adventure and dystopias. Could definitely pair on a level with the Hunger Games and Divergent series, especially with the machinations and turns within the “governments” and “players.”

My feels when finishing the book:

My one problem with the book is that now I want Liam’s story, and Alex says that it’s a duet. *sigh* Maybe I can convince him to just tell me in secret….

KAREN is giving away her SIGNED ARC of Guardian (and an unsigned hardback copy of Proxy)! To win, put your email or twitter handle in the comments, along with your favorite dystopia author so far and why. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents. Leave a comment by Sunday, June 14th to be entered.

Book Review: Proxy by Alex London

Knox is a Patron- one of the City’s wealthiest families, he has everything anyone could possibly want- the latest toys, the coolest clothes… and a Proxy to take all his punishments for anything and everything he does. When he does the slightest infraction, Syd- his Proxy- takes the punishment. A broken vase ends in beatings; a practical joke means manual labor. A car crash killing a friend- branding and a death sentence only weeks away from earning his freedom. All because Syd was born a Proxy, and his life is not his own.

Yet there is more to Syd then either of them knows, and when Knox and Syd meet, they end up bucking the system and shining lights into the darkness where light hasn’t been seen in ages- and shaking up a world built upon a system of those who have resources and those who pay for them.

The beginning of a duet, Proxy hooks readers from the get-go and does not release you until the very end, and will then leave you begging for Guardian, the pairing. Knox and Syd are two sides of a coin- Syd striving to get out of the hell-hole he was born into while Knox could care less about where he is and what he’s doing. Less you think that they are stereotypical rich boy/pauper characters, they are definitely NOT. Syd is a master of any technology he can get his hands on, and is constantly working his way around his society, trying to get ahead and get out, even though he’s been branded an 11 by everyone (gay and glitched). However, every misdeed that Knox does keeps dragging him backwards, and when Knox crashes his car and kills a girl, it’s the ultimate punishment for Syd- sent to the prison sector and sentenced to death. The only option for Syd is to run- and to try and fix the system.

Running into various gangs and underground systems along the way, Syd discovers that he hold the key to turning off the Network- the data-stream that flows through everyone in the area and codes people with the knowledge of who you are, what you owe, and what (and who) you own. When he and Knox collide and join forces, no one can stop them- but will they be ready for the sacrifices that the Network will require?

Proxy is an excellent “bromance” book- while Syd is an obvious gay character (it’s right upfront in the first few chapters), the romance aspect is buried within an action-flick/buddy film of a book. Especially attractive is the diversity of the cast in the post-apocalyptic Earth, and the realism of the current-day racism and sexism within the pages. 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all those loving action/adventure/high speed books. I’d pair these with I Am The Weapon (previously Boy Nobody), Pawn, and other dystopias for the intense action and thrill. For classroom readings, I’d pair it with anything to do with institutionalized racism,sexism, and classism in the US, debt and economy discussions, and how far away we could be from this scenario.

My feels upon finishing this book:

Take 5: Rainbow Project Nominee Sequels

The 2014 Rainbow List Nominees were announced the other day, and it looks wonderful. I cannot wait to see the final list when it is finished at ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia in January!
HOWEVER, did you know that there are SEQUELS coming out to these awesome books, some as early as JANUARY?!?!?!?!?! 
Well, what are you waiting for?

5, 6, 7, Nate follows Better Nate than Never in the adventures of Nate following his Broadway dreams. He auditions for a role in E.T.: The Musical, but will Broadway live up to his expectations?
(January 2014, ISBN: 9781442446939)
At the end of Pantomime, Micah has ditched the circus and is on the run with Drystan, but when they find a fallen magician willing to teach them the trade, Micah learns that magic is more than card tricks and illusion.
(January 2014, ISBN: 9781908844408)

Eight years after her first and only exposure to the addictive tracks, Alpha is still haunted by the music, and when her older brother Anthem calls for help, she is dragged back in to discover that the Corp has reappeared, this time more insidious than ever.
(May 2014, ISBN: 9780762449507)

Syd is the figurehead of the revolution, yet people are falling ill all over- with the former Guardians hit first, and the government does nothing to help. With the government indifferent to the sickness, Syd takes it upon himself to find a way to stop it- only to to be shocked by what he finds.
(May 2014, ISBN: 9780399165764)
An ongoing series just waiting for the English translations, Wandering Son tells the stories of Nitori-kun and Takatsuki-san, two transgendered kids who only want to be their true selves- which  is increasing difficult as they age, especially in Japanese society. Volume 5 was released in November 2013 (9781606996478) and volume 6 is scheduled to be released in January 2014 (ISBN: 9781606997079).