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.
For me, the dystopia genre is like vampires in novels. There are so many books with it in that I find myself getting very tired and a little bored of it. But there are always the exceptions where I’m glad I picked them up despite being biased against one common aspect. This is one of those books.
I read this book within about three hours because I honestly couldn’t put it down. I was in between two day shifts and was exhausted and had ten billion things to do but I stayed and read this book instead.
The world building was done nicely, introducing the ideas of proxies and debt without dumped it in several long, dull paragraphs. It built up how this society was completely unfair but it was hard to bring it down when anything you did brought you further into debt and those who were rich had no reason to change the system. It set up a believable conflict with the world around. The proxy system made this debt system unique and I really liked how Knox was aware of Syd but Syd didn’t know him.
Syd’s thinking over his debt also meant that we were even more sympathetic where despite working hard to make sure he only had two years left of debt, he was sentenced to sixteen years hard labour. And Knox. Despite him being this rich boy who was trying to be heartless and shallow after he cried over Syd and his mother, I really liked him. He’s not the kind of character I normally like but this time I really did. And I really adored the relationship between Syd and Knox. The reluctance to trust by Syd but he was able to trust that Knox would be straightforward, unlike everyone else, and how, later on, he could trust Knox to do what was best for Syd. And Knox’s mixture of guilt and oneupmanship over Marie mixing with genuine liking of Syd was interesting to read from both POVs. There wasn’t any romance between them until a hint at the very end but I could have read a much longer book just focusing on their relationship between the ‘prince’ and the ‘whipping boy’ because I was just that interested in it.
I didn’t know whether I liked Marie or not, but she was an interesting character. It was a different dynamic with her there than it would have been if Knox and Syd had been on their own and I think the book was better for it.
The plot was interesting, not too confusing, and kept moving so we didn’t ever get bogged down at one place or in one scene for too long and I didn’t ever find it boring which is quite something for me. But the thing is, the plot was good but I found the characters far more interesting than the whole plot of running away from the Guardians, and for Syd, from death. Yes, I liked it, but it came secondary to the various relationships between all the characters, not just Syd and Knox, but Syd and his best friend and Knox and Marie.
The ending of this book was sad and I guessed what was going to happen as soon as they said Syd had to die but I’m glad it happened because the ending between Knox and Syd was perfect, especially the kiss, and the moment through the window. Despite me wishing that the both of them had survived it, I think it turned out like it should have with the two of them.
Five stars and I definitely would recommend this book!