100-Character Breakdown: An action-packed sequel as excellent as book one, with two intricate gay heroes and a complex world.
Genre: Young adult, sci-fi, LGBTQ, dystopian
Publisher: Philomel Books/Speak (May 2014)
In Proxy’s action-packed sequel, Syd and Liam navigate a post-revolution world where an illness threatens to dismantle everything they’ve worked for. Alex London’s young adult novel Guardian begins months after book one in the Reconciliation’s now-techless society. Syd is known as “Yovel,” the hero who struck down the datastream. He feels trapped as a figurehead, constantly giving speeches but not given a voice in the new government. His role also makes him a target—the Machinists plan to eliminate him in hopes that his death will restart the datastream. It’s up to Liam, Syd’s bodyguard with one metal hand and a talent for killing, to protect him. But the Machinists are the least of their worries. An illness ravages the city, making people’s blood burn black. When Syd disapproves of the government’s response to the disease, he decides he has to stop it. Along with his friend Marie and Liam, Syd searches for a way to stop the disease before it can stop them.
While Guardian has the page-turning action, intricate characters, and complicated world that made Proxy a success, the sequel is truly a book of its own. Liam has feelings for Syd, adding romance to the novel’s varied elements. One of the best parts of Proxy is its gay hero; a gay hero in a sci-fi, action novel is a joy in itself. But two gay protagonists and a romance in a sci-fi, action novel is yet another step up that readers deserve. However, this book remains much more thriller than romance, with action and political conflict taking precedent. London crafted a world with incredible depth in book one, so it was exhilarating to see the intricate ways it changed after the revolution. The influence on the characters is clear too. Guardian’s character development is careful, believable, and full of impact. All of this is ramped up, of course, by the high stakes, suspense, and intense action that a reader expects after Proxy. This powerful novel is just as excellent as book one with a well-constructed story all its own.