Guardian - Alex London

NOTE: This book is a sequel and as such requires knowledge of characters and events from the first in the series, Proxy. Also, this may mean certain parts of this review could be seen as spoilers. You've been warned!

Guardian starts in almost immediately after Proxy ends; Syd has become the symbol of a revolution, led by the Rebooters, and as he struggles to be the figurehead the leaders want him to be (I'm not supposed to be anyone's inspiration. I'm a fake), his instincts toward rebellion keep his bodyguard, Liam, very busy protecting him from the Machinists who want to see him dead. On top of this, the reboot of the system has caused the Guardians to become disease-ridden, empty shells of their former selves. Now labelled nonoperatives (or "nopes"), they are routinely killed off and regarded as non-human trash. 
[T]hese nopes weren't just deaf and dumb; they looked like the stuff of nightmares. The black veins bulged; their cheeks were streaked with bloody tears. They tore at their own skin until it was raw and open.
But the disease that is destroying the Guardians is evolving and starting to infect those it was not expected to. Syd can't seem to convince the leaders to think about the Guardians as anything more than trash, and now that others are being infected, he wonders if the new government will ever do anything to help. In the end, Syd decides he needs to set out on his own to find a cure. In the process he finds strength, purpose, friendship (and perhaps a little bit more than friendship). The ending is beautiful, but does set things up for a third, so don't be shocked when you get there!!

London's descriptions are as horrifying as they are vivid and detailed. The plot explodes from off the page right from the start and will keep readers enthralled.
A work detail was tasked with the burning. One by one, in the dead of night, green uniforms with white masks hauled corpses to the pile. The corpses were webbed with black veins, their entire network of blood vessels visible through the pale skin. Dried blood obscured their faces and each had a single hole in the temple by the eyes, where the killing bold went in. They were put down like livestock, burned like sacrifices.
Syd, Liam, and Marie are fantastic primary characters, each fully realized and driven. Syd is complicated, brimming with inner turmoil and driven by a need to find justice for Knox's death and his role in rebooting the system. Though Syd sees Liam as a killer, and Liam sees Syd as both unobtainable object of affection and a frustrating individual to watch out for, the two have a complex relationship that builds wonderfully throughout the novel:
[I]t bothered Syd, who had no doubt known [the Guardians] better than Liam ever did, who had suffered at their hands and the hands of the system they enforced far more than Liam ever had. Why should Syd care for them now? Was something wrong with Liam that he didn't?
He glanced over his shoulder to a gap in the curtain. He saw through the sliver, Syd's broad brown back, its muscle tight as wire underneath the skin. Along the side of his rib cage, there were burns and scars from a young life that had been filled with wounds, but the untouched places were smooth and almost shined gold in the afternoon light. 
Marie is a unique individual in the ranks of the Purifiers. She was once a patron, the only one ever allowed to become a Purifier due to her role in the Jubilee. She was an efficient and skillful Purifier, and even though she received a bolt through the shoulder from Liam, she is a huge asset to Syd's search for an eventual cure for the Guardians' disease.

This action-packed novel is a worthy sequel to London's first book in the series. Guardian continues the saga with urgency and adrenaline-fuelled, thought-provoking thrills. If you haven't read Proxy yet, you need to get your hands on it soon so you'll be ready when this one comes out!

Highly Recommended

(Note: This review is from an Advanced Reading Copy - Out May 29, 2014)


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