So, this world is one where there is the upper city and lower city, and in the upper city there are patrons; whenever they pull a crime, their proxies from the lower city take the punishment. At least it was a world where it operated that way. Used to be proxies were ruled over by Guardians and coding, but Knox Brindle, Sydney Carton's patron, sacrificed his diseased body to power up a reactor that destroyed all the power in the world. A few months later, and now people are opening up to this change. Every proxy in the world now loves Syd, who now goes by the name of Yovel, the name his original father gave him when he knew Syd would lead a rebellion against the Reconciliation. Syd is lonely though, even with an annoying protector aka "Guardian" named Liam, a redhead who despite all his turns away looks up to Syd, and even though thousands of people love him, even though Knox told him to choose how he lived his life, that choice couldn't seem more clouded up and life couldn't be worse, despite a protector named Liam who looks up to him. And not only that, but patrons are very mad too and every jolt of anger threatens to somehow bring the old system back, especially with the robotic guardians now all of a sudden having these strange markings on their backs, blackened and leaking veins they itch to oblivion and sprouting out. Everyone is calm since this disease can't spread, but Syd is unsure and is mad that the government doesn't seem to care about them, saying Syd shouldn't either since they terrorized him as a proxy. But...still, something's rubbing the wrong way.
What caught me off guard right off the bat, or better yet surprised me as how I wasn't used to this, was this is such a different kind of YA book it was almost like I was reading a brand new genre. Remember all those stories post Hunger Games and Legend that we don't touch up on that much because our main objective was to thwart the king or queen or president? Well, this is a story that takes place after the heroes saved the day. With the addition of a new main character and my expectations being average, I surprisingly couldn't get enough of this riotously memorable book! Syd intrigued me even more than last time, caring about the health of the guardians even though they terrorized him. I'm not sure if I would agree the same way but I really admired his compassion. If you had a very mean teacher at school and he started getting very sick while no one else was trying to help him, would you try to help him or would you pass him off too? The way Alex London has also made up this disease, while I haven't read many books with a disease, I think the one he makes up is the most imaginative and realistic and terrifying and relatable-in-certain-circumstances sort of disease ever made up. (I said the words "make up" like a thousand times just now.)
The only major story flaw I really found (slight spoilers) was it never tied up the fact that Knox was the saviour and or cause. Maybe Alex London did remember and after all the trauma against the act decided not to include it, but I have a faint feeling he didn't, since there are a few heart wrenching moments of thought from Syd about the issue of false identity. There's also a line where Syd thinks Knox didn't really love him when they kissed; that Knox was just being Knox, Syd thought. I don't agree with this, because in the first Proxy, when they realized the cost for the system, Knox offered to just...run, with Syd, live a life even with both sides looking for them if it happened. And there are a few minor grammar mistakes. But that's really it for flaws, and in this case, these flaws are so minor you probably won't be thinking about them by the time you finish this book.
Halfway into the book, despite a character death that I wish didn't have to happen, I was close to giving this a 4 star grade. That's how invested I was. In the last book, I noted how I felt Proxy had a side story about people with character names from old literature and is forgotten about in the second act. This isn't the same case here, and what Alex London does with these characters talks about human personality and reactions over losses that don't follow the "killed-my-parents-or-something-like-that" cliche. Not to mention the screwball it throws as the pages close by had terrified me because I thought if it ended this way, I'd either cry or rant on this book forever (in a bad way). Or both. I did the former. I also now want to flip through this book again. Oh, and one more thing. Something noble I think the book did was name it Guardian, a double entendre of a title, the book focusing a big part on the "guardians" but focusing even more on Syd's guardian aka protector, and the latter has an element I think just like Knox and Syd, you'll cherish and ship. You'll also not forget the aftermath of taking lives that's shown here.
I am not a fan of series that only have two books and I feel like this could work as a trilogy (maybe it will. I think it could be called Reconcile or Patron) but I'm fine if this is it. Guardian wraps everything up just fine and then some.