So, here’s the thing. This is not a bad book. Not at all. It’s got an intriguing premise, a diverse cast of characters and a relatively surprising ending. Unfortunately, it has one fatal, rating-killing flaw. But I’ll get to that. First, a quick excerpt from the Goodreads summary:
“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.
Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. When Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.”
So, the book starts off alternating chapters between Knox and his proxy, Syd – all third-person close POV. We’re introduced to each of their lives: their friends, their personalities, what makes them tick…it all works so far. Interesting characters, interesting world…I’m already writing the 4/5 star review in my head.
Then, about 40% into the book, Syd and Knox meet.
And here’s where things start to slide downhill.
Instead of alternating chapters between Syd and Knox’s POVs, their viewpoints are suddenly mashed together. As in, one paragraph is in Syd’s POV, the next is in Knox’s. Then three paragraphs of Syd, one of Knox, then one of another character, then back to Syd, then over to Knox… are you confused yet??
I think maybe it was intentional – the author wanted to mash up their POVs once they met – but for me, it just did not work. It’s head-hopping to the extreme, and it’s ridiculously hard to follow.
I wish I could overlook it, because there is so much to love about this book – clever concept, great LGBT main character, relatively strong female lead. And I would never call it a bad book.
I just wish I could call it great.