Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review: A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

Taken from his parents as a toddler, Khemri was groomed to be a Prince of the Empire -- a biologically, technologically and psychologically upgraded human, one of thousands who rule the Empire, governed only by the Imperial Mind. Having come of age, Khemri is elated to take a post as Prince. But the Empire is a more dangerous place than he was lead to believe and power and glory more elusive and less thrilling than he expected.

The book begins with a great hook: “I have died three times, and three times been reborn...” (1). Nix quickly introduces the technologically advanced world via Khemri’s voice. He tells his story of transformation from an obnoxious and egotistical teen (an gross exaggeration of teenagers generally?) to a more thoughtful, mature adult. As with Nix’s Abhorsen series, I enjoyed how the protagonist deals with real coming-of-age issues, albeit in a sci-fi setting here. Khemri’s transformation is that of many teens’. While Khemri may fight his battles in a spaceship, his transformation from identity/thrill-seeking teen to a more mature adult is relatable.

I was excited to read A Confusion of Princes as I am a fan of Nix’s Abhorsen/Old Kingdom series. I’m re-listening to Lirael now. I enjoyed the hierarchy within the Empire with its unique system of mental communication. Yet, the novel could have used another hundred pages. The plot moved too swiftly and didn’t leave time to explore this interesting world and its characters. As a survival story, A Confusion of Princes did not disappoint. But more character development was needed.

On an aside, Khemri’s character is repeatedly defined as being brown-skinned with dark eyes. Yet, the character on the cover, though hard to see clearly, looks to be white. I like the cover on its own but would have liked it more if the guy on the cover clearly represented the character in the book.

Nix fans won’t want to miss A Confusion of Princes with its unique, technologically advanced world. Khemri’s story will please teens who enjoy Star Wars, space operas and survival stories. Overall, I think I’m more of a fantasy fan than science fiction fan but I still enjoyed this story. This book counts towards the POC Challenge. Favorite Quote: "'There is always a choice,' said Morojal. 'Even if the alternatives don't appear to be equal'" (134). Publisher: HarperCollins, 2012 Pages: 337 Rating: 3 Stars Source: Public Library

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