August 10, 2012

Review : A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

Title : A Confusion of Princes
Author : Garth Nix
Reading Dates : 10 Jun - 15 Jun 2012
Total Pages : 337

From Amazon :

You'd think being a Prince in a vast intergalactic empire would be about as good as it gets. Particularly when Princes are faster, smarter, and stronger than normal humans. Not to mention being mostly immortal.

But it isn't as great as it sounds. Princes need to be hard to kill—as Khemri learns the minute he becomes one—for they are always in danger. Their greatest threat? Other Princes. Every Prince wants to become Emperor, and the surest way to do so is to kill, dishonor, or sideline any potential competitor. There are rules, but as Khemri discovers, rules can be bent and even broken.

Soon Khemri is drawn into the hidden workings of the Empire and dispatched on a secret mission. In the ruins of space battle he meets a young woman called Raine, who challenges his view of the Empire, of Princes, and of himself.

But Khemri is a Prince, and even if he wanted to leave the Empire behind, there are forces that have very definite plans for his future. . . .

Book Review of A Confusion of Princes.

While A Confusion of Princes doesn’t compare with The Abhorsen Trilogy or The Keys of the Kingdom series, it was still an enjoyable read.

The story doesn’t have many highs and lows but it wasn’t predictable either. Garth Nix simply laid a lot of groundwork so that I was able to see the connections and make a pretty good guess as to the end halfway through the story. Still, I wasn’t completely sure until the end.

As for the world building, the author never fails to amaze me with his imagination. Each of the world his books are set in are so different and incredible that I don’t know how he does it. The 3 teks on which Khemri’s world is built on sounds pretty simple on the surface but a lot of work went into defining them and their uses. The Empire too was a profound construct. The power behind that civilization is both huge and restrictive. While it dominates the universe A Confusion of Princes is set in, it also severely limits the roles of its citizens.

As for the characters, the only one we truly get to know is Khemri. While he is both arrogant and selfish at the beginning, I found it hard to dislike him. Perhaps because he knows he is and sometimes even acknowledges to himself how ridiculous or foolish his behaviour is. And as he survives the situations and challenges put before him, he does grow and learn from his experiences. Most important though, he doesn’t suddenly become selfless hero at the end. He may have grown a heart and come to care for those around him but in the end his goals are still for his own benefit. The only difference being he no longer equates power with happiness.

To sum up, basically I enjoyed reading about Khemri’s adventures as he explores the worlds he lives in.

My conclusions :

  • Would I re-read the book ? Yes
  • Would I want to read the next book in the series if there were one? Probably.
  • Would I want to own my personal copy if I didn’t already own it ? No. If I had it I would re-read the book but the story wasn't so good that I'd be wanting to re-read it frequently.
  • Who would I recommend this too? Science fiction and space opera fans.
  • For those looking to read the book, would I recommend buying or borrowing the book? Borrow it.

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