Big Book,  YA

A Confusion Of Princes

Garth Nix
You’d think being a privileged Prince in a vast intergalactic Empire would be about as good as it gets. But it isn’t as great as it sounds. For one thing, Princes are always in danger. Their greatest threat? Other Princes. Khemri discovers that the moment he is proclaimed a Prince.
He also discovers mysteries within the hidden workings of the Empire. Dispatched on a secret mission, Khemri comes across the ruins of a space battle. In the midst of it all he meets a young woman named Raine, who will challenge his view of the Empire, of Princes, and of himself

This book is Khemri’s personal account of when, at the age of 17, he becomes a fully fledged ‘Prince’, ready to connect with the ‘Imperial Mind’. Taken from his human parents at the age of 1 he spent the following 16yrs being tweaked into a ‘superhuman’. He shares typical ‘Prince’ characteristics of being arrogant and self absorbed with little regard to anyone else as he assumes them inferior to his almightiness. He feels that he is destined to become the next emperor and in the meantime, can jolly along in his own rather fancy ship exploring the galaxy. He gets a bit of a shock then when he finds out there are actually 10million Princes who don’t believe in the adage of, ‘The more the merrier’ as they’re competing with each other to gain favour from the Emperor.
To help the Princes complete the Empires bidding and to try and keep them alive, they are assigned ‘Priests’ who enable the Princes to psychically link up to the ‘Imperial Mind’. These Priests ascribe to specialised vocations including the very influential ‘assassins’, so great if you have lots looking after you, not so great if you bump into another Prince who has more and doesn’t want to be pen pals anytime soon.
Once the formalities of understanding Khemri’s universe were out of the way, the action speeds up as Khemri ultimately wants to be chosen by the Imperial Mind to be 1 of the 1000 Princes selected to compete against each other to become the next ‘Emporer’. During his generic training he battles alien attacks and avoids assassination attempts. It also becomes apparent that Khemri seems to be secretly favoured more than the other Princes.
We then see Khemri commence training for a secret vocation where he has to be stripped of his ‘super powers’ including his ability to connect with the ‘Imperial Mind’, traverse through simulated environments and then, for his final test before the selections, he is placed in a situation where a real human colony are in great danger of being wiped out. All whilst this is going on, the arrogant Khemri’s heavily ingrained ideology and belief that being a ‘Prince’ is the ultimate way to live is challenged.
Verdict: Slow to get into, at least for an occasional reader of Sci Fi like myself but well worth the initial effort as the action gets intense and relentless. I really hope that Garth Nix isn’t finished with this universe he’s created!
Reviewed by Karen

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: May 2012
Format: ARC
Pages: 352
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Karen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None


  • Clover

    I really love all the books of Garth Nix that I’ve read … but I just couldn’t get into this one 🙁 It was too slow for me initially and there wasn’t enough for me to power through for.

    • BigBookLittleBook

      understand what you’re saying Clover. In all honesty, if I hadn’t felt obliged to finish the book when I started reading, I would have given up too. There’s just a tad too much ‘tek stuff’ and politics with initially, a not very likeable protagonist to plough through.
      It truly is worth persevering with though I promise. I loved the simulated environments Khemri has to traverse as part of his secret training, in fact that part of the story ended too quickly for me. I’ll forgive Nix though because after that the pace carried on being fast and gripping right up to the end. If you do have some free time and in a forgiving mood, I would urge you to try again, at least finish the part where Khemri finishes his secret training. If you’re still underwhelmed then fair do’s, you gave it a fair trial 🙂 Karen x

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