Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

I have died three times, and three times been reborn, though I am not yet twenty in the old earth years by which it is still the fashion to measure time. This is the story of my three deaths, and my life between. 
My name is Khemri.
Taken from his parents as a child and equipped with biological and technological improvements, Khemri is now an enhanced human being, trained and prepared for the glory of becoming a Prince of the Empire. Not to mention the ultimate glory: should he die, and be deemed worthy, he will be reborn...Which is just as well, because no sooner has Prince Khemri graduated to full Princehood than he learns the terrible truth behind the Empire: there are ten million princes, and all of them want each other dead.

I’ve read a few of Nix’s other books, and wasn’t a huge fan. But the premise of this story seemed so different that I just had to give it a try. And it was an enjoyable read.

This story is set in the future, where humans have developed abilities like telecommunication and such, and then ‘princes’ are enhanced further, plus they are programmed to want certain things, like being emperor—every twenty years, a new emperor is chosen from the current princes. But, with all the competition out there, chances are pretty low. So they try to kill each other off in order to improve their odds.

Khemri learns this the hard way. After growing up in the lap of luxury, this is quite a shock to him. Which I liked. He started out as a spoiled and annoying character, but then grows more interesting as he lives in less than ideal environments. I was worried that the whole ‘prince’ thing would make him think he was better than everyone around him (and he was like that in the beginning), but he grows more human as the story progresses.

The romance was slow and believable, and I liked Raine as a character. I liked how Khemri grew as he got to know her better. He still had his original prince-y goals (and I would have groaned if he’d dropped that all together), but he let his human side drive his motivations a bit more and became less and less selfish.

The world wasn’t as vivid as I wanted, and the pacing felt rushed in places, but overall this was a fun read. 


Kelly Hashway said...

This doesn't really sound like my kind of story, but the idea of dying and being reborn three times is definitely interesting.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Nice review. I enjoy futuristic stories, but not with a lot of killing.

Unknown said...

I enjoyed your review. It sounds like an interesting premise, and I'm glad the characterizations rang true to you. Thanks for the info! :-)

Katja Weinert said...

Garth Nix was recommended to me before, and I tried one of his books but lost interest after a few pages. My friends have told me to try again, and rather than pick up the Abhorsen book again, I think I'll give this one a shot.
Great review, Tabitha, thanks for sharing.