Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review: A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

Title:  A Confusion of Princes
Author:  Garth Nix
Genre:  YA science fiction
Pages:  337

Rating:  D

Synopsis from  Garth Nix, bestselling author of the Keys to the Kingdom series and Shade's Children, combines space opera with a coming-of-age story in his YA novel A Confusion of Princes. Superhuman. Immortal. Prince in a Galactic Empire. There has to be a catch.... Khemri learns the minute he becomes a Prince that princes need to be hard to kill--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. There are also mysteries. Khemri is drawn into the hidden workings of the Empire and is 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 there that have very definite plans for his future.

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This book was just blah all around, which is why it was torture to force myself to finish it even though I'd just gotten The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer yesterday.

A Confusion of Princes had an interesting concept, but it was poorly executed.  The first half of the book spent way too much time explaining this futuristic universe and all of its sci-fi gadgets, and therefore the second half of the book was incredibly rushed.  The romance, personal character growth, and "epic" final battle were so quick and anticlimactic.  The book would probably have made a much better trilogy, rather than a stand-alone.  The first book could have been about introducing Khemri, his universe, and the journey he has to undertake.  The second book would have been about the journey itself, meeting and falling for Raine, and Khemri's personal growth and maturing.  And the final book could be about Khemri's final epic battle with the other Princes for the position of Emperor.

The main character Khemri is another reason I couldn't stand this book.  He's an arrogant, selfish, whiny jerk who I couldn't wait to stop reading about (honestly I only skimmed most of the last 150 pages).  And of course, because of how rushed the second half of the book was, his romance with Raine was ridiculous insta-love.  He barely knows her at all, and then poof! he's in love with her, and this love has changed his personality from a self-centered brat to a courageous, self-sacrificing man.  At least the book was a little more honest than some by showing that Khemri's feelings start out as lust, but it changes to love so quickly, I felt like I had whiplash.

I know a lot of people love Garth Nix's writing, and I read a lot of reviews from his fans that this is one of their least favorites of his books.  This was my first experience with his work, and if it hadn't been for those reviews, I would probably never read another of his books because I disliked this one so much.  But since Nix's other books are supposedly better, I'll give him another shot.  D

P.S.  Now I'm going to torture myself more by waiting even longer to start Scarlet and The Goddess Inheritance, because I still have two more books from the library to read before I can start my new books.

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