A Confusion of Princes – Garth Nix
Allen & Unwin, 2012
It should have been the beginning of Khemri’s glorious new life as a Prince of the Empire. Taken from his parents as an infant, augmented with biological and technological improvements, he has been raised and trained for the day he will connect with the Imperial Mind and come into his full power. No sooner has he graduated to full Princehood, however, than he is running for his life. Because a crucial fact was omitted from his training – there are ten million other Princes out there and all of them want the others dead. With a new Emperor soon to be chosen, the universe could not be more dangerous for Khemri. He knows, though, that he can survive just about anything with the Imperial Mind watching over him. That is, if it deems him worthy…
First of all – what a title. It was what attracted me to this book in the first place and Nix delivers resoundingly on a gripping premise. It usually takes me some time to warm to Nix’s somewhat analytical style of writing, but his world-building is of such quality that I am always entirely convinced and absorbed into its reality. The Empire is no exception. The character of the young Khemri could have easily been exasperating, but his genuine ignorance and the wry narration of his older self helped make him accessible, while the rapid drive of the plot never allowed his situation to get stale. Every time I thought I knew where the story was headed it veered in a totally different and unexpected direction. The book is complete in itself and doesn’t need a sequel, but if Garth Nix writes one, I’ll be reading it.