A Confusion of Princes Book Review

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

Princes aren't born, they are made. One would think being a Prince in an intergalactic empire would be the perfect job. Especially when those Princes, of which there are millions, have been augmented with technology that makes them quicker, brighter, telekinetic, and strong than any human. But Prince Khemri quickly learns that being a Prince of the Empire comes with considerable danger. Sure there are rules to being a Prince, but it seems like those rules are always being broken by the very people who are supposed to be above the law. Khemri thinks he was taught everything, but perhaps the things he has to learn will require him to experience life as an ordinary human rather than a Prince.

A Confusion of Princes is solidly Science Fiction, not to be confused in the slightest with the ever popular Dystopian Sci-fi sub-genre. This is universes, galaxies, space ships, planets, habitats, space fights, and a lot of space jargon. Nix crafts a universe that is big, so big that at times it was definitely a confusion of princes. Like any good sci-fi Nix just drops the reader into this world where a Prince is not a person of royalty but rather an elite group of what I can only describe as super soldier. In this world they use words like Bitek, Psitek, and Metek, and all the reader can do is go along for the ride and trust that they will eventually figure it out.

The story itself doesn't feel terribly original, reminding me of a mash-up between Ender's Game, Star Trek and Dune. There is a space/naval academy like in Ender's Game. A hive mind collective in the Empirial mind, similar to Star Trek, and a definite Messiah like hero quality that is all Dune. But...and this is a big But, none of that matters because Nix weaves a tale that is compelling, with enough action to draw in any lover of action and adventure.

I would have been interested to see Khemri come to his realizations about the Empire, and his destiny, and superiority without having to become human. It felt rather cliche and it felt like a big duh moment. Of course if you were forced to be human and to live among them you would figure out some things. Personally, I really liked when he was with the humans and found his time at the naval academy to be rather boring. What am I saying? Simply this, the premise of the story, like all sci-fi was fun, but the heart of the story, the human element, was lacking.