Gah, I hate trying to numerically rate this kind of thing ;P
Having also read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I feel like Laini Taylor's strength is her luGah, I hate trying to numerically rate this kind of thing ;P
Having also read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I feel like Laini Taylor's strength is her lush, vivid language and world building. Her main characters, on the other hand, can blend together a bit from story to story.
Regardless, the writing and settings are beautiful (and unique) enough that I still highly recommend this short story collection. My personal favorite was the second story, "A Spicy Little Curse."
Also, I listened to this book on CD. The reader did an excellent job, and really brought out the beauty of the stories....more
**I received an ARC of A Confusion of Princes from the publisher as part of the First Reads giveaway program at Goodreads.**
This is the first time I'm**I received an ARC of A Confusion of Princes from the publisher as part of the First Reads giveaway program at Goodreads.**
This is the first time I'm ever won a giveaway! I was especially excited given that Garth Nix also wrote the Sabriel books, which I loved.
From the publisher’s blurb: “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 have to confess I spend more time reading Fantasy than I do Science Fiction. Regardless, I was really impressed by Nix’s world building. The various Mektek, Bitek, and Psitek technologies were fun, and gave the book an anime-esque feel. (I mean this as a compliment.) A Confusion of Princes stands on its own, but I could see more novels taking place in this well-fleshed out universe.
Amidst the science fiction setting and the political intrigue, A Confusion of Princes is essentially a coming of age story. Khemri himself is a likable character. The world we are introduced to in the beginning is cold and impersonal, and Khemri is definitely a product of this world. At the same time he’s arrogant, pig-headed, and naïve in a way that makes you not be able to help rooting for him as he stumbles through a universe that he quickly discovers has not been designed for his every whim.
There's a trend in recent YA dystopian-esque science fiction that has been bothering me. Typically you have a society that is messed up in some way (people being cast into pre-set roles, being denied emotions, etc). Given that the main character is raised in this society, they shouldn't necessarily be aware that whatever makes their society so horrible. I feel like a lot of recent YA makes their protagonists overly aware from the get go of what is wrong, and why. (Obviously this isn’t always true. Katniss, for example, is very aware of what is wrong with her world, and for a reason).
But my point is that Khemri is born into the Empire, so it is unsurprising that at the beginning he embodies their values hook, line, and sinker. Treating mind-programmed human servants as disposable objects? Why not, they’re just humans. I really appreciated that Nix had Khemri embrace this view so wholeheartedly at the beginning. It makes his journey throughout the book that much more meaningful.
The one thing I would complain about was the pacing. We spend a good half of the book with Khemri in training (either in the Naval Academy or for Adjustment). While during this time he slowly loses some of his sense that the world revolves around him, he’s still very stuck in the Empire’s values. Then during one of his final Adjustment tests, he meets Raine. Given Khemri’s upbringing and lack of real human love, it’s not surprising that he is affected by Raine, whom he quickly grows close to. But I wish Nix had given this relationship and its effect on Khemri a little more time to develop, and a little more fleshing out. The speed of this development made Khemri's change of heart a little less believable, albeit no less touching.
That being said, I still enjoyed A Confusion of Princes thoroughly. Overall, it’s a fun coming of age tale set in an imaginative world. ...more