Sherwood Smith's Reviews > A Confusion of Princes

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix
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Jul 01, 12

bookshelves: sf

A real page-turner, this novel set in the far future follows the tradition of Kipling's Captains Courageous with an overlay of The Chosen One and "for love of a good woman": a plot triad that has sustained human imagination and inspiration for millennia.

Nix's version is aimed at the teen audience, and it works like gangbusters for that audience. I think if I'd read this as a teen, I would have checked it out repeatedly from the library. The ending is terrific.

As an adult reader, I could admire Nix's smooth, wryly humorous narrative voice, and I loved the verve of the story, and the action sequences . . . while finding the worldbuilding progressively problematical, unless (spoilerish comment) the Princes are actually so stupidly raised in a gladitorial capacity without them knowing it. That is, they really exist to live dashing but purposeless lives so that their exploits can be watched by the unglimpsed bazillions the empire rules.

Because, for a world with that many resources, it seemed strangely empty. We actually only get to know a very few characters, and most of those are 'types'--including the love interest. Otherwise we meet hordes and hordes of servitors, programmed to serve and die, or else caricaturish straw men for our prince to knock down.

There were hints around the edges of vast change about to occur; I kept hoping that this book would prove to be the setup for a series, but it appears to stand alone. I found the unanswered questions lingered longer than the characters did, but that's the perspective of someone who's been reading sf for over fifty years.

I hope it gets made into a film. The sexy tech (tek) would look good on the screen--where worldbuilding is mere backdrop--and good actors would bring personality to the sketchy but potentially interesting characters, especially the females.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Francesca (new) - added it

Francesca Forrest I've been following reviews of this: I've read Hallie's here on Goodreads and Rachel's on LJ. Rachel's prompted me to ask if this were a setup for a series, since it seems that it would **really benefit** from being spun out a bit further to address the implicit problems it raises, but she too said there was no indication that that was the case.


message 2: by Sherwood (new) - added it

Sherwood Smith Asakiyume wrote: "I've been following reviews of this: I've read Hallie's here on Goodreads and Rachel's on LJ. Rachel's prompted me to ask if this were a setup for a series, since it seems that it would **really be..."

Not unless Nix picks it up from another pov.


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