Ravenous Biblioworm's Reviews > A Confusion of Princes

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix
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's review
Mar 20, 2012

liked it

Rating: 3.5/5

I was excited about this book. I really was because I thoroughly enjoyed Nix’s Abhorsen Trilogy. This book was enjoyable too but for some reason not to the same extent as I remember enjoying the Abhorsen books. The world building was there. The authority in story telling was there but it wasn’t completely consistent in certain areas. What areas? Well, let me begin…

A Confusion of Princes is one of those books (for me) that I found very intriguing but not vortex suck you in kind of book. I was always curious about what happens next, but if something happens (such as having to go to work) I’m not trying to read in a few last pages until I really have to go, but I do return to the book as soon as I get home and settle down for the night. As I said, the world building was good, better than good. There was a lot to grasp and understand in this book. From the priests, to assassins, and then to the princes (there are more too like the mekbi soldiers). They all are involved deeply in the mechanics of this book and with each group playing a pivotal role in the society of the Empire in the book and then each of those groups having minor groups within it… it can get confusing very fast (hence the title of the book I guess). But I never got confused. I understood who was what and what did what. It took me a few moments to get use to the notion of princes being both make and female and both being called “sir.” But after I got over my ignorant training of thinking dominantly male, I was willing to accept the terminologies. But because there was so much details and information to give, there were moments of info dump. Moments of the narrator (aka author in some cases) coming in and saying, “At the time, I didn’t understand….” and then proceed to give information in a dump of information rather than weaving those details into the story and having scenes and moments explain it to readers. That distanced the book for me.

The characters were all interesting, for the most part, but throughout the book I felt like I was just watching a mildly entertaining movie and was more interested in the visuals rather than people. With Khemri being the narrator, I expected to get really close to him, but again I was only close enough to see him and understand what he was doing but not invested enough to really really care about him. There were times where I did really care, like him not wanting to kill a certain someone at the end… But for the most part Khemri is never really felt in the immediate. Sure, the future voice would come in and say, “At the time,…” [I didn't know what love is...] and he proceeds to tell us what happens and in summarized form, but we never get to see him act out certain things. The only times we see him act on emotions is when he experiences either fear, or arrogance. And there’s a lot of arrogance. You’d think a person would learn a bit of humility quite fast after almost being killed several times. But he makes the same arrogant mistakes over and over and over again, thus kinda tuning the guy to be somewhat stupid for me, even though I know it wasn’t the intended purpose. It was suppose to show his flaw of thinking of being raised a prince, I understood that, but it didn’t work for me. He just looked dumb. You know you’re not suppose to touch a stove fire/or heat rod after being burned the first time (or just feeling the intense heat) but Khemri continues to get burned. I know…. he thinks he can’t be burned because he’s a prince, and yet he does get burn and yet he continues to touch the heat…

I didn’t dislike Khemri. I just didn’t really care for him. The other characters played their roles well in painting the picture of the world building. I think the only person who comes close to having a personality outside of Khemri was Raine. She was talkative, responsive, and she was portrayed as being very human. Though she did step into being the cliche love interest (their love almost being instant love… okay it was pretty much instant… but what can you do… I think I’ve given up and has now almost accepted instant love …. that I just won’t get away from it) as being the first person to ever spark interest in Khemri because she’s un-explainably “special.” Granted Nix does give reasons, buy-able reasons, as why she seemed different from Khemri’s perspective.

Gosh it seems like I got nothing good to say about this book. But don’t over analyze this review and think it sounds horrible. It’s not. The world building was very compelling. The main reason why I continued to read this book and continued to want to know what happens next is to find out what happens to the system of the princes and the Empire. What Khemri’s action will cause to that world and it’s after effects. The characters’ roles fed into the world building, their roles and how they represented their world. Then there’s the lure of fantasy space travel.

There wasn’t really any dull moments in the book, which was a good thing. The pacing was fairly fast over all and break neck in various parts. There are paragraphs of summary that creates a space between me and the book, but these moments gave me vital information to understand what had happened or going to happen (though I believe it should have been given directly and not in summarized form; it should have been brought in via an immediate scene somehow). I liked being in space with Khemri because it really did feel like an adventure. I was too amazed by the world to really notice that Khemri is my supposed tour guide.

Overall, I liked the book. Nothing in it annoyed me or angered me. I accepted what was given/told to me and I was immersed in the world. I only wished I can say I rooted and enjoyed the characters a great deal. I liked them, don’t misunderstand, but at times, I wished I liked them more.

Verdict: It’s worth a read if you like space books or if you are curious. This book is in consideration of buying.

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