Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

A Confusion of Princes

"I have died three times, and three times been reborn, though I am not yet twenty in the old earth years by which it is still the fashion to measure time. This is the story of my three deaths, and my life between. My name is Khemri.
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 Prince hood than he learns the terrible truth behind the Empire: there are ten million princes, and all of them want each other dead."

Sounds good doesn't it?  Well that is what I thought when I first put this book on my "to-read" shelf, little did I know what travesty lay ahead for me.  I really really wanted to like this book and don't get me wrong I had a few enjoyable moments.  What killed it for me is that for the first 18 chapters the book reads like a completely clear and cut dried version of what I wanted.  Some things were overly explained while other things that were interesting lacked any explanation.  Men and women were both referred to as Prince and Priest, there was no real explanation of Khemri's world and why certain eccentric views existed.  Humans exist but are subjects to the ever present Emperor, and the Emperor has absolute power.  You find out that there are thousands of Princes out there in training to be part of the greater empire.  The book felt rushed, as if you were reading a 3 page paper, that should have been a thesis.  Too much was left out.

For example:  Khemri is on a mission, gets thrust into a combative situation and meets a girl in the middle of this attack.  Together they close down a worm hole and defeat the attackers.  They also have to share air so that they can make it to Raine's (the girl) home.  Okay lets call that chapters 14-19.  Seriously they get attacked, flee, go into a comma, he gets interrogated and then has to live with her and her parents.  So after their first meal Raine asks, "What would you like to do now?" and I turn the page that leads to Chpt 19 and here is a gem: "What I wanted to do was grab her, kiss her, tumble to the floor with her, and have sex on the carpet that covered the downside emergency hatch... If she had been one of my mind-programmed courtesans I'd have told her to lie on the carpet and prepare to receive her lord and master..."---WTF Moment...  I mean not once did he mention liking her before this... so I do not see the continuity in the actions of the character, granted that line made me snort out a laugh or two. 

I just feel like this book had hooked me with its great idea and potential and then let me free fall. I don't hate it... I just can see the benefit of making this a series as oppose to squishing everything in 337 pages.

2.5/ 5 stars.

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