You'd think being a Prince in a vast intergalactic empire would be about as good as it gets, particularly when Princes are faster, smarter, and stronger than normal humans. Not to mention being mostly immortal.
But it isn't as great as it sounds. Princes need to be hard to kill - as Khemri learns the minute he becomes one - for they are always in danger. Their greatest threat? Other Princes. Every Prince wants to become Emperor, and the surest way to do so is to kill, dishonor, or sideline any potential competitor. There are rules, but as Khemri discovers, rules can be bent and even broken.
There are also mysteries. Khemri is drawn into the hidden workings of the Empire and is dispatched on a secret mission. In the ruins of space battle he meets a young woman, called Raine, who challenges his view of the Empire, of Princes, and of himself.
But Khemri is a Prince, and even if he wanted to leave the Empire behind, there are forces there that have very definite plans for his future....
©2012 Garth Nix (P)2012 Listening Library
I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror, and all things in between and out.
Teenagers often feel like they're immortal, and Prince Khemri of the intergalactic empire is no different. Partially because he's not exactly mortal - as he tells us in the opening paragraph, he's died three times.
In Garth Nix's A Confusion of Princes, the thousands and thousands of princes (male OR female can - there are no princesses) are connected to the Imperial Mind, and so if they're killed, and deemed worthy, their uploaded memories and consciousness can be loaded into a new body. If they're deemed unworthy - or for some reason disconnected, that's another story.
An added difficulty is that there's a good chance your fellow Princes are out to kill you so they can advance their own political ambition. This is especially annoying for Khemri, who'd prefer nothing more than to command a starship, feast, and have sex with his courtesans. But when assassins show up, and his chances of renewal are questionable, the prince has to put his plans of luxury to the side and figure out how to survive.
It seems like there's a real dearth of YA SF, and so it's refreshing to hear Nix weave such a fun, high tech space opera. Khemri starts off as an arrogant youth, and so the story of how he learns to embrace more than his own selfish agendas and learns to love more than himself - told through his voice - feels pretty authentic.
Part of that is due to Michael Goldstrom's solid reading. This is my first exposure to Goldstrom, and he did a fine job of separating the characters from each other without being distracting.
The story and themes here are old ones, but it's told with slick tech, cool weapons, and world-building, that ultimately it makes for a lot of fun. Best of all, it moves at such a breakneck pace that there's no time to get bored. If you're looking for a fun YA space opera, this is your ticket.
Some writers drag us along into their writing, wading into a hastily-created and flawed universe of their own making. It can make for tough reading, and ultimately, can turn off many a reader.
Garth Nix, I'm happy to say, is not such a writer. This effort is a fun read. It is a universe well thought out, with the technologies, religions, politics, hierarchies and subterfuge splashing together to create an enjoyable experience. Detailed without being preachy, challenging without being confusing, it is a great choice for your Audible credit.
Notice I'm not giving the plot away, nor any spoilers? Here's why: This is a bit of a wild romp that you'll enjoy better by discovery, versus anticipation due to anything I might give away ion this review.
I WILL say this: If I could compare Nix's writing and style, it reminds me of the recent Dune audiobooks by Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Hebert, but more of a tongue in cheek, just a bit. Very cool, believable and leaves you wanting the author to keep writing.
Now, THAT'S a good audiobook, yes?
It was really interesting to get to hear the story, it was immediately interesting, and it didn't disappoint.
About half way through I already started to looking at a sequel, but that doesn't appear to be there as of now.
No plot holes. The story was completely internally consistent. The action was superb with well developed characters
The author went into great pains to describe the technology in his universe. It was science fiction not some romance or 'emotional thriller' dressed up as sci fi.
This is the way science fiction should be written.
The narration was done well. The story was well paced. The Conversations were done well so you could tell the difference between regular conversations and the mind to mind conversations.
I like the slightly dystopian view of the Empire. With princes who could do anything except be truly free to do what they wanted.
At the end of the battle. The main character thinks he's going to die for the second and final time he states that he failed the test of becoming an adjuster but he passed the test of becoming human
yes its one of those rare sci fi stories that feels interesting and real
the point of view of the prince and his journey, the interesting world that has been built by the author
easy and comfortable to listen to
great ending - to be a prince or not
Although this novel started off a little steeply by introducing the listener to the plethora of almost overwhelming sci-fi and fantasy jargon comprising Nix's empire, I was soon hooked by my desire to see the flawed, but sympathetic, Khemri succeed as a Prince. Although not as ground-breaking as some of Nix's previous works (such as Shade's Children or the Abhorsen series), I enjoyed the unique world and characters portrayed in this book. With plenty of exciting action and a smattering of satisfying and believable romance, this book has a healthy dose of everything lovers of young adult fiction could ask for in a novel. Overall, it was entertaining throughout and a good use of my credit.
"Loved Nix's previous fantasy, but let down by this"
When I saw this latest piece of fantasy fiction by Mr Nix, I rushed over to my basked, bought and downloaded the title. I found the story rather hard to get into, follow and had no real motivation to continue listening. This is rather surprising for me as I adored the Abhorsen trilogy and his Keys to the Kingdom series greatly. This however really disappointed me. I just wasn’t gripped by the story. The narration was superb, as is the case with all of Audible's modern releases, however the story did not tick my must have boxes. I recommend, before rushing to listen to this book, you perhaps search for an in-depth review, as the story may or may not be your 'cup of tea'.
Perhaps the next instalment will improve upon the tale?
"a good listen a classic garth nix"
A really recommended book for young adults or anyone who enjoyed his other books for young adults. The story line also makes good listening for adults. the story line has many similarities to Orwells nineteen eighty four with his all seeing eye. A good story line and plot with realistic characters. It took a little getting into but once the story started to take form i could not wait until the next chapter.
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