Author: Garth Nix
Genre: Science Fiction | Young Adult
Release Date: April 8th, 2012
You’d think being a privileged Prince in a vast intergalactic Empire would be about as good as it gets. But it isn’t as great as it sounds. For one thing, Princes are always in danger. Their greatest threat? Other Princes. Khemri discovers that the moment he is proclaimed a Prince. He also discovers mysteries within the hidden workings of the Empire. Dispatched on a secret mission, Khemri comes across the ruins of a space battle. In the midst of it all he meets a young woman named Raine, who will challenge his view of the Empire, of Princes, and of himself.-Blurb from goodreads-
Before you read this, I'll have to point one very important thing. Garth Nix doesn't do a whole lot of explaining. Right from the very start you're dealing with mysterious terms such as Psitek, Mektek and Bitek, and are expected to take that in stride. It can be very overwhelming at first since it's part of his world building effort and he doesn't really have the patience to do a lot of hand holding along the way. His way of explaining how things work is by story line progression, not by stopping to explain every little bit to his reader.
A Confusion of Princes in set millenia in the future where mankind number in the trillions, and inhabit tens of millions of planets, and ten million Princes rule over them. Our protagonist, Prince Khemri, was taken from his parents at a very young age and then underwent a conversion process involving the three Teks that changed him into something superhuman...called a Prince. Superior in every way to a normal human being, even the bit called death because they'll be revived if killed, Princes are in charge of basically every single facet of the Empire and are expected to rule under the guidance of the Priestly Aspects (Tek Specialists). However, each prince is subservient to the Imperial Mind (think of it as a galactic mind-meld) and the Emperor (a Prince who descends to the throne every 20 years after the old Emperor abdicates). Prince Khemri believes that he has what it takes to be the next Emperor and sets off to make it a reality and along the way discovers what it truly means to be human.
I actually read this thinking it was part of a new series akin to The Keys to the Kingdom, albeit with science fiction rather than fantasy. I was really surprised when I realized that it was a standalone novel and that it ends with this one book. Garth Nix tends to write series so I wasn't expecting that. However, A Confusion of Princes is a great enough read that it can stand on its own without having to have its own series. Nix does just enough world-building to make it believable and further the story without droning on and on about the universe he's created. The book however, isn't really catered for the younger audience. It's more of an older young adult read at best and science fiction enthusiasts will definitely love this book.