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.
Being a Prince should offer a life of privilege and ease, or so Prince Khemri thinks on the day of his investiture. But when you are only one priest out of millions, all hoping to one day be Emperor, then life can get pretty complicated. Khemri is no sooner a Prince than he is forced to use all of his skills and those of his Master Assassin Haddad, just to stay alive. In his subsequent training Kemri makes more enemies than friends, and has more than enough adventures for one life time – which is partly why he dies three times, each time being reborn.
While being an immortal Prince has its attractions, Khemri also learns what it means to be human – and has some tough choices to make.
A Confusion of Princes is a fabulous new space-opera offering from one of Australia’s finest spec-fic creators. Set in a far-distant universe almost unrecognisable from the present, where technology and human consciousness have both evolved to a level where social structure, communication and every day life bear little resemblance to the present day, the story features one young prince’s adventures as he struggles to adapt to a life very different from that he envisaged for himself. Along the way, it explores themes of humanity, valour and ambition, with unexpected elements of romance and family.
The world Nix creates is complex and, at times, a little confusing, but whilst he doesn’t pause to explain, readers gradually build an understanding of how things work. Khemri is an intriguing first person narrator who seems at times arrogant and at others likeable, and sometimes foreshadows, allowing the reader to guess at what might be yet to come. There is action aplenty, with Khemri managing to land himself – or just to be landed, against his will – in crisis after crisis.
Suitable for young adult readers, particularly those with a thirst for action.
A Confusion of Princes, by Garth Nix
Allen & Unwin, 2012
This book is available in good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.