A Confusion of Princes is typical sci-fi escapist fiction but it’s decent sci-fi escapist fiction. If the premises interests you or if you’re a fan of Nix or the genre, it’s probably worth a read.
A Confusion of Princes is something of a sci-fi/space opera/fantasy mash-up that takes place in the distant future where space travel, biological engineering and psychic abilities are all relatively commonplace. Most of the universe is ruled by the near-omnipotent Empire and the Empire carries out its rule via the ten million Princes that run everything from its government to its military. The Princes themselves are enhanced super-humans that come in all shapes and sizes (including male and female) and, despite the Empire trying to keep them in line, they spend most of their time going behind its back, forming alliances and plotting to kill each other. The futuristic world as a whole is nothing new compared to what you might have seen elsewhere in sci-fi but the Prince dynamic does keep it interesting.
The story follows one Prince Khemri, an arrogant newbie who’s just come of age, entered the Empire and found out that with ten million other Princes out there, he isn’t that special. In the first 100 pages we see him trying to avoid getting killed and then we follow him working his way up through the ranks but it’s a 350 page book so there’s a lot else that goes on before the predictably epic conclusion.
It’s sort of standard in this kind of story that we start with an arrogant douche bag and, through a series of character moments, he develops into something of a relatable human being. It really isn’t much of a spoiler (it’s given away in the prologue) but unless you’re new to the genre you should be able to see it coming. Other than a few minor twists, the story tends to hold few surprises overall.
But that’s not to say that the book is boring, on the contrary, I found it quite entertaining. It’s well written, nicely paced, the world is interesting and the main character manages to carry the story quite well. It does skirt along the edges of some deeper moral and ethical issues from time to time and, again, as is typical, it tends to become more serious towards the end, but it manages to stay light-hearted for the most part.
In short: A Confusion of Princes is typical sci-fi escapist fiction but it’s decent sci-fi escapist fiction. If the premises interests you or if you’re a fan of Nix or the genre, it’s probably worth a read.
See you next week