Quick Reads for Busy Students
‘A Confusion of Princes’ proves to be a page-turner
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 16:10
If there is anything to know about being a college student, it is that free time is precious. Needless to say, any books I read for fun are read-in-a-day page-turners, which are not always as easy to find as one would like.
If you have a lot of time on your hands, then the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” is all well and good—however, if you are in a hurry, scanning covers is a good way to find that book. That is how I came across “A Confusion of Princes” by Garth Nix, and I have to say that in this experience, cover-judging proved an effective method.
With an effervescent green design, an interesting title, and the name of a well-known fiction writer in massive lettering, the cover hinted that I might as well give the contents a try.
A science fiction adventure that takes place well into an imaginary future, “A Confusion of Princes” is really the story of a young man finding out what it means to be human—but presented in an action-packed, intense, 337 page novel.
Khemri, the main character, is a prince—but not the gallant kind from the fairy tales of yore. In this world, the term “prince” is used to describe an enhanced human form who directly serves the giant and seemingly all-powerful empire, which is basically a universe-wide dictatorship. Princes are physically and mentally enhanced, using the three Teks: Mektek (machines), Bitek (enhanced biological agents) and Psitek (psychic powers). As long as they are operating for the good of the empire, princes can do anything they desire.
Oh, and they can be reborn an unlimited number of times.
However, after Khemri actually becomes a prince, he soon finds that the world of princes is far tougher and unrulier than he thought. In order to be noticed and hopefully favored as heir by the Emperor, princes assassinate other princes. And just because princes can be reborn infinite times does not mean they will be. Aside from being constantly on guard, Khemri is bullied in the Navy, suffers through a three-month test to become an Adjustor (basically a secret agent), and is shot in a capsule as a regular human to complete a mission at the edge of the empire’s territory.
It is there that he falls in love with Raine, a young woman who helps him to finally realize his humanity and take his fate into his own hands.
This novel is a quick and intense read, filled with tons of action and unusual ideas. Although the invented jargon is a little difficult to get used to and the author seems to wrap everything up very quickly, “A Confusion of Princes” is the kind of book that begs to be read in one sitting, making it perfect for the busy student.