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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
55
A Confusion of Princes
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on 11 May 2012
I am a big fan of Garth Nix's Old Kingdom Trilogy, and was very excited to see a new teen title from him at last. A Confusion of Princes is a very different kind of story - definitely more sci-fi than fantasy. There was a great deal of jargon to get used to at the beginning. Some aspects of the story were alienating; such as Prince Khemri's arrogance and lack of concern for others and all the mind-and-body altered beings etc. I still haven't quite got my head around all the see-through panels in the priests' heads. I was beginning to wonder whether the book was for me, despite the excellence of the writing. I'm the sort of reader who likes characters I can identify with. It's always a tricky task to present an initially unlikeable character.
However, as the book progressed, I was really, really glad I hadn't given up. I found I was drawn into the story more and more. The personal journey of Prince Khemri became fascinating and was so cleverly handled by the author. Ultimately this is a dark and complex tale of good and evil, instinct and learned motivation, family and love. And the gradual revelations about the running of the empire keep the reader guessing until the very end. I thought it was brilliant.
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on 28 April 2014
I absolutely love the Abhorsen trilogy and it took me, oh, about three seconds to order this when I saw it was a non-children's book from Garth Nix. I have no idea how I missed its launch a couple of years ago.

It's definitely sci-fi, not fantasy (which I should have guessed from the socking great planet standing behind the man dressed as Adam Ant on the cover). Our prince is the most arrogant twit you can imagine, but in Nix's hands, is also utterly charming and full of humour. We quickly realise his better characteristics as he finds himself in unanticipated trouble, and true to his hero status, he starts to understand the true nature of the privileged, artificial world he lives in and defects to the right side.

In some ways it's lovely to read a stand-alone book for a change - I seem to be waiting for so many sequels to be published at the moment - but at the same time, I am sorry there are no more books set in this strange world.

I loved it.
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on 30 May 2012
If I could give this three and half stars I would. Its more than okay! I just wouldn't shout and scream about it. The trouble was I wanted to.

I was a great fan of the Abhorsen trilogy which I read many years ago now, as Nix has an excellent mind for creating worlds that are deep and creative. They suck you in, making you wonder how no one has ever thought of it before, and you'll be pleased to know he has done it again. The future setting and its possibilities are endless, so endless its almost a sin that the book was so few pages because the plot felt rushed and skipped about.

Before I go into detail of why this didn't hit the mark, anyone who likes a quick action filled sci fi read. Definitely read this. It has augmented princes (anyone a fan of deus ex knows how diverse and fun augmentations can be), assassin priests, and even a small romance for good measure. Generally all good ingredients to make an exciting book. It delivers this with battles, tension and the unknown, as you start off as oblivious as the main character about how everything works. This would have worked better if he wasn't up himself and full of angst. You do learn to like him but this is why it is a slow start.

The plot in itself wasn't terrible, it had its twists and turns however much of it is very predictable. There are parts of the book that really hit the mark as they are descriptive enough to help you gather exactly what is going on, even in a completely alien situation. You feel for the character and their desire allowing the book flow, making you turn page after page, then it jumps a huge expanse of time again. Completely disjointing you (except the couple of times its warranted). Leaving you with a sense of being cheated at potentially good reading material.
I could have understood these jumps in time and details if there was perhaps another character to follow, or some greater over arching plot that we were only supposed to catch glimmers of.

Though still even now I have faith. Garth Nix has created an amazing new universe with some unique combinations that work! I agree with others that this should definitely not be his last venture into this setting. He is only just finding his way with it. Look what he did after Sabriel. Now he has set the scene he may be able to weave a more complex story into one or two more books. (I personally thing it would be an amazing MMO - but lets keep to the books for now)

In conclusion -
Was it a good read - Yes
Did it hit the mark I expected after Abhorsen Trilogy - No
Was it complex enough for older readers - No
Would I recommend - Yes as I believe there will be others (and they will be much improved)
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on 16 June 2012
Garth Nix is my favorite author, however I was a bit unsure before I read this, as it had been so long since he had written a sci-fi or a young adult book. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop - I finished the book in a few days. I definitely wanted to know what was going to happen next (and ultimately) and what the twists behind the story would be. The world building is effective and clever. However, I don't feel like I truly loved the book - I feel no compulsion to read it again. I didn't get as deeply involved with the characters as those in other Nix books (ie. Sabriel, Seven Towers) and wasn't particularly concerned as to what happened to them - I wanted to know, but I wasn't worried.

The plot is clever and engaging and the description is thorough and I would definitely recommend reading the book to anyone who likes Nix or sci-fi/fantasy, but it's not life-changing.
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on 26 June 2012
I ADORE Garth Nix. I have read The Old Kingdom series several times a year, almost religiously, ever since I was 14 (I'm 22 now) and I have been very, very eagerly awaiting some new material from him. I read the Keys to the Kingdom series too, but his kids' books, while colourful and creative and fun, are just so much less convincing, less satisfying, than the rest of his work.
When I got my hands on this, I was slightly disappointed to see it's a pure Sci-Fi novel (I prefer his fantasy works, obviously), and only a few hundred pages long. I expected to launch through it and have it read in hours but, it took me three days in the end - and I savoured every word! It's such a complicated story, that it takes lots of thinking, imagining, and re-reading - this novel certainly exercises the brain!
"A Confusion of Princes" boasts a delightfully arrogant, ignorant, witty main character, lots of development and convincing, approachble scenarios, and a really heartwarming undercurrent of family values and the whole notion of humanity. It's also mind-blowingly cool Sci-Fi, something I've never enjoyed - I think I've been converted!
It's a wonderful, believable, deliciously complex book, with another incredible world to get completely and utterly lost in, and still so full of that absolutely lovely Nix charm.
I was not the slightest bit disappointed - you won't be either! :)
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on 10 December 2016
I don't know about the Princes but I'm certainly confused. I read the whole thing but I wouldn't read it again. It starts off fast, a lot of things are explained rapidly in not very much detail and I wasn't entirely sure what was happening until about 30% of the way through. Not as good as the original Old Kingdom trilogy.
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on 9 March 2014
I enjoyed the book but it never quite lived up to expectations I had of it. The author is an accomplished writer and story-teller and the plot was certainly ingenious, but it just never quite grabbed me. The main character was interesting and developed significantly throughout the book, something that usually impresses me with a story. Sadly, at about three quarters of the way through it occurred to me that I didn't really care about him or the other characters. So despite it all, three stars is really the best I could give.
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on 10 February 2013
The craft and talent Garth once again displays here is unbelievable. Here is a writer with unparalleled creative ability. Every idea is raw and original without being too "out there" that you would fail to relate to it, packed with a juicy sci-fi theme and steeped in technology but mixed with contemporary ideas of morality, humanity and the standard journey/change of the hero. Yet even this is done in such a way that sets it apart from other novels. Indeed if I was to complain I would say that this books limitation is that it is only one book, if it had been spread among two it would of been even more amazing. This book is on par with the Old Kingdom trilogy which are the best novels I've ever read.
This book will not let you down it is a work of brilliant creativity blended seamlessly with the emotional journey and development of the character. You will not be disappointed.
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on 24 February 2018
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this imaginative and great story! How to become human, how to grow up and find love, respect and responsibility.....how to be alive. Really liked it.
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on 12 October 2013
I think Garth Nix hands us a set of somewhat crazy 'rules' at the beginning of his books: Bells, magic, Tek; just trust him, it'll work.

Having read a lot of Nix before hand I knew he would deliver something great,
The book is pretty short and doesn't expand too much outside the main story line, thats okay with me.

The main story line is brilliant and enthralling.

I would recommend this book to a friend.
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