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A Confusion of Princes

A Confusion of Princes - Garth Nix Read this review and more at BOOK BRATS!Everyone that knows me (including my parents, oddly enough) knows I am a sucker for space epics, space operas, space heaters, etc. So when I heard about A CONFUSION OF PRINCES, Garth Nix’s latest YA release, I knew I had to read it. And the first half of this one did not disappoint me at all. It was creative, unique, and interesting, but then we reached the second half and… Well, let’s just say that it was utterly disappointing for now.But shall we start with the awesome? Garth Nix has a fabulous imagination, and the world he contrived and constructed for A CONFUSION OF PRINCES was amazing. A vast galactic empire full of Imperial computer networks spanning thousands of systems, ten million Princes of both genders, a system of mechanized, biological, and psychic advances and upgrades, and PIRATES. I mean, we can’t forget the space pirates. This book has no dearth of richly imagined things, and instead of constantly infodumping to explain this universe, Nix takes what I think is the correct path (in this instance) – let the reader figure it out themselves, or make up their own explanations. Explaining everything that happens in this 350 book would take more than 1,000 pages, from acceleration couches to ship lice to mind programmed servants, but I really enjoyed what I read.All of this means that this story is unique and something we have not seen before in young adult fiction. Or really new adult fiction, since Khemri is 19 or 20, and then in his mid-twenties when we leave his world at the end of the book. Nix is not afraid of letting teens discover a complex, intricate world normally saved for adult fiction. Since it is hard science fiction, the prose suffers, but Khem is blunt, honest, and flawed – he’s full of himself, over-confident, and naïve. At least for the first half of the story.But when Khem goes on his first assignment as an Adjustor, the Emperor’s recalculation squad that fixes things (think a spy meets cleaner), the story in my opinion begins to fall apart. We go from intelligent and unique to using every trope imaginable in YA. But the biggest one is of course the instalove between Khem and Raine, a girl living outside the Empire on a space station where Khem arrives to investigate an abandoned Imperial vessel (I think – I wasn’t really sure why he was there). He saves her from a pirate attack, helps her to defeat the pirates (instead of saving his own ass), and then saves her some more on the way back to her family’s space station. It finally becomes that Khem cannot live without her.Also, we never get any real conclusion to the story of Khemri and Atalin, another prince to whom he bears a striking resemblance. The conclusion of their story makes no sense to me, forcing a suspension of disbelief from what we have learned about BOTH characters, who basically suddenly develop new personality traits in the space of 25 pages. It was unrealistic, and the conclusion, while interesting, was not concluded effectively.A CONFUSION OF PRINCES was one big letdown for me. If the last half was as unique and interesting as the first half, basically creating a new DUNE for teens, this book would have been hands down one of my favorites for the year. Instead, Nix let me down. Big time.VERDICT: Ruined by an ineffective and trope-riddled last half, A CONFUSION OF PRINCES is another book with a great premise let down by lazy writing and plotting. Very disappointed.