Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

A Confusion of PrincesA Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't know what category to put this book in. Fantasy, YA, SciFi? Sure. Stretch it a bit and you could talk about romance, post apocalyptic, or thriller. But I'm going to just call it literature. Why? Because at the end of the day this off-the-wall story of space ships, cyborgs, and a dictator-lead galactic empire makes you think a lot about humanity: what it means to be human, what we become when we give ourselves over to humanity, and when humanity is achieved by giving up everything including life itself.

Garth Nix was a favorite of mine a few years ago, and somewhere between feeling like I finished what he had published and discovering Brandon Sanderson, I forgot to check in on his stuff. This little gem is either new, or I had overlooked it, but this is the Garth Nix I remember. Strange off-the-wall fantasy that you just about give up on completely, only to find that you can't put it down. One minute you are about to huck it out the window, and the next minute you are hiding out, shirking responsibility just to keep it going. Seriously, the first third of this book was straight up confusing, while the last third was a page turner.

I do have two criticism (if I didn't come up with anything, you would probably question if I actually read the book.) First, the book got a little edgy in places (swear words, adult situations.) It wasn't overly frequent, but when it sticks out to me in a book, it is often because I feel like it was unnecessary to move the plot and characters forward, especially for the intended audience. For example, the last book I read, Stone Cold by David Baldacci, had a fair amount of language, violence, and a bit of adult humor, but it didn't stick out to me as much because the type of book it was and the audience it was aimed at. A YA fantasy should probably live without it. I actually really like Brandon Sanderson's approach which is to create your own lexicon of foul language for each world you write in. Then you can be offensive without offending. My 2nd beef is that several of the supporting characters felt weak. Raine's motivations and opinions seemed underdeveloped, and Adelyn definitely seemed underdeveloped.

Overall this is an impressive book, and if you're interested in a YA Fantasy/SciFi that makes you think a little deeper than usual, it is worth your time.