When it comes to YA science fiction, space opera is not a prominent subgenre. Think of Star Wars, Star Trek, and the like, and I bet you can count the number of YA space operas with your fingers. So I was pleasantly surprised to find Garth Nix’s A Confusion of Princes. A Confusion of Princes is an epic space opera, refreshing from the glut of near future paranormal works in YA that my library shelves under science fiction.
The story begins with Prince Khemri, an alien humanoid prepared to be a Prince in a galactic empire. The story evolves as Prince Khemri studies and prepares himself to become the Emperor. He is put through several tests that challenge him not only physically, but also how he views his life and calling.
The world building in this book is fantastic taking the reader to the far edge of space. Garth Nix doesn’t disappoint with his description of space battles, space ships, and even a worm hole for travel across galaxies. As a science fiction writer and scientist I love seeing the use of science in books. Like most science fiction, there is the necessity of heavy world building in the beginning, but Nix does a wonderful job at interweaving it with the action that begins early in the book. From there on, the story propels the reader into a world filled with intrigue, dreams, and heroics.
The only turn off for me was the main character’s snarky attitude and arrogance. It was understandable that a kid handed whatever he wants and the ability to never die would have a certain air about him. Though, the character development of Prince Khemri made me cheer for him later in the book.
In the end, A Confusion of Princes is a good read for anyone searching for a good YA space opera. I give it 4 out of 5 starships.