Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Size: 352 pages
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC through Amazon Vine
Rating: 5/5 stars
I got a copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program to review. I have really enjoyed Garth Nix’s writing in the past and was eager to see what this book would hold. I loved his Seventh Tower series and his Abhorsen
series; I also enjoyed his Keys to the Kingdom series. This ended up being a great book, but was very different from anything I had read from him before.
Khemri is born with a number of enhanced mechanical and biological abilities; he has been trained for years on diplomacy, history, and technology all because he is born as a Prince of the Empire. Now the time has come for him to exit training and enter his service to the Empire. Should he die, he will be reborn. This is the story of his three lives. It’s a good thing he can be reborn because as soon as he enters society he finds out that there are millions of Princes and they all want each other dead.
The beginning of the book was a bit slow to start and throws a million undefined terms at the reader, many sci-fi books do this. This book wasn’t as bad as some sci-fi but it does take a bit to figure out what is going on.
Khemri isn’t the most likable fellow in the beginning of the story. He feels that as a Prince he is entitled to certain respect and comforts. When he finds he is one of millions struggling to be recognized it is a bit of a shock. Although Khemri does some stupid things, he also does heed the advice of his lead advisor, which saves him a number of times.
The world building here is amazing. We are talking millions of worlds and an interesting power structure for them. The scope of the story focuses on the couple worlds that Khemri is directly involved in. It is a very interesting premise as well.
Khemri grows a lot as a character as the story progresses. He is forced to live side by side with humans at one point and begins to learn about things like loyalty and love; things that were foreign concepts to him.
The book is action packed and fast-paced. It was a very engaging story. The whole time you are wondering why Khemri is treated somewhat different than the other Princes and you keep wondering what his fate will be. Will he become Emperor? Will he die a permanent death? What is his fate?
There is a great message in here too. In the end Khemri is forced to make some hard choices; will he be who he was born to be or will he be who he wants to be? It brings up some excellent questions around morality and mortality.
This is a self-contained story, so everything is nicely wrapped up. I enjoyed the irony of the ending and really ended up loving the whole story. I would recommend for older teens as there is talk about sex in here; Khemri has a slew of courtesans to ease to his needs and the sex is talked about in a very casual (yet not overly descriptive) way.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. Nix has created an intricate, intriguing, and creative world that is huge in scope but manages to focus on just a few worlds so that it doesn’t overwhelm readers. Khemri is an interesting character and watching him grow as he changes from a predestined powerful Prince to something more unique is fun. The story is engaging and brings up some interesting questions about mortality. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend to fans of Nix’s other works as well as fans of science fiction.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– 150+ Books Reading Challenge