Beneath "A Confusion of Princes" sci tech/med tech jargon, intergalactic space travel, world-building and rebirth gadgetry, Garth Nix empowers a through-line appealing to both speculative fiction fans and romantics: a deeply human love story.
Getting at this love story may appear impossible to less intellectual readers; to me, page after page of confusing descriptors typeset black on ivory is overwhelming at best. My confusion stretches toward an abyss beyond princes.
Here's where Playaway rescues biogenetically disadvantaged readers. Listening to this story, the Imperial Mind washes over my brain, leaving my heart free to discern what is truly happening in outer space, which is as simple as this:
Khemri is one ego-driven Prince among millions of Princes until he meets an exceptional human being named Raine. In an instant, Khem moves from dis-likable to heroic.
This storyline reminds romantic readers unaccustomed to speculative fiction that:
- Hearts do beat within the bodies of Great Minds.
- To become fully human, a Great Mind must choose heartspeak over ambition.
Initially, Khemri wishes to merge with and become the Imperial Mind, a powerful God-like entity that represses individual thought-- for the greater good, of course.
In the end, love is the answer for both Meg and Khemri; a satisfying ending for romantics of all human brain sizes.
Food for thought: "A Confusion of Princes" raises interesting questions about man's relationship to God/Universal Mind, i.e., Khemri's life is shaped by the demands of Imperial Mind; his goal is to become the Imperial Mind. To achieve this, he must achieve victory over every living Prince. Even if this requires dueling to the death.
Many religious earthlings strive toward heaven, with similar intent.