Nix, Garth -- A Confusion of Princes

Lightweight YA SF. Khemri is a Prince in a vast, overbearing galactic empire. "Prince" is a caste title; babies are selected at birth, augmented out the wazoo, and conditioned to be effective military/bureaucrat/administrators. This is nice, because you get to treat the rest of humanity as peons and slaves, but not perfect, because there are millions of Princes in the Empire and assassinating each other is totally cool. Princes are considered disposable assets. (Lower castes are considered fungible machine parts.)

Khemri comes of age as (unsurprisingly) a sociopathic snot, but he gets a break; he's recruited for the Adjustment group. (Think "Special Circumstances.") This involves a couple of years of training without his tech augmentations and his coterie of slaves, out among the normals of society. Thus he learns humanity, falls in love, etc. Plot occurs and resolves. (The book does not invite sequels.)

It's a decent idea, but not very involving. Khemri's life as a Prince is flat superhero fantasy. Supervillain, I guess, since he has no redeeming features at that point. (Oh, he's cheerful and hardworking and not vindictive towards his fellow Princes, but this doesn't make me like him either.) The storyline after that is adequate, and there's certainly a lot of flashy super-high-tech to draw the eye, but nothing stands out.

Footnote: the book came out of the author's design for a videogame setting. Didn't realize that until after I'd finished reading. Not that this affects my review; but it happens to make a good pair with the next book I read, which was based on Darksiders.

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