Title: A Confusion of Princes
Author: Garth Nix
Khemri is a prince of the realm, and he’s destined to be the next emperor – or so he thinks. Being a prince turns out to be not quite as exciting as it sounds, because there are millions of princes out there. All of them are enhanced with Bitek, Mektek, and Psitek, and all of them are vying to become the next emperor. As soon as Khemri comes of age, he is tossed out of the little oasis of calm where he’s been coddled and looked after all his life. Now it’s on to the real world, where it’s kill or be killed – again and again.
A Confusion of Princes is pretty hardcore science fiction. We jump in to the story midstream, never really learning how this world came to be and how all the technologies work. Having said that, if you’re willing to go with the flow, it’s an excellent ride. There’s lots of action, a bit of a coming-of-age story as Khemri sheds his views of privilege and entitlement (sometimes quite painfully), and the world Garth Nix has created is pretty darn amazing.
–Lisa, Teen Librarian
Title: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
Author: Tom Angleberger
This book is set up as a “case file” assembled by Tommy and including comments and drawings from his friends. Tommy is trying to get to the bottom of a strange problem: Is Origami Yoda real? “Does he really know things? Can he see the future? Does he use the Force? Or is he just a hoax that fooled a whole bunch of us?”
Origami Yoda was created by Dwight, and from his perch on Dwight’s finger, he speaks through Dwight in a surprisingly wise way. The reason this is so strange is that Dwight is so strange. Dwight is the weird kid who pulls his socks up over his knees when he wears shorts. The one who spewed apple juice all over the class cupcakes. The one who wanted everyone to call him Captain Dwight. So, he’s weird. Benign, but weird.
Origami Yoda, on the other hand, is a virtual fountain of wisdom and sage advice. You leaned against the wet bathroom sink and it looks like you peed your pants? Splash your whole body – it’s a water accident, not a potty accident. Problem solved! The thing is, if Dwight is such a weirdo, how does Yoda give such good advice? And if Yoda gives such good advice, why doesn’t Dwight listen to it? This is the conundrum Tommy is trying to solve, and it makes for a very entertaining book.
I started reading this on my lunch break and finished it at dinner. It’s a super-fast read (maybe 150 pages long), but there’s substance, too. The design of the book is fun. The pages are faux-crinkled, the fonts change depending on who’s telling the story, and there are lots of little doodle drawings and commentaries in the margins. The story continues in Darth Paper Strikes Back and The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee.