A Confusion of Princes

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Garth Nix, bestselling author of the Keys to the Kingdom series and Shade’s Children, combines space opera with a coming-of-age story in his YA novel A Confusion of Princes.
Superhuman. Immortal. Prince in a Galactic Empire. There has to be a catch….
Khemri learns the minute he becomes a Prince that princes need to be hard to kill—for they are always in danger. Their greatest threat? Other Princes. Every Prince wants to become Emperor and the surest way to do so is to kill, dishonor, or sideline any potential competitor. There are rules, but as Khemri discovers, rules can be bent and even broken.
There are also mysteries. Khemri is drawn into the hidden workings of the Empire and is dispatched on a secret mission. In the ruins of space battle, he meets a young woman, called Raine, who challenges his view of the Empire, of Princes, and of himself. But Khemri is a Prince, and even if he wanted to leave the Empire behind, there are forces there that have very definite plans for his future.

Curriculet Details
88 Questions
87 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 9-10 grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining the concept of world building, annotations helping students to connect with the text and annotations that support the identification of structural devices like foreshadowing. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos helping students to compare the protagonist to Paul Atreides from Dune and videos that help students identify emerging themes. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of character development, thematic development, and plot advancement. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Chapter 1

Garth Nix is an Australian writer who has sold over five million copies of his books worldwide. His books have appeared on the bestseller lists of publications such as The New York Times and Publishers Weekly (US). 
Which three forces make up Imperial technology? 
This type of statement should help you distinguish our narrator from other princes. But if he knows what families are like, why don't most princes? 
Compare your childhood with that of Khemri. What is one difference? 
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently. Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
This novel is a coming of age story and one of the central themes involves growing up. This video might help you identify other central themes as they emerge.  (This annotation contains a video)
What do the words "for now" imply? 
Fantasy writers sometimes use a technique called "world building" in which they create their own unique universes which are different from the one which we know. Little clues in the story will teach you about the realm that Nix has created. For example, we now know that for princes to be resurrected, they must be connected to something called a Mind. 
How does this deliberate lack of training for Princes reflect the central theme of coming of age? 
Which of the following is NOT a benefit of being connected to the Imperial Mind? 
As Khemri learns the true nature of the Empire, he will continue to grow up. Will he feel the same about the Empire by the end of the novel? 
Does the Master of Assassins have Khemri's best interest at heart? Only time will tell. 
How does Khemri's sudden awareness of the purpose of his pockets demonstrate a change? 

Chapter 2

There are two types of characters, those who change, and those who do not. Khemri obviously is changing. Watch this video clip to see what these two types of characters are called.  (This annotation contains a video)
How do the mantas represent the technology of the Empire? 
By adding phrases like "perhaps it was just as well," the narrator is adding to the idea that he has changed. Khemri's adult self reflects on the innocence of his youth. 
Haddad's command to commence reversal reveals that 
This is another world building detail. We now know that "prince" does not refer strictly to males. 
Khemri is not relaxing his guard here. How does this support the idea that he is a dynamic character? 

Chapter 3

This sentence serves to let us know that Khemri has not learned all he will need to learn if he wants to survive. 
When Khemri realizes he would be lost "in more ways than one," which of the following is NOT a way he would be lost without Haddad? 
Some people compare Khemri to Paul Atreides from the Dune series. Watch this brief video clip and be prepared to compare how Paul and Khemri may be alike.  (This annotation contains a video)
Use Curriculet's Define function and decide which of the below words best describes what "return to physicality" most probably means. 
Think back to the video you just watched. There are many ways in which Paul's meeting with the Reverend Mother is different from that of Khemri's meeting with the arch priest. Which is NOT a difference you observed? 
Watch for ways in which Khemri is treated differently than other new princes. 
What change has occurred within Khemri? 
Don't forget that Bitek controls biological aspects and Mektek contains mechanical aspects. Khemri's household has very strong mental powers but little else. 
Here is another clue that Khemri is different from other princes. 

Chapter 4

How might Khemri's experiences with the other princes help change his view of the world? 
Explain in your own words why Khemri might worry about Haddad's absence in the academy. 
Which of the following best summaries Khemri's thoughts about Huzand's appearance? 
By the way Huzand refers to Colonial Government, the reader should note that Huzand doesn't respect this profession. 
What does the sentence that Huzand mutters mean? 
Here is another clue that Huzand feels Khemri might be someone special--if he accuses Khemri of body sculpting, then Khemri must look a lot like someone. But who? 
Phrases like this are examples of foreshadowing. Watch this video and think, what else will they do to Khemri?  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 5

Why does Khemri receive a demerit? 
"What happened next" must be pretty bad. Can you see the foreshadowing here? 
How are Tyrtho and Khemri alike? 
Have you ever been bullied, as Khemri is here? 
What important information does Khemri learn because he is punished beyond the demerits system? 
It appears to be a habit of this author to end some chapters with foreshadowing. Sometimes authors use foreshadowing at the end of a chapter to make you want to read more. 

Chapter 6

What happens that proves to Khemri that he was right to trust Haddad? 
What an interesting way to create armor! 
How does this exchange, where he talks to the mekbi, make Khemri unique? 
Just as Khemri has observed before, the mekbi honor dying well. 
Why does Khemri want to reconnect with the Imperial Mind? 

Chapter 7

When the Empire assigned Khemri his first priests, he had no Bitek, (biology) or Mektek (technology) priests. 
When Khemri says he would think later on the topic of rebirth, what literary device is the author employing? 
Why might the Emperor want Khemri to avoid joining any house? 
When Khemri decides to allow the Commandant to enter, this shows Khemri is 
Even though Haddad couldn't completely protect Khemri, he was capable of slowing down the Commandant. 
What does Khemri learn that changes his thinking? 
Here is another way that Khemri might be unique. 

Chapter 8

What is one major difference between the dead Commandant and the Vice Admiral? 
Pay attention to what impresses Khemri. As with many places in the novel, the author wants you to infer, or guess based on evidence, what might be important to Khemri, based on how he reacts. This video will teach you a little about inferences.  (This annotation contains a video)
Summarize in your own words what Tyrtho thinks about Huzand. 
Do you think Khemri will travel by wormhole? 
Contrast the Marine officer and the Navy officer--how do their approaches to Khemri differ? 
Can you imagine growing up, never knowing love?  
Explain in your own words how Khemri's comments about love foreshadow some future change in his character. Use textual evidence to support your response. 
Khemri has learned something about social dynamics, because he makes his promotion sound as unappealing as possible. 

Chapter 9

When Khemri says "I asked Haddad about this," what is he asking about? 
Because he is already on active duty, it should be harder to assassinate him as well. 
What important lesson does Khemri learn when he helps to activate the singleship? 
How likely is it that Khemri will become Emperor?  
Explain how asking Haddad's advice makes Khemri a dynamic character. 
Since this prince is dressed only in shorts and is digging in manure, he represents a large change in Navy officers that Khemri has met so far. 
Quiz 1 

Chapter 10

What does the bamboo forest reveal? 
If the Imperial Mind can lie to princes, then who can Khemri trust? 
If Khemri chooses to become an Adjuster, which of the following constitutes that he has graduated? 
Here is another example of how innocent Khemri is. If he had refused Adjustment, he would have been killed. 
Now that Khemri has been made human, what additional emotions must he now face? 
Princes are typically arrogant. Since Khemri now realizes what it is to be human, how will this experience change his perspective? 
What secret do the troopers protect? 
The simulations are to prepare him for his graduation trial. 
The words "rather surprisingly" indicate that 

Chapter 11

To help you imagine the sound of the harness, the author uses a simile here. If you have trouble distinguishing between similes and metaphors, watch this video clip. (This annotation contains a video)
How does Khemri earn money while in the starport? 
Using Curriculet's Define function, which of the following synonyms is the best one for the astringent elements of the atmosphere? 
What an unusual way to lock a building! 
What is attracted to the light? 

Chapter 12

In each quadrant, Khemri learns something new. What will he learn in this quadrant? 
Summarize in your own words what Khemri learned in the third quadrant. 
If Naknuks focus only on Bitek, that means they focused only on biology, avoiding mechanical and mental power. 
How long does Khemri spend in the Feather quadrant? 
Since wormholes are one way, Khemri can't return the way he came. 
Of all his discomforts, which of the following does Khemri say is the worst? 

Chapter 13

Is it possible the courier destroyed the ship? 
Explain why Khemri's realization about his hypothesis is an example of foreshadowing. 
If a new Imperial weapon hit the ship, could it have been the courier that transported Khemri? 
What evidence does Khemri use to determine the bodies are not from an Empire Marine force? 
That Khemri is aware this is a "princely mind-set" indicates he no longer thinks it strange that people would sacrifice themselves for others. 

Chapter 14

What is Khemri's first concern, upon seeing the woman? 
Why would Khemri try to save the woman? 
What do the words "at that stage," when describing why Khemri save the woman most probably foreshadow? 
It's odd to think that prior to the Adjuster simulation Khemri had no concept of home. 
Based on what Khemri says about small planetary governments, what will happen when he tries to trade ships? 
Like a cork, the missile can keep any pirate from coming through the wormhole. 

Chapter 15

Khemri won't leave Raine behind; he is starting to 
This story is written in first person, from Khemri's point of view. We only really know what Khemri is feeling and thinking, but by using ellipses in Raine's speech here, we know that she is probably afraid.  
Describe in your own words Khemri's plan to save Raine. 
The tension is ramping up in this scene. Watch this clip, and consider: what is causing this tense moment?  (This annotation contains a video)
What is causing tension as they attempt to escape? 
The two words, prey and pray, are homophones. They sound the same, but they mean very different things. By this little exchange, we know that Khemri only knows "prey." 
What evidence does Khemri use to prove that prayer doesn't work? 

Chapter 16

Again Khemri has something he believed was true turn out to be false. How will the knowledge that the Empire is not always expanding change him? 
Why does Khemri need to lie about how he works with the lice? 
Raine must find Khemri interesting to talk to, if she wants to use her last hours of air being awake with him. 
Why does Khemri decide to share his oxygen with Raine? 
Can you feel the tension? 

Chapter 17

Which of the following famous authors is Raine quoting when she calls Khemri a prince? 
If he goes into a coma, can Khemri make his way out of one? 
Why might Khemri be strapped to a bed? 
It was odd at the academy that Khemri looked like Atalin. Why would she be the one to attack the fleet? 
Khemri is still more than human. What evidence from the text supports this claim? 
Raine is embarrassed about still living with her parents. 

Chapter 18

Based on the highlighted text, why would the word mythical to describe a dolphin be considered comical? 
"Freebreathers" can be defined by context clues. Everyone has to work, in order to deserve to breathe the air in the Habitat. 
Which of the following best describes how Khemri feels about Raine at this point of the story? 
This sentence demonstrates that Khemri still needs to learn about human emotions. It also foreshadows that someday he will learn. 
What is unusual about Raine's parents? 
Will Atalin become important in the story later on? 
Quiz 2 

Chapter 19

Contrast how Khemri feels for Raine with how he felt about the fake people in the simulation. Use at least one piece of textual evidence to support the difference. 
By using the short sentence "I felt free" just before the section break, the author emphasizes how important this feeling of freedom is. 
When Khemri chooses to save Raine from an imagined threat, rather than use her to save himself, he demonstrates 
By comparing the Empire to a sick organism and Princes to disease vectors, the author is using metaphor. This brief video clip might help you identify the difference between similes and metaphors.  (This annotation contains a video)
Where does Khemri suspect the Imperial technology has been stored? 
As their relationship matures, so does the story help develop the theme of coming of age. In mature relationships, people actually talk to each other. 
Explain how this concern for Raine develops the theme of Khemri's coming of age. 
As Khemri struggles to decide what to do, he is clearly divided. When a character is struggling to make a decision, this is called internal conflict. 

Chapter 20

What ultimately makes up Khemri's mind for him, thus ending his internal conflict? 
Will the ship require Khemri to have princely powers in order to run?  
How does Khemri convince the ship to allow him to command it? 
Although the tech is hundreds of years old, it still works. Think about trying to use something of ours that is hundreds of years old. 
What might make Khemri's eye's blur? 
Is Khemri important enough to have such an elaborate set up, created just to test him? 
When Khemri describes the transports as chaff and himself a divine wind, he is using 
Although Khemri may not have planned to leave just as the pirates attacked, maybe the Empire had another plan in mind. 

Chapter 21

What does Khemri learn about the Kharalchans that helps him to grow up a little? 
Is this the end of Khemri's coming of age? 
Why does Khemri want to save everyone in the Habitat? 
Can you imagine viscous, thick fluid oozing into your nose and mouth? 
Summarize in your own words how Raine feels upon learning who Khemri says he is. 
If Khemri is successful, then the Habitat is saved. 
Why does Khemri feel he's "passed the test for being human"? 

Chapter 22

What could Khemri's third death possibly be? 
Explain in your own words how the citation for which Khemri is receiving the Imperial Star of Valor differs from what actually happened.  
Will Khemri be challenged to a duel? 
How is Haddad similar to Alice? 
Even though Khemri tries to let go of his experiences with Raine, he still feels angry when he hears how the Imperial Mind "interprets" the truth. 
How does the highlighted text reflect internal conflict? 
The Arch-Priest seems to be a pivotal person in Khemri's life. What could she want with him now? 
Why would becoming an Adjuster allow Khemri to respect himself? 
So Khemri really is special to the Imperial Mind. Will his coming of age story culminate in his becoming Emperor? 
Which of the following does NOT represent important information that Khemri learns while talking with the Arch Priest? 
Can you see the internal conflict here? 

Chapter 23

How does the highlighted statement support the theme of coming of age? 
As Khemri comes of age, his internal conflict increases. 
Why does Khemri want a blizzard while he and Atalin duel? 
By showing Atalin and Khemri arriving at the same moment, the author implies that they are equals. 
Why might the Arch Priest have restricted Khemri from telling Atalin that she won't be reborn if she dies? 
This statement foreshadows the idea that Khemri will do something unexpected. If you've never heard of foreshadowing, or if you have trouble identifying it, this video might help.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 24

When Khemri refers to a "slim hope," to what is he referring? 
Notice the simile, as Khemri considers lack of augmentation to be like that of the life of a bug. 
How does Khemri interpret Haddad's grasp? 
"Hierself" is not a typo, but rather an interesting invented word. How would you refer to someone, if you did not know their gender? 
What literary device does Khemri use to describe Haddad? 
The sense of tension and danger is telling; as Khemri shows he has come of age, knowing the Empire does not care about all Princes equally. 

Chapter 25

How has Khemri changed, from his first moments as a prince until now? 
Will Khemri be able to kill his sister? 
Because Khemri allows Atalin to stab him, Khemri can 
We now know what Khemri really wants--to leave the Empire behind. Will his sacrifice work? 

Chapter 26

Why is comparing Atalin's thought to a lightening bolt such a great simile? 
Will he be betrayed in the end? 


Why might Raine mind being described as an "ever-changing tactical problem"? 
Quiz 3