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The First Chronicles of Amber by Roger…
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The First Chronicles of Amber (1970)

by Roger Zelazny

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8762310,122 (4.17)16
  1. 00
    A Tapestry of Magics by Brian Daley (Imrahil2001)
    Imrahil2001: Similar settings of a central "reality" and shadows or "beyonds" featuring other realities (including our own).
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» See also 16 mentions

English (20)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  Romanian (1)  All (23)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
On the plus side The Chronicles of Amber has an interesting universe and an epic scope, but on the other hand Zelazny's unimpressive writing and inability to breathe life into that universe means that the series becomes a slog.

Right off the bat the protagonist Corwin wakes up with amnesia- cliché to the extreme, but let's be charitable. From there the book introduces its universe, one where there is a central universe and numerous others that are mere shadows cast by that one- our universe being one of them. As a prince of amber Corwin has mastery over this multiverse far more so than others, but his abilities are not unique. Instead he has an extended family that shares his powers, some being allies and some enemies. While the extensive family opens up the possibility for manifold machinations and schemes, few of the characters feel developed in the slightest. Most can be defined by one or two traits. I would much rather have had the family be half the size but more developed, but instead we're left with various names that it's hard to care about. Random is crowned regent in the end- but because Random isn't a character with any depth I'm left not caring. Why is Random crowned and not another member of the family? Perhaps his name was picked out of a hat- there isn't any sufficient explanation in the first five volumes at least.

Speaking of the first five volumes, I began the sixth as well, but I honestly just couldn't force myself to read any more of Zelazny's writing. It's mediocre, but not in an inoffensive way: read him for long enough and it becomes grating to the extreme. Corwin navigates many a strange universe, but a) they're not as creative or inventive as they should be, 2) there is only a connection to Amber about half the time, with the other half being universes that Zelazny just thought would be cool, and 3) Zelazny's writing isn't strong enough to imbue this exploration with any sense of wonder or discovery. They are reduced to places that Corwin must go to do this thing that advances the plot. What fun. There's a universe here that might warrant a ten-volume series almost the length of War & Peace, but if so Zelazny isn't the one to deliver it. What should be a fun and creative series to read is instead overwhelmingly bland. ( )
  BayardUS | Dec 10, 2014 |
I've reviewed the first five AMBER books separately at FanLit: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/fantasy-author/zelaznyroger/ ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
One of my favorite stories. The end is sad, but the rest of the story really moves and is very exciting. It is the kind of book you day dream about. One thing that bothered me was the writing style. I can't remember how many times the word dig is used as in a slang term for liking something. It took me several tries at reading Nine Princes to get over the hippy talk and enjoy the story. I am so glad I did. ( )
  geniemagik | Dec 5, 2013 |
Review of Nine Princes in Amber

This is a tough book to summarize. Let’s just say that Mr. Corey wakes up with amnesia after a nasty car crash and sets out to recover his memory and then to take back what he sees as his.

Starting this was a leap of faith. Corey tells the story and since he doesn’t know anything about what’s going on, neither do we. He’s confused, we’re confused, and I for one was left wondering if it was worth the effort to continue on. Luckily, I decided that since I’d heard so many good things about this author and since the book was only about 150 pages, I really had nothing to lose and possibly a lot to gain. Once I got going with the story and started getting tantalizing pieces about the story behind the story, I was hooked. Even after finishing, I have some questions, but I know that this series has to be worth the ride.

I love Zelazny’s writing. He has a unique voice and some of his descriptions were incredibly original. Of course I didn’t do anything useful like mark them, but here’s one I did find again: “his skin was as porous as an orange rind and the elements had darkened it to resemble a fine old piece of furniture.” Can’t you just picture this guy’s skin?

As much as I liked it, there were a couple of things I didn’t care for. There’s a big old deus ex machina at the end. (Here’s hoping I got hold of the correct phrase) Maybe it will tie in later, but right now it just felt like an easy way out after he had painted himself into a corner.

This isn’t really anything to do with the story, but my copy is chock-full of typos. It’s easy enough to figure out what Zelazny meant most of the time, but there were a few instances where the sentence could work in a couple of different ways. There was at least one time when a few sentences were repeated for no reason. It got really distracting.

I’m going to give this three stars, mostly because of what I just mentioned and because I still have lots of questions about what exactly is going on. I’ll definitely be continuing the series, and who knows? I might bump my rating up later.

The Guns of Avalon

I don't have too much more to add except that the typos were better in this section and I'm hugely surprised that one story arc wrapped up as quickly as it did. I'm glad we got to see a few more members of the family. I really didn't see the big twist coming. It's still three stars and I'll still keep on reading. ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |


It's been so long since I first read it, I could only remember fragments and some of the broad strokes. It held up very well. ( )
  clmerle | Apr 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roger Zelaznyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Nach einer Zeit, die mir wie eine Ewigkeit vorkam, zeichnete sich das Ende ab.
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Collects the first five books in the Chronicles of Amber: Nine Princes in Amber; The Guns of Avalon; Sign of the Unicorn; The Hand of Oberon; and The Courts of Chaos.
Please DO NOT combine with The Chronicles of Amber Volume I which only includes Nine Princes in Amber and The Guns of Avalon.
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Here, together for the first time, are the complete Chronicles of Amber in a two-volume set.
Amber is the one real world, casting infinite reflections of itself - Shadow worlds that can be manipulated by those of royal Amberite blood. Unfortunately, the royal family is torn by jealousies and suspicions.  And the disappearance of the clan patriarch, Oberon, has intensified the conflicts by leaving Amber's throne apparently up for grabs.The Chronicles begin in a hospital on the Shadow Earth, where a man is recovering from a freak auto accident.  Since he is also suffering from amnesia, and has been for some time, he has no idea that he's Prince Corwin of Amber - until his memory receives a succession of jolts:He meets a sister who speaks in riddles of plots and counterplots...and a brother who abruptly involves him in a life-and-death battle against pursuers from a fearful Shadow world.He discovers a deck of tarot-like cards, with himself, his sister, and strangers whom he guesses to be other relatives, pictured on their faces. Only lingering amnesia keeps him from grasping the full significance of the find: the cards are the Greater Trumps of Amber, used by his family to communicate across vast distances, and transport one another through Shadows in an instant.Than comes the most shattering jolt of all...Corwin's confrontation with an intricate design created by a master manipulator of reality - the Pattern.  By walking the Pattern, those of the blood royal gain the ability to control Shadows.  But the slightest hesitation or misstep during the trail means death.As Corwin sets foot upon that coldly glowing inscription, memories come flooding back to him...more and more with each step.  And finally, knowing his true identity, he acknowledges his true ambition - and resolves that the crown of Amber will be his.But unknown to Corwin, there are dark forces massing against Amber...and before too long he will discover just how great a burden a king's crown can be.
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