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The Courts of Chaos by Roger Zelazny
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The Courts of Chaos (1978)

by Roger Zelazny

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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Good final installment of the first pentalogy. ( )
  zjakkelien | Jun 9, 2014 |
What an astoundingly vague ending. I mean, I know there's five more books, but I'd always heard they weren't as good so I was going to skip them. Now... ( )
  jen.e.moore | Apr 27, 2014 |
audio re-read Originally posted at FanLit. http://www.fantasyliterature.com/reviews/the-courts-of-chaos

The Courts of Chaos is the very short last installment of the CORWIN CYCLE of THE CHRONICLES OF AMBER and the fifth volume of the entire series. If you haven’t read the previous books, you’ve got no business here — go away. I don’t want to ruin it for you. Go read the first book, Nine Princes in Amber, and continue on from there.

OK. So Oberon is back and we learn that he’s been manipulating events all along. Now he’s on the throne, which is fine with Corwin because after Eric’s death he’s decided he doesn’t want to sit there anyway. Corwin’s concern is with repairing the pattern that Brand destroyed when he let the forces of Chaos into Amber. To heal the land, someone must sacrifice himself and Corwin is willing, but Oberon insists on making the decisions. He wants Corwin to take the Jewel of Judgment through Shadow so it will be ready to help them during the battle with Chaos. Meanwhile, Oberon intends to fix the pattern himself.

Corwin’s psychedelic hellride through Shadow is long and sometimes tedious as Corwin vividly describes the surreal landscape, reminisces about the past, and becomes introspective as he ponders how he, and his relationship with his family members, has changed. After the constant plot twists in the last few books, some readers may be glad for the leisurely pace, but I eventually became bored with metallic trees and zebra-stripe skies. Short but welcome action segments occur when Corwin encounters murderous leprechauns, a gallant knight, a seductive woman, a talking tree, a philosophical raven, and a treacherous jackal. When he finally reaches the Courts of Chaos, the last battle with a nebulous enemy ensues. Compared to all that’s gone on before, these final scenes are a bit anticlimactic and even start to feel like a bad soap opera when the unicorn shows up to crown the next ruler and a sibling who’s supposed to be dead reappears.

I didn’t enjoy The Courts of Chaos as much as I enjoyed the earlier AMBER novels, mainly because of the long surreal hellride, but it’s a short book that concludes Corwin’s story, so it’s kind of a must-read for anyone who’s read this far in this immensely popular old SFF series. As with previous AMBER novels, Roger Zelazny throws several literary and mythological allusions into this installment. The next five AMBER books make up the MERLIN CYCLE which is narrated by Corwin’s son Merlin. I read them many years ago and only recall that they weren’t as good as the CORWIN CYCLE. I’m not sure if I’ll read them again, though I probably will if I see them on sale at Audible. These have been very nice productions. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
The fifth entry in the Amber Chronicles, this is the best so far. Zelazny wraps up loose ends and brings the first Amber series to a close. But unlike the final entries in some other series, this doesn't suffer from anticlimactic unraveling. Instead, the action reaches a climactic point -- no more of the overlong exposition here -- and we're truly in suspense awaiting the fate of Corwin, and Amber. Zelazny's psychedelic renderings as Corwin passes through alternate realities have improved since early on and are, well, a trip!

Satisfying. I'm so glad I stayed with Amber despite not liking the first book. I'm looking forward to finding out where Zelazny takes things in the second series. I've already requested a copy of Trumps of Doom from the library!

(Incidentally, the Amber novels are now in print only as a single large anthology. Since I don't want to lug that around, I'm reading old copies of the individual paperbacks instead.)
( )
  ksimon | Feb 6, 2014 |
The last book in the first Amber Chronicles, which mostly has the battle between Amber (good) and Chaos (evil). Corwin tries his best to save Amber as it is and fight back both the Courts of Chaos and his siblings who want other things (trying not to spoil the story here...). It is a fight that he seems certain to lose. It is a pretty chaotic conclusion to the first chronicles (Zelazny later wrote more Amber works) that seems to end with most story lines concluded. All in all I enjoyed the Chronicles of Amber, but they aren't my favorite fantasy. I enjoyed the world that Zelazny built, both the idea of Amber and its Shadows, and the Pattern and the power it holds. In the end it felt to me like Zelazny tried to put a long list of things in the story, making it packed with fast paced action where I would have liked him to spend some time on things. Maybe I am spoiled/ruined by series that run 10 books and 15.000 pages (I am looking at you, Steven Erikson!). Mainly because the world-building fascinated me so much I wished Zelazny had spent more time (with me) in these books. Three out of five stars for this last book and the series. ( )
  divinenanny | Nov 12, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zelazny, Rogerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
FreffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Targète, JeanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walotsky, RonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Carl Yoke, First Reader—

From Lucetania to Euclid Park,
Sarcobatus Flats to Cygnus X-1—
May you live another ten thousand years.
May your lair be safe from trendeltiles.
May the diminutive deities
break their collective leg.
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Amber: high and bright atop Kolvir in the middle of the day.
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This final volume in the "Amber" series continues the tale of a magical world ruled by a royal family fighting for control of the throne.

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