Nine princes in Amber

Had I been 12, or 14 this book really would have struck a chord. I used to read quite a bit back then, I was really into adventures of all sorts and I would have definitely fallen in love with Corwin. After all, he’s just the right amount of dangerous 😉 . The world of Amber is fascinating, the world of the shadows even more so. 13 brothers and sisters, one throne, one presumably dead parent, supernatural abilities (strength, telepathic communication), incarcerations and nearly impossible escapes – all point out to something a teenager (or at least this teenager) would have loved.

Unfortunately, I’m not 14 anymore. And I did find the book entertaining, but I don’t see much point in reading the next 10 (or so) volumes. Maybe it was the translation (I am usually quick to blame the translation, but this time I might be in the right; I mean, they even translated KFC!) or maybe it’s just not my cup of tea anymore. I would have liked to enjoy it more, but I have to say it wasn’t particularly engaging and the fate of the kingdom of Amber leaves me rather cold at this point.

Should I try the next volumes, or is this one a good sample of the whole series?


~ by ameer on December 5, 2009.

3 Responses to “Nine princes in Amber”

  1. I’m admittedly biased and love the Amber series, having read all the novels a multitude of times already. So, instead of simply advising “Yes, read on!” I’ll attempt to offer you a sense of the series as a whole and what may be in store (no spoilers) IF you read on…

    Prepare for both revelations and inconsistencies. Zelazny (through Corwin) intentionally misleads the reader at times. Other times, he apparently just changes his mind (and the facts along with). The major inconsistencies have more to do with full siblings vs half siblings, birth order and whatnot. They don’t really touch the plot, thankfully.

    Speaking of plot (and, by extension, story) there are some delightful character moments and surprises. Most characters are more or less static throughout the series (as icons or paragons tend to be), though not all. One character in particular is revealed in piecemeal throughout the first five books and turns out to be much more interesting as a result (no, I’m not referring to Crowin here).

    I would advise to look at Amber as two series of five books each, rather than a single 10-book series. The second series has notable differences from the first and is, IMO, not as good. It also introduces a new cast of characters (many of the originals are limited to ‘cameos’ rather than being a focus).

    Yes, I enjoy(ed) Amber. Yes, also, I recommend all the books. Though, really, expect much of the same from the first book. The novels are “a fun ride” and easy read. They’re not literary masterworks by most acceptable definitions.

  2. Ah, Amber ^_^ Which I actually read for the first time when I was 11 or 12. For many many years, Zelazny was my God …this is going to be such a long comment… sorry about that in advance.

    I am 22 now, and recently re-read the first five books (just as Bissett above mentions, they are two very different series – and you can skip the second). It was many, many years since I last read them, and naturally I was a bit worried they would be embarassing.

    Turns out I liked the series just about as much as I did back then, although with a little reserve. I suppose some of the adoration must be nostalgia talking (but on the other hand I tried to re-read Dragonlance too once, and couldn’t even make it past the first book. So maybe not).

    The sweet thing about re-reading old stuff is that you notice different things, since you’re a different person. For example, I certainly didn’t ponder about Zelazny’s use of hullucinatory drugs before… But as a grown-up reading the fifth book… Well, it’s very trippy.

    I don’t even know what I’m rambling on about any longer, to be honest. I guess all I’m trying to say is that for all I know it might be worth giving Amber a try. OR, since Amber isn’t the best thing Zelazny wrote that I read, try out “Jack of Shadows”.

  3. Late late post.
    I read these when I was 13ish, I’m 27 now and still enjoy the books.
    My biggest disappointment was the Merlin series didn’t really keep up with Corwin’s.

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