Nine Princes in Amber (Amber Chronicles #1), by Roger Zelazny
4 out of 5 (Really Liked It)
Amber, the one real world, wherein all others, including our own Earth, are but Shadows. Amber burns in Corwin’s blood. Exiled on Shadow Earth for centuries, the prince is about to return to Amber to make a mad and desperate rush upon the throne. From Arden to the blood-slippery Stairway into the Sea, the air is electrified with the powers of Eric, Random, Bleys, Caine, and all the princes of Amber whom Corwin must overcome. Yet, his savage path is blocked and guarded by eerie structures beyond imagining; impossible realities forged by demonic assassins and staggering horrors to challenge the might of Corwin’s superhuman fury.
I bought the giant Amber textbook-looking omnibus a while back, and decided these short novels would make excellent filler material to read in between my other books. Therefore, although I will write a review for each of the 10 Amber novels, don’t worry, there won’t be a spamming of 10 quick reviews as they’ll be spaced out. But since these are fairly short and continue right where the previous one left off, the reviews will be brief.
I haven’t read an ‘older’ book for some time now, maybe not since the last Tolkien one I read when I was younger. This was written in 1970, a pleasant read from the get go, and a nice change from the usual epic fantasy. Even though it was relatively brief as a whole, the writing style hooked me in during the first couple of pages.
The main character, Corwin (first-person narrative), was an entertaining, clever, likeable guy that I wanted to see succeed. Perhaps my favourite part was the whole royal family dynamic of eternally feuding brothers and sisters for the throne of Amber. Learning about each unique sibling was quite interesting, and although there were many in number, it was not difficult to remember who was who after a short while.
The magic system turned out being pretty cool too. It was simple, with clear rules that will make things interesting moving forward. There are few specific ways someone can move about, and enter or exit Amber, the central and most important world. Then there are the Trumps: sets of cards of the royal family members that can open pathways for communication or even direct transportation between them.
The only reason I can really give as to why this was not a 5 star book is that personally, I found it to be excellent, just not amazing. Faerie style worlds are wondrous but appeal less to me as a reader than other worlds in fantasy do. I prefer something slightly more defined.
NEXT BOOK: Dust of Dreams.
© 2013 FOTS Fantasy