I’m finally getting around to reviewing the first fantasy novel
I ever read. I remember how hard it was to find a book in
this series on the shelves back in junior high. Eight of us
were trying to read them all, so there was always a race to
grab one of the books when it became available.
Title: Nine Princes in Amber
Author: Roger Zelazny
Original Publication Date: 1970
ISBN: 0380809060 (single volume of ten books)
Cover Price: $22.95 US for the complete series
Buy from: Amazon.com
A man with amnesia realizes his siblings are trying to kill
that he’s not a normal person.
Note that this premise refers only to the first book in the
series, while the Amazon link above is to a collection of all
books. The first five alone are easily worth that price. The
five, written later, aren’t quite as good, but Amazon’s
this is being written) is easily a great price for those five
(The Amber Chronicles are, essentially, two different five
series.) If you’re Christmas shopping for a fantasy fan, you
a lot worse.
Driving to Amber.
Man, these characters smoke a lot. Is anyone surprised
died due to complications from cancer?
This is an original take on parallel worlds. The
of the worlds, and their ties to our Earth, have been
numerous ways since this was published, but I haven’t run
that predate it. (That doesn’t mean they’re not out there, of
course. Suggestions for further reading are always
welcome.) I give
it 5 out of 6.
The imagery, both in terms of describing
locations and in
figurative language, is excellent. When things turn to
boring conversation, Corwin’s internal dialogue kicks up
great wit to keep things moving, and it’s usually in
similes involving his immediate family. I give it 6 out of 6.
The story is a decent kick-off to the series, but
long chunks of world-building that, while necessary, don’t
plot. I give it 4 out of 6.
The characterization includes some nice work
with Corwin, and
a pile of pretty one-dimensional characters. I give it 4 out
The emotional response is fairly good. There
are slow bits
to it, certainly, but it definitely holds my attention through
rest of the series. I give it 4 out of 6.
The editing is very well done. The “slow bits” I
above are the world-building bits that won’t seem as slow
first-time readers. The rest is a tight and rapidly moving
give it 4 out of 6.
Overall, it’s a solid start to my favourite fantasy
(Yes, I’d rather read these than Lord of the
first five books are excellent, especially if you have time to
them in a marathon. I give this volume 5 out of 6.
In total, Nine Princes in Amber receives 33
out of 42.
Additional Notes and Comments
I plan to review all ten books in the series soon, but I also
review a big stack of movies and a decent stack of
comics. If you
have any preferences or suggestions about the order I use
to attack this
options let me know in the comments or via e-mail.