Book Review – “The Courts of Chaos”

The first half of the Amber Chronicles have now been
reviewed. The rest will be reviewed eventually as
well. (General impressions of books 6-10: good, but
not as good as 1-5.)

General Information

Title: The Courts of Chaos

Author: Roger Zelazny

Original Publication Date: 1978

ISBN: 0380809060 (single volume of ten books)

Cover Price: $22.95 US for the complete series

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Most of Amber’s royal family must work together to
defeat the traitor
among them, and his allies.

High Point

The Unicorn’s choice.

Low Point

The hellride seems to have been longer than needed.
(For example,
what was the point of the jackal?)

The Scores

The fifth book in the Amber series has enough unique
elements to score
well in originality. The family dynamic is
changed, as are some of the family members. The
purpose of Corwin’s
quest has shifted. Questions are answered, and new
ambiguities are
introduced. It serves as an excellent end to a
series that ended up
with five more books. I give it 5 out of 6.

The imagery was clear, and some of the
figurative language
was back, but in this case, there was almost too much
imagery. The
early chapters in the hellride seemed like a long and
pointless stream
of particular details that could have been delivered
far more
succinctly. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is good when it’s being delivered,
but a fair chunk
of the book does nothing for it. I give it 4 out of

The characterization here is much better
than in the other
novels. Corwin actually shows some signs of growth!
I give it 5 out
of 6.

The emotional response this produced was
excellent at first, but
then dragged through the first portion of the
hellride. Things picked
up dramatically in chapter 10, though. I give it 4
out of 6.

The editing was shaky in the typography
early on, but had no
issues with the integration of events. I give it 4
out of 6.

Overall, it’s an excellent close to the
first half of the
Amber chronicles. (I will review the second half of
the series, too,
after fulfilling a request.) I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, The Courts of Chaos receives 31
out of 42.