Book Review: Nine Princes in Amber

Chronicles of Amber

This is the first book in Roger Zelanzy’s Chronicles of Amber megaseries, which I bought on impuls in one supercondensed tome. It’s kind of hard to describe the book. See, there’s this guy, Corwin, and he’s a Prince of Amber, which is this city that’s kind of a Platonian ideal of all cities, of which every other city is just a pale imitation. Oh, and not just cities in our world, but in the totality of an infinite number of parallel worlds. And Corwin is feuding and scheming with the other Princes and Princess of Amber (his siblings, just to keep it interesting) for control of Amber, and they can do all kinds of zany stuff by walking between alternate universes and also they have super powers and smell really pretty.

So it’s kind of fantasy, kind of sci-fi, kind of weird. And it didn’t really grab me in any case. I think the main problem was that Zelanzy just dumps you, the reader, into the middle of the action without much narration, then makes it worse by having Corwin, who tells the story from a first-person perspective, suffer from amnesia. So he’s trying to figure out what’s going on while you’re trying to figure out what’s going on, and the result was less intrigue and more confusion.

Still, I may read another book or two in the series to give it a fair chance. They’re short and fairly fast paced, and can thus be knocked out pretty quickly. We’ll see.

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