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Books #11-15: The Chronicles of Amber - The Corwin Cycle by Roger Zelazny - Chronicles of a Hereditary Geek [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Books #11-15: The Chronicles of Amber - The Corwin Cycle by Roger Zelazny [Mar. 10th, 2009|01:28 pm]
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#11-15: Nine Princes in Amber, The Guns of Avalon, Sign of the Unicorn, The Hand of Oberon, and The Courts of Chaos by Roger Zelazny

I'm not sure whether cochese ever explicitly recommended this series to me. All the same, when I picked it up (in a bookstore in Ann Arbor, around a year or two ago), he'd made it fairly clear that this was something I needed to read.

Before I got around to starting it, he ran a one-shot of the Amber diceless roleplaying game (with myself, nightsinger, scarywhitegirl, and kendaer, who was the only other person to have played it before). I found my character easily slipping into the court intrigues and power plays, and decided to move the series to the top of my reading stack. And here we are.

The main series - the Chronicles of Amber - comprises ten books, split into two sets of five. Each individual novel is fairly short, and the "endings" generally aren't; they felt more like cliffhangers in a serial publication. Good thing for me I had the omnibus to read. :D The first five-book subseries - the Corwin Cycle - is the one I just finished, and does actually have something resembling an ending; the second subseries (the Merlin Cycle, which I just started) picks up some years later, with a new viewpoint character.

The story starts with the protagonist waking up in the hospital, apparently healthy but with complete amnesia. He tracks down some family members, stumbling headlong into their games of power and influence, and has to bluff his way around his missing memory until he can figure out what's going on. And of course, various people in his family have their own motives for making sure he believes certain things about his past...

The depth of plotting and conspiracies-within-conspiracies in the story entertained me greatly, and some of the details of the world are fascinating. Now that the rules for the world have been set down in the first cycle, I'm looking forward to seeing how Zelazny plays with them in the second cycle. There are already good signs that it's not as simple as we may have been led to believe.

I'm also looking forward to playing the Amber roleplaying game again, now that I understand more about the world. Maybe I'll give ACNW a shot one of these years.

[User Picture]From: danielbgoo
2009-03-10 11:23 pm (UTC)
The Amber Chronicles are one of my favorite sets of books.

The rules of the 'verse get more complicated with the Merlin cycle, but it's still rather interesting, and he has one of the best systems of magic I've encountered.

I just love his narrative voice, especially Corwin's. I felt the entire time that he really had been alive for centuries
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[User Picture]From: kendaer
2009-03-10 11:23 pm (UTC)
Glad you're enjoying the novels :)
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[User Picture]From: cochese
2009-03-12 05:59 pm (UTC)
I'll be curious to hear how you feel about the Merlin series. There's some very mixed feelings about them. To the point that many games go with the assumption, "I'm using all the cool powers and characters that the Merlin series bring up but none of the events." =)

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