I am not a fan of this book, which I know is something negative, so let me say 2 things positive: This book has conflict. This book has complexity. But as a writer always interested in the why and will behind characters, this book has left me wanting.
Featuring The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles. 1-10.
I have just finished the Nine Princes in Amber, and I find myself wanting to read, wanting to see what everyone else praises, but I am really reluctant to continue, which is saying something, although I do have my own reasons:
1. Why does everyone want to be king of Amber?
Seriously. Why does everyone want to be king? Every male sibling wants to be, and the most we hear as to why is “Amber was the greatest city which had ever existed or ever would exist. Amber had always been and always would be, and every other city, everywhere, every other city that existed was but a reflection of a shadow of some phase of Amber…I remember thee with love, city that I was born to rule….” (61). Cool. So, what happened to first born? Why is every other sibling trying to kill the other? Don’t siblings for the most part get along? And where is the father in this? This seems like a major conflict line, which I get as to why it’s not explained, but at least give me more reason for them to rule besides each sibling thinking, this is the best city ever. (Also, what happened to the girls wanting to be queens?)
2. Why can’t Corwin remember anything and why does this keep happening?
As he mentions, “I am suffering from amnesia. I don’t dig all this talk about Shadows. I don’t even remember much about Amber.” And apparently this has happened for some time. As he mentions later, “I had been without full memory since the reign of Elizabeth I” (60). Why only him? Why not his siblings? And why is this conflict never again addressed in this book. This is a serious issue. What if it happens again?
3. The battles bored me.
The details within this book are amazing. It’s clear this author is a fanatic for world creation, and you can tell with his devotion to the parallel universe theory, especially since one deviation from the original world leads to a billion other possibilities. But for the battles, it’s always “three hundred dead from eating poisonous native fruits, a thousand slain in a massive stampede of buffalo-like creatures, seventy-three gone…” (77). I skim read most of the battle, more so than usual, stopping at the beginning of every paragraph to see if the battle was over yet. Talking about the battle this way, although visual, made it too omniscient and led me to being disconnected from the character, and bored.
I want to like this book. Everyone online says that this is a classic fantasy. But I wonder if classic is meaning the start of fantasy, an original fantasy, not necessarily good fantasy? I’m not sure what to think. But I think I have to put this book down before I try any more. I simply don’t want to read it, and I don’t particularly like forcing myself to. But please, somebody convince me otherwise.
Zelazny, Roger. The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles. 1-10. New York, NY: Avon Books. Print.