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The Chronicles of Amber (The Chronicles of Amber #1-5 )

4.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,258 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
First five novels of "The chronicles of Amber" series:
1. Nine Princes in Amber 1-156
2. The Guns of Avalon 157-338
3. Sign of the Unicorn 338-490
4. The Hand of Oberon 491-640
5. The Courts of Chaos 641-772
Paperback , 772 pages
Published 2000 by Orion Publishing Co (first published January 1st 1978)
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Aug 17, 2015 T rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, unfinished
I recently tried to read this book because it gets recommended all the time on the internet as a classic of the fantasy genre. I can't express my disappointment. It was dreadful, complete dross. It baffled me that this book gets praised so highly to the extent that I keep going back to read reviews to try to find out how people could possibly like this. For reference, I stopped at page 200 after reading the first book. I wanted to like it so badly.

The book actually begins well. The premise is co
Mike (the Paladin)
I was actually introduced to this series in 1974, but didn't track the rest down for a couple of years. I love these books and have read them over and over, so.... These are wonderful reads and have a personality all their own.

This is a fantasy not to be missed. The first series is superior, but they are both good reads.

Should I give any details? Can I without spoilers? These are great.

The world building (multi-verse building?) here is not only superb but it's so well incorporated into the overa
David Dalglish
Feb 14, 2011 David Dalglish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know people who say they like to read books because it takes them places. When you think of, say, Lord of the Rings, there's many awesome battles, but people also remember the sights themselves, from the quaint peaceful realms of Hobbiton, to the great city of Minas Tirith, to Sauron's tower rising out from a blackened land. Of course, it takes a lot of time to travel between them (and plenty of people are fond of complaining about it, too).

In Amber, characters travel between these majestic lo
Aug 13, 2009 Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This edition collects what was originally a series of five books into a single volume.

Looking at the other reviews of this book, I am surprised at how many people have reviewed each book separately. That really is a pointless exercise; in my opinion these books should be read as a whole or not at all. They do not stand alone and there is no point in reading any of them individually or out-of-order. It is one continuous story arc.

I have also noticed that many reviewers have included details of th
Feb 26, 2014 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was fervently recommended by a friend, and, being an obsessive compulsive book shopper, I bought it almost immediately. When I started reading it, I was both surprised and impressed by the responses I got to my posts on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Google+ – all praising the Chronicles of Amber and/or Zelazny himself. Clearly I had missed out on something very important and my impulse shopping was not in vain.

Amber is a realm that casts hundreds of shadows of itself, each one easil
András Somosvári
Nov 12, 2015 András Somosvári rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I put that away before the last two books. I don't understand how such a boring, dull, sluggish, extremely protracted novel could get such positive reviews!?!? The whole story could have been shrinked into 300 pages but no, the whole Chronicles is like 1000 pages of boredom told in first person perspective which "per se" is boring!

The characters are dull, there is no developement, and none of them became likeable. Hundreds of pages are about Corwin is thinking about something, well basically abo
For me, this series started stronger than it finished. Zelazny set up quite a number of interesting conflicts, which then resolved much too suddenly. I wanted to spend more time with the other family members, see more of the inhabitants of the Courts of Chaos, know more about Dara and her motives. Also, where did Benedict go? I don't remember seeing him in the final conflict at all. I wanted a proper denouement for my favorite character. The dynamics in the scene when all the remaining siblings ...more
ირაკლი სულაძე
საბოლოო ჯამში მაინც 5.
ჯიგარი ხარ, როჯერ
Nebojša Petković
Ризикујући негодовање огромног броја љубитеља ове књиге, ипак јој дајем врло добру оцену. Моја су очекивања, ваљда због неподељеног мишљења свих које знам и не знам, а који су је прочитали, била превелика. Нисам разочаран, далеко од тога. Амбер је, ако ништа друго, посебан. Генијално поигравање савременим и митолошким уткано у један посебан свет, несличан уобичајеном епско-фантастичном стереотипу и све то приповедано у правом лицу. Сјајна динамика (мада на моменте се све успорава превише за мој ...more
Matt Williamson
Aug 25, 2014 Matt Williamson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the edition that unlocked my mind and utterly destroyed my sense of self. In the reading of these books I became Corwin and in many ways I never left Amber.
I’ve just finished reading Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny. The Amber Chronicles is a series of ten books, which is actually comprised of two five book story arcs. This book I read contained the first five books in the series, which were originally published as: Nine Princes in Amber; The Guns of Avalon; Sign of the Unicorn; The Hand of Oberon; and The Courts of Chaos. However they are all very short books individually, so I am counting Chronicles of Amber as one complete book. It’s a littl ...more
Oct 02, 2014 Bbrown rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the plus side The Chronicles of Amber has an interesting universe and an epic scope, but on the other hand Zelazny's unimpressive writing and inability to breathe life into that universe means that the series becomes a slog.

Right off the bat the protagonist Corwin wakes up with amnesia- cliché to the extreme, but let's be charitable. From there the book introduces its universe, one where there is a central universe and numerous others that are mere shadows cast by that one- our universe being
Alexandra Son
Aug 11, 2013 Alexandra Son rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me just start by saying that I cannot remember how many times I have re-read these books. First I read it as a teenager on several occasions, then as a young adult and recently I have downloaded the audio books, and I am not bored yet. I actually remember being depressed for several days after I have finished the book for the first time because it was so good, I wished I could forget the plot to be able to read it as if for the first time… if that makes any sense.

As the series have been publ
Dec 03, 2008 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
Read anything by Zelazny! His ability to craft a story that immediately draws the reader in is remarkable. He is one of the few authors who can not only get away with writing in the first person, but who excel at befriending the reader while doing so.

The Chronicles of Amber begins with the book, Nine Princes in Amber. It is a gripping mystery, and a contemporary fiction and fantasy novel all in one, and done very well. From the outset, the reader is pulled into action and intrigue.

The original
B.B. Shepherd
Aug 09, 2013 B.B. Shepherd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read Nine Princes In Amber, the first book in the Amber Chronicles, when I was in my teens. I remember liking it immensely and loved the way the story began, but I think the ‘shifting’ confused me a little, which may be why I didn’t immediately pursue the rest of the series. It obviously left enough of an impression for me to remember the author’s name and promise myself to finish the day.

Nine Princes in Amber opens with the protagonist escaping from a hospital where he has
Radu Stanculescu
Jan 10, 2010 Radu Stanculescu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, cluj
This is one of the most "realistic" fantasy series I've read - admittedly, I haven't read that much fantasy, but still. The power struggle that goes on throughout the series could easily be one from a more "down-to-earth" society, and the fantastic elements only serve to augment the story, without overwhelming it. The characters' actions and motivation are strikingly human, and you won't find the classical "good guy/bad guy" distinction you find in many fantasy books; everybody has their shade o ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The Chronicles of Amber is a beautifully written fantasy series containing magic, epic battles, court politics and the occasional fratricide. However, this is not fantasy in the traditional sense; at times this reads as a crime thriller or murder mystery, where one has to solve the clues together to work out the culprit. Through this style of writing, Zelazny weaves together a complex narrative told from the perspective of Prince Corwin of Amber, one of nine brothers vying to claim the throne o ...more
Ian Zimmerman
May 23, 2013 Ian Zimmerman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent series with infinite universes, quarreling Gods, and crazy plot twists. The writing is minimalistic and reads sort of like Hemingway crossed with a 1940s detective novel, except with random Shakespeare quotations thrown everywhere. The character of Corwin really grows on the reader and shifts from a machiavellian royal to an enjoyable protagonist. At first Corwin is someone who is willing to kill his own sibling and send thousands of men he has duped to their deaths in order to get the ...more
Caroline Berg
My only regret is that I didn't read these books sooner. These first five books are wonderful - I would rate them five stars each. The action is non-stop. The intrigue changes so many times it is hard to keep track of who is allied with whom. It can be fatal to trust the wrong person - but who can you trust when your entire family is locked in a battle for the throne? Relatives pop out of the woodwork like termites - but do they want the throne, revenge or something else? Nothing is ever what it ...more
Mar 13, 2015 Anna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ach co zrobię, że duże rozczarowanie. Facet i ja mamy to samo nazwisko, więc myślałam- Żelazny- pisarz na pewno się zachwycę.
Chociaż może to nie jego wina tylko moja, że przeczytałam wszystkie tomy na raz, miałam zbyt duże oczekiwania i jestem na takie książki za stara.
W każdym razie zaczyna się nieźle główny bohater ma amnezję, a jego rodzeństwo chce go zabić.
Cykl się broni w pierwszym tomie „Dziewięciu książąt Amberu”. Dobrze się czyta, jest tragicznie, cierpiąco, ale główny bohater nie pod
Zack Stackurski
Mar 28, 2013 Zack Stackurski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think the Chronicles of Amber are a lot of fun... and certainly very different. Zelazny's schtik is explaining how magic works in an almost science fictiony sort of way. He doesn't go that far in this one... but the reality bending powers of the Amberites are fun and different all the same. Even better, the series starts out almost like a mystery as the amnesiatic character tries to figure out who and what the heck he really is. This leads to a pretty epic tale of betrayal and family infightin ...more
Nov 28, 2010 Halei rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've finished the first 3 titles of this series. My dad gave me his copies to read about two years ago. It took me a very long time to sit down and start it, but that happens with most of the books I read as a rule it seems. He gave it to me with the promise that these books changed his life. As of this point, I find them AMAZING! the descriptions are beautiful and the plot is enticing. It continues to build and draw you in in what I suspect as a calculated way. I've also suggested the series to ...more
Floora De
Jan 29, 2014 Floora De rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of my favorites. The story intrigues the reader immediately. Easy to read (apart from the thickness of the 5-in-1 novel). I would recommend getting all five books at the same time as you won't want to stop between stories.
Apr 28, 2015 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber fits well into a string of ambivalent fantasies from the 70's.

[mild spoilers ahead]

Amber's distrust of heroism - and the collateral damage it causes - places Zelazny (like contemporaries such as Donaldson, Harrison and Moorcock) in dialogue with the newly-minted tropes of the genre after the Tolkien boom.

It being Zelazny - it's also at least superficially about a load of superhuman magnificent b**tards having a right old barney (see also Lord Of Light and Th
Paulo Agustin
Jan 28, 2015 Paulo Agustin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Chronicles of Amber deal with the concepts of parallel worlds and the family and other beings that can traverse them all. I've only read the Corwin cycle (centering around Corwin of the Royal family of Amber), and it is very entertaining, mixing up some of the conventions and tropes of fantasy. Amber is the one true world, and every other world is a mere reflection, or shadow of it. Corwin is a Prince of Amber, one of the few beings in existence that can walk the shadows and traverse these w ...more
May 25, 2014 Milopeinemann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The beauty of Zelazny's Amber universe comes from the fact that Zelazny is among the best first-person storytellers SF has ever seen. The greatest strength in the Amber series, as with all of his books and short story collections, is not his world-building, which is mind-bogglingly creative and trippy, but rather, his choices in filtering that world through to the reader with a distinct narrator that metes out the story in an immensely readable fashion.

There is actually two series of five books
Aug 01, 2015 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Audiobook review. The 10 chronicles of Amber should be regarded as 2 longer novels. The first 5 are tightly written compelling page turners full of twists and turns and surprises. Zelazny is masterful at evoking mythic archetypes economically into an action narrative. The author reads the audiobook, at a speed a bit faster than is normal for audiobooks, which is just fine. The economical prose and the quicker reading make these less of a time commitment than your typical audiobook, which with th ...more
This book was Interestingly written and weird. Generally I liked it. It wasn't that the writing was dated I don't think but it was very narrative rather than demonstrative and the narrator was really bad at emotions. The most interesting thing about this book was that the plot was like real life - the narrative never went where I expected. The main character would spend a whole book trying to do something, only to have random happenstance change everything about the situation and send him in an ...more
Lyle Wiedeman
This is a classic fantasy series (5 novels) from the 70s. I am not a big fan of fantasy, but I do make allowance for classics. The series starts out strong, with the protagonist discovering who he is (he is surprised as we are.) There is a lot of political intrigue, odyssey, and adventure. Each subsequent book was slightly less interesting to me than the last. My sense is that Zelazny struggled between giving past readers what they expect and trying to expand his world in a consistent way. Never ...more
Brent Broome
Aug 30, 2015 Brent Broome rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just read all five books over the past ten days. As that timeline suggests, the books are generally entertaining and easy reading. The quality is a bit uneven, but the good parts are grand and the rough patches are worth wading through.

For a more specific and in-depth analysis of some of the highs and lows of this series, I highly recommend the following review (which I read before embarking on my reading and found to be quite accurate):
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Roger Zelazny made his name with a group of novellas which demonstrated just how intense an emotional charge could be generated by the stock imagery of sf; the most famous of these is A Rose for Ecclesiastes in which a poet struggles to convince dying and sterile Martians that life is worth continuing. Zelazny continued to write excellent short stories throughout his career. Most of his novels dea ...more
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Other Books in the Series

The Chronicles of Amber (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Nine Princes in Amber (The Chronicles of Amber #1)
  • The Guns of Avalon (The Chronicles of Amber #2)
  • Sign of the Unicorn (The Chronicles of Amber #3)
  • The Hand of Oberon
  • The Courts of Chaos (The Chronicles of Amber #5)
  • Trumps of Doom (The Chronicles of Amber, #6)
  • Blood of Amber (The Chronicles of Amber #7)
  • Sign of Chaos (The Chronicles of Amber #8)
  • Knight of Shadows (The Chronicles of Amber #9)
  • Prince of Chaos (The Chronicles of Amber #10)

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“Beyond the River of the Blessed, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Avalon. Our swords were shattered in our hands and we hung our shields on the oak tree. The silver towers were fallen, into a sea of blood. How many miles to Avalon? None, I say, and all. The silver towers are fallen.
…waters,where the stars shone like bonfires at night and the green of day was always the green of spring. Youth, love, beauty-I knew them in Avalon. Proud steeds, bright metal, soft lips, dark ale. Honor…”
“I loved him like a brother - which is to say, not at all.” 0 likes
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