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

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  7,874 ratings  ·  138 reviews
Amber is the one real world, casting infinite reflections of itself - shadow worlds, which can be manipulated by those of royal Amberite blood. But the royal family is torn apart by jealousies and suspicion; the disappearance of the patriarch Oberon has intensified the internal conflict by leaving the throne apparently for grabs; and amnesia has robbed Corwin, Crown Prince ...more
Paperback, Fantasy Masterworks #6, 772 pages
Published 2003 by Gollancz (first published January 1st 1978)
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Dan Schwent
Nine Princes in Amber: Mr. Corey wakes up in a hospital after a car accident with no memory of who he is. After visiting his sister (and fooling her into thinking he still has his memory), he crosses dimensions with his brother Random and eventually regains his memory after walking the Pattern in the city of Rebma, the sister city of Amber. From there, he joins up with his brother Bleys and attacks Amber, intent on stopping his brother Eric from crowning himself king.

Nine Princes in Amber is rea
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
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
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Review of Nine Princes in Amber

This is a tough book to summarize. Let’s just say that Mr. Corey wakes up with amnesia after a nasty car crash and sets out to recover his memory and then to take back what he sees as his.

Starting this was a leap of faith. Corey tells the story and since he doesn’t know anything about what’s going on, neither do we. He’s confused, we’re confused, and I for one was left wondering if it was worth the effort to continue on. Luckily, I decided that since I’d heard so
David Dalglish
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
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
It is more than the sum of its parts. That description really fits with the first Amber Chronicles. Each book, on its own, was to me a four-star. They were all very enjoyable (and addicting) but they don't really stand on their own. But by the time you put all five together, you have one hell of a great story that deserves no less than 5 stars.

I've heard great things about the Amber series for years, and I finally broke down and tried them. I sure am glad that I did. I can see that this will be
Robert Kroese
I was first exposed to Roger Zelazny’s Amber books when I was in college. I’m sure I was trying to avoid reading Plato’s Republic or Machiavelli’s The Prince at the time. Whatever the reason for picking up the book, I still remember the thrill I got from the first few chapters of Nine Princes in Amber, where the hero wakes up in a hospital with amnesia and gradually comes to discover who he really is: a Prince of Amber, the one true world, of which all other worlds (including Earth) are merely s ...more
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
Alexandra Son
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
This is more of a middle-of-the-road 2.5 rather than a 2/5.

This, after Leiber's Nehwon series, is another fantasy classic which I just can't appreciate nor recommend.

I think the biggest problem with these books is that Zelazny decided to tell the story from the perspective of a single character. Corwin isn't a bad protagonist, but the problem is that his initial amnesia (not a big spoiler, so keep those pitchforks away) forces at least a third of the entire span of these books to be exposition.
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
"The First Chronicles of Amber" collects "Nine Princes in Amber", "The Guns of Avalon", "Signs of the Unicorn", "The Hand of Oberon" and "The Courts of Chaos" - the first arc of Roger Zelazny's epic saga centering on Amber, the only place that REALLY exists, but which casts infinite shadows, including one called Earth.

These five stories follow Corwin, who awakes in a mental hospital with no memory of how he got there or even his name, but who slowly recovers to learn that he is a member of the r
B.B. Shepherd
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
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
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
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
Zack Stackurski
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Interesting, but not my favorite from this author. I felt like I was pushing myself to finish the books just to see how it all ended up.
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
Jakub Nowak
The test of time has been passed, I am happy to say. I have read the first and third (due to library inventory) part of the series some time ago and enjoyed them quite nicely from what I remember but they appeared a bit short. This time it was better as there was more at one time and the story really unveils across more books. The series a great mix of action, philosophy and a very interesting world. The only thing that got a bit tedious were the descriptions of the travels through Shadow. At th ...more
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
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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 d ...more
More about Roger Zelazny...

Other Books in the Series

The Chronicles of Amber (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Nine Princes in Amber
  • The Guns of Avalon (Amber Chronicles, #2)
  • Sign of the Unicorn
  • The Hand of Oberon
  • The Courts of Chaos
  • Trumps of Doom
  • Blood of Amber
  • Sign of Chaos
  • Knight of Shadows
  • Prince of Chaos
Nine Princes in Amber The Great Book of Amber (The Chronicles of Amber, #1-10) Lord of Light The Courts of Chaos The Guns of Avalon (Amber Chronicles, #2)

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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…”
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