Jamie's Reviews > The Guns of Avalon

The Guns of Avalon by Roger Zelazny
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Aug 01, 08

Read in January, 2008

Not quite sure what to say about this bit of pulp fantasy from Roger Zelanzy. It's the second in the "Amber" series, the first of which I reviewed here. To recap a bit, there's this guy named Corwin and he's one of the princes of the city of Amber, which is a kind of Platonic ideal city that casts reflections into a multitude of alternate realities. Royalty like Corwin and his siblings can travel between these alternate realities and thus travel to alternate universes at different times and places. They're also all usually vying for control of the great city of Amber, because ruling that is supposed to be REALLY classy and the thing to do.

At the close of the last book and the opening of this one, Amber is being ruled by Corwin's brother Eric, and Corwin has just escaped imprisonment and blinding --don't worry, he got better. He enacts a plan to retake Amber by finding a substitute for gunpowder, which because of some nonsensical plot device won't ignite within the city. But first he kills some demons, beds a wench, conquers some dudes, and beds another wench.

So far these books are okay --not great, but okay for a kind of quick read between other stuff. Zelanzy's style is easy to read and the plots zip along without any filler. It's mostly action with only the occasional bloated description of what it's like to travel between alternate realities or engage in some kind of magical battle of wills. In fact, at some points it's downright manic and I can barely keep up with what's going on.

The books are also episodic in nature, largely devoid of the standard structure of a stand alone novel and instead inviting us to dive right in to the next one to see the rest of the saga. Maybe I'll view the big picture differently if I ever get through the whole "Corwin Cycle," which consists of 5 books total, or the whole Amber series, which consists of 5 more after that. But for now they're just little diversions.
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