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The Chronicles of Amber

(The Chronicles of Amber #1-5 )

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  10,607 ratings  ·  231 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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Average rating 4.37  · 
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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
طارق (Tarek)
Jul 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
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)
Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 (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
Andrew CS T
Nov 01, 2015 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
Aug 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nine Princes of Amber: 2
The Guns of Avalon: 2
Sign of The Unicorn: 4
The Hand of Oberon: 4
The Courts of Chaos: 2... 3... I don't know.
Alexandra Son
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 easi
Mar 04, 2012 rated it liked it
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 setting, one where there is a central universe and numerous others that are mere shadows cast by that one- our universe being
Matt Williamson Williamson
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Robert Kroese
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Nine Princes in Amber - 4 stars
The Guns of Avalon - 3 stars
Sign of the Unicorn - 2.5 stars
The Hand of Oberon - 4.5 stars
The Courts of Chaos - 3.5 stars
Nov 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: dnf
Page 360 abandoned
So I read parts 1 and 2, and I'm around halfway, but I don't want to do it anymore.
I found the first book kind of slow, but it started to get more interesting near the end, so I thought it was just a slow start to set up the whole story. Part 2 went back to slow again and dragged most of the way through.

I'm thinking either I'm not compatible with old fantasy, or compared to modern fantasy it's not very good. I did really like a few elements of this book, the writing style was
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.
B.B. Shepherd
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
"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
Douglas Milewski
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The First Chronicles of Amber were like nothing in the 1970's fantasy market, and they've pretty much stayed their way. More a serial than a novel, the book follows the "adventures" of Lord Corwin, a prince of Amber, the only "real" place in the world. With no irony, this was the original game of thrones.

These books aren't refined literature. The sentences are not pretty. The sentiments are not politically correct. The prose has all the refinement of 50 grit sandpaper. If you like quality prose,
Radu Stanculescu
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cluj, fantasy
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
Apr 30, 2011 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
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
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Zack Stackurski
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I went and did it. You have my report on "Nine Princes in Amber". Since I had the rest of the book, which is the entire Corwin series, and a little time I thought I'd taste the second book. That was a huge mistake, I was hooked, and now, 600 pages later I am left with the problem of reviewing it. As the hero travels through reality and shadow where anything can and does happen ( Corwin meets the book's author on page 502) the saga can hardly be described by anything shorter than itself.

Kaitlyn Weiss
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing world. Multitude of world you can dive head first, to be correct. Curious and non-conventional world building and magical system. I think of Amber as a standart for all fantasy worlds. You read and believe that that can be true for real. Magic acts according to clearly defined rules. Jumps from a world to a world. And a path of a protagonist feels real. He is growing and changing from one book to another. I can recommend Amber Chronicles as an outstanding epic fantasy.
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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

Other books in the series

The Chronicles of Amber (1 - 10 of 11 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 Chronicles of Amber #4)
  • 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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