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The Courts of Chaos

(The Chronicles of Amber #5)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  19,927 ratings  ·  348 reviews
Amber, the one real world of which all others – including our own Earth – are but Shadows...

For untold millennia, the cosmic Pattern sustained order in Amber and all the known worlds. But now the forces of Chaos have succeeded in disrupting the Pattern, unleashing destructive forces beyond measure... forces meant to reshape the universe.

To save Amber, Corwin, prince of the
Mass Market Paperback, 189 pages
Published by Avon Books (first published October 1978)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  19,927 ratings  ·  348 reviews

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Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This is the last book of Corwin saga. It has everything you would expect from a conclusion of an epic. Final confrontations, mad villains, good people dying heroic deaths - with Amber itself at the stake.
Basically this is the whole plot: the (still) sane members of royal Amber family desperately try to save their worlds from a total annihilation. All because somebody decided the current state of affairs is so bad it is better to wipe everything off and start from the scratch.

Corwin himself
Stjepan Cobets
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My rating 4.8

The book "The Chronicles of Amber # 5" by Roger Zelazny is a book that reveals many things. Faithful Corwin's companion Ganelon is, in fact, his father Oberon. Now that his father has taken over power, they are preparing for the war with The Courts of Chaos. His father intends to purge a true pattern of blackness that Brand has damaged with the blood of Amber's successor. But there is a great possibility that this attempt is unsuccessful and he sends Corwin to the way through the
Ivana Books Are Magic
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The most perfect ending to the most perfect fantasy saga of all times. Being a bit melodramatic, am I? I reread all the books in the Corwin series, but none as often as The Court of Chaos. I lost count of how many times I have reread this one. Not only did it explain and connected everything nicely, the final novel in the series also manages to be the most beautifully written one. The Court of Chaos have the most poetical passages, I feel. They capture the spirit and the charm of this series ...more
Kristy G. Stewart
May 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Here is where I'll put my opinion on the first five books. As a series, the worldbuilding is amazing, the characters intriguing, and the format is fast-paced. It's interesting to see a book where there are few characters that can claim clean hands, and it makes for a complex storyline.

That said, I sometimes feel like there's a bit too much explaining going on (though the first book does a good job of making the explaining organic). I can't remember how many times the reader hears about the
Graeme Rodaughan
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves to read masterfully written fantasy.
First duty, then liberty shall be the whole of the law.

Corwin, prince of Amber rises to face the threat of existential obliteration of all he holds dear. In the process discovering that his most defining characteristic is duty to others.

Surrounded by tragedy, insanity, and a philosophical raven, Corwin completes a journey I wouldn't wish on anyone.

As usual, Zelazny writes with verve, wit, and wisdom, delivered with an admirable narrative economy that brings to mind Blaise Pascal's famous quote.

Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Back in the days before Mr. Fogerty inspired Mr. Jordan to expand on his observation that the big wheel keeps on turning, and before Mr. Martin went into the field of meteorology, Roger Zelazny produced this series of five terrific books and thereby offered the fantasy fiction field an alternative to Conan pastiches and Hobbit homages. Amber is the true, real, center of the universe, see, and it's a magical kingdom where the king has gone missing and the nine princes and a handful of princesses ...more
Sep 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
The final chapter in the original Amber series ties together all the story threads but leaves plenty of room for sequels. This book is probably the second best in the series (after the first one and perhaps tied with the second one) but won't be enjoyed as a stand-alone.
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Corwin gets a quest and heads to Chaos, and leprechauns and The World Tree, a fitting ending to the first arc of the Amber series, enjoyed all 5 of the novels, onto the second arc now.
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magic, fantasy-world
The ending was bittersweet, and I missed the humour of the previous books, but really, with what was at stake, how could I expect unicorns and rainbows? Oh wait, never mind about the unicorn part… :) On a serious note, it’s a solid read which wraps everything nicely, it’s just that I enjoyed it slightly less than its predecessors.
Aug 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
"Sometimes it's damned hard to tell the dancer from the dance."
- Roger Zelazny, Coruts of Chaos


So, this isn't the bottom of the first five books in the 'Chronicles of Amber'. Actually, of the five books that make up the Corwin cycle (Books 1-5), it might be my favorite (so 3.5 ?). I haven't been impressed by the five enough to rush soon into the Merlin cycle (Books 6-10). I'll probably get there. I own all ten (The Great Book of Amber), but other books from other favorite authors remain unread
Aug 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In some ways, I enjoyed this one, the fifth in the Amber series, the most. The momentum built, the suspense, the twists and turns, the revealing of character traits, truth from lies.

The way Zelazny tells this story is incredibly unique in the manner in which you learn the story, piece by piece, one more part of the puzzle. He kept me interested the whole time, and wanting more. He knows just when to give me more to keep me from getting frustrated and holding back just enough to keep my interest
Kimberley doruyter
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
the battle, the journey and the sadness of passing.
this would seem the natural end of the series, i'm glad it isn't.
Apr 17, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm going to write some general remarks that can serve for books 1-5(the Corwin books) and then break down my thoughts book by book.

Likes: Zelazny is a great world builder... vivid imagery combined with his poetic writing leads to some pretty amazing visuals and really immersed me into these books. He has somewhat of a 70s, intellectual vibe to his prose which I really liked. It was a good combination for me, though I could see how this would irk some readers. There is plenty of political
Mike Jordan
Apr 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
"Sad. It would have been nice to go out with opera - in a big Wagnerian finale beneath strange skies, against worthy opponents - not scrabbling about in a foggy wasteland."

That quote, an excerpt from Chapter 7 in this novel, sums up my thoughts on the final novel in the "Corwin-cycle" of the Chronicles of Amber. Zelazny ventures into a philosphical self-analysis of Corwin's character and motivations as he travels to the Courts of Chaos, but it seems a bit long-winded at times. The transitions

I can't say that the ending of this beloved saga is disappointing but after the previous perfect installment this one feels a bit of a letdown. It contains two of my least favorite things - travel through Shadow and a battle - and they occupy significantly more time than I think they should. Not much happens and whatever happens is not in any way unexpected. Plus I was hit by a major reading slump right in the midst of it and I can't be entirely sure that my waning interest for this novel
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
It took 5 chapters to start Corwin smoking this time :)

The first five books in the Amber series come to a conclusion with this book before Amber is continued with Merlin as the main protagonist. Corwin's boy isn't really introduced here but gets a soft hand-over to his own cycle by bringing him in in several scenes. It is a little bit artificial, but on the other hand it is good that he doesn't appear in a flash in the next book.

The narrative is slower than the previous books, lots of
Erik Erickson
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prose, fiction, scifi, fantasy
"...the Courts of Chaos, a grossly non-Euclidean realm..."

A satisfying and touching finish, despite its uneven start. This last chapter was the best, being a final adventure filled with wonderfully surreal encounters and phenomena.

Some details were probably inspired or borrowed from better-known predecessors. But like King did with The Dark Tower, they are woven together to create a new entity, unique in its own right. And Zelazny's epic must have provided things that became the basis for many
Dec 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic end to a the Corwin Cycle of the Amber books. The characters have deepened amazingly & so much is tied up, yet there is plenty of room for expansion. What a wonderful world. I'm so sorry he never got to fill it in better.

The first 5 books AKA The Corwin Cycle are followed by 5 books in the Merlin Cycle & then Betancourt wrote a prelude; a trilogy & the first book of a duology. IOW, it was supposed to be another 5 books. Unfortunately, the publisher folded after the first
Mary Catelli
This opens with Random demanding that Corwin open the door -- he brought food -- because Corwin is reacting badly to the revelation at the end of Hand, namely that (view spoiler)

More revelations ensue. Who is designated Oberon's heir. What Dara was up to, and who was the warrior who spared Corwin in the Courts of Chaos. What they are going to do about the black road. And the grand conclusion to this series.
Sarah (A French Girl)
May 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
It genuinely was my list favourite from the series, unfortunately. Just not as exciting as the previous imo. Also, I kind of wished Corwin got the throne in the end. Nonetheless, glad to have finished the series.
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have grown quite fond of Amber I have to say. This was a nice conclusion to the first five books, but definitely left more to be desired in further books. I really was not expecting the story to progress the way it did. This is excellent fantasy.
Timothy Boyd
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent fantasy series by one of my top 5 favorite writers. The complex cast of characters and the fast pace of the story pulls you in and sweeps you along for a great read. Very recommended
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Now this is how you conclude a series.

The Courts of Chaos is an interesting book on so many levels. There is a shift in tone from The Hand of Oberon, which is a trick Zelazny employed earlier in the series, but once again I appreciated that immensely. It makes a lot of narrative sense, as The Courts of Chaos are in many ways the foil to Nine Princes in Amber.

The events in the series have proven to be a vehicle of transformation for Corwin's character. In the first book, we followed a man who
3.5 stars

This series should have been one book and at least 200 pages shorter at that. I liked this conclusion to the series even though it dragged at some places (like Sign of the Unicorn or Guns of Avalon). The characters, other than Corwin, were mostly flat with almost zero character development over the five books. But the worldbuilding was amazing with such a wonderful concept at its core.
Ioana Johansson
I have finished the Corwin arc and along the way I had the feeling that this must be what someone experiences on LSD but in written form:)
I've found the story compelling, juvenile, incomplete and strange all around but I have enjoyed it nonetheless.
Aug 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: vintage-sci-fi
I really love the Amber series and this was a satisfactory conclusion in that it gave someone the throne, killed off some people, had battles, and had a lot of resolution. That said, not that strong of book. The traveling through shadow bits are written in such a pointless boring way. I'm still glad I read this series and thankfully this one is quite short, so skim away if needed.
Joe Kraus
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
I’ve been a little hard on the recent volumes of this series, but this one delivers. It’s not just that this one is the climax of the plotting and planning. Nor is it that, given the clear structure of a good-guy/bad-guy showdown, it avoids some of the loose narrative of the third and fourth volumes.

Instead it’s that this one culminates in a profound strangeness. It builds on the unsettling imagery and metaphysics of Amber, taking it to another level of experiential philosophy. This one doesn’t
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
Siblings are at each other's throats, as they try to discover the true culprit in all of the deceptions and plotting. Meanwhile, a force is moving upon Amber, threatening their very existence. Dun dun dunnnnn

The Courts of Chaos was a fast paced, but information dense novel that very neatly and satisfactorally wrapped up the first half of the Chronicles of Amber. I blasted through these novels, and loved every minute of them - I loved the shorter novels, the breakneck pace they brought, the
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the story, the concepts, and the fast-pace of these books. I give the whole series (the Corwin Cycle) four stars. My main complaint is that there are these nine brothers who are all pretty much indistinguishable as characters. Unless you memorize their names and "colors" early on, there is not much to tell one from the other. They all smoke. They are all tempermental. They all want power. They are all good fighters. They all speak with the same mannerisms. (Even when an entire chapter ...more
Jan 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
My expectations were very high for the last book in the series, since I had heard it was one of the best. I was, however, slightly disappointed. The introduction of the courts of chaos in the previous book wasn't really fully developed here, so it felt more like the introduction of a new world, rather than the resolution, or clarification of the world that we had inhabited throughout the series. I felt like a lot of the creatures and characters introduced to us in the book, also, were ...more
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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 ...more

Other books in the series

The Chronicles of Amber (10 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)
  • 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)
“I saw my earlier selves as different people, acquaintances I had outgrown. I wondered how I could ever have been some of them.” 106 likes
“Good-bye and hello, as always.” 72 likes
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