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Nine Princes in Amber

(The Chronicles of Amber #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  56,691 ratings  ·  2,067 reviews
Amber, the one real world, wherein all others, including our own Earth, are but Shadows. Amber burns in Corwin's blood. Exiled on Shadow Earth for centuries, the prince is about to return to Amber to make a mad and desperate rush upon the throne. From Arden to the blood-slippery Stairway into the Sea, the air is electrified with the powers of Eric, Random, Bleys, Caine, an ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 175 pages
Published March 1986 by Avon (first published 1970)
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Alex It is now! The estate finally got things worked out, and the money is going to the family.…more
It is now! The estate finally got things worked out, and the money is going to the family.

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No, it would be no problem at all! I'd be happy to respond to the first draft of your new fantasy novel.

Lets start with the good: I enjoyed your method of immersing the reader in your fantasy world. The protagonist's case of amnesia makes it so he must learn all the same things the reader needs to know. Protagonist Corwin regains his memory gradually, creating a sense of mystery throughout the first hundred pages that is quite entertaining.

Then. . . well, you lost me. I mean, it's so eso
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I will make it brief. This series is the first of the two reasons 75% of the books I read are fantasy. Howard's Conan was the second reason. Thus the rating for this book and all following is 5 stars, period.

Do you really want the longer version? Even if you do not here it is. An unnamed guy woke up from drugged stupor in a hospital. His mental abilities were good enough to realize he was kept under drugs. He escaped and managed to acquire the address of a woman who placed him there - supposedl
Man, all the good stuff has been said to let me be brief:

OVERALL FEELING: One of my favorite fantasy pieces; sort of starts out as a PI man who lost his memory and has to figure out that he's the prince of another world.

CONCEPT: What if Gods who looked like people created this world and all the other worlds through their Godly thoughts? And what if their father disappeared and there was a fight for the throne which shook all the worlds? And what if this Godly war led to doorways being opened wh
Mike (the Paladin)
See my review under the one volume (omnibus) of my favorite series. This is another classic that ought to be called a classic!


I read this one first...back when. It was in the 1970s. I have since grown a bit, aged quite a bit and...possibly even matured a little. I still love these books. I have also discovered audio books (this too happened some years ago and has been detailed elsewhere. My wife became very ill and was bed fast a long time, she also came to the point where she r
Aug 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, fantasy
All roads lead to Amber..

Nine brothers fight for the inheritance left behind by the disappearance of their father. The ultimate prize is the throne of Amber, the one real world, of which all other worlds are mere shadows and reflections.

Nine Princes of the Amber is an interesting fantasy introduction with an intriguing concept. I really enjoyed reading the early parts, where the prince Corwin wakes up in a hospital on Earth with no memory of his past. I expected a more traditional fantasy when p
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Zelazny Freaks Regulars buddy read with my fellow Freaks Regulars Evgeny, Choko, Eilonwy, Elena and Lee Who Just Came Back from the Dead

Pre-review rating: 3.33567458 stars.
Post-review rating: 3 stars. Because I'm barbarous like that.

Okay, let's get something out of the way real quick: yes, this is everyone and their barnacle's mostest favoritest fantasy series ever, and the one that, in most cases, introduced them to the genre, and the one that inspired countless fantasy writers. It also ha
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
*** 4 ***

"...“I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows.” ..."

Nine Princes in Amber is the first installment in a series of 10 rather shortish books. They are divided into 2 arcs and the first one is told from Corwin’s perspective, while the next set make his son's story the main event. Although we see the happenings from this family
Jun 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
What a weird, weird book.

Nine princes in Amber begins with the protagonist, Corwin, waking up in an hospital room, with no memories of himself or his past.
Soon after that he realizes he's been drugged for days and flees the building, meanwhile collecting bits of informations about his former life.
Within a few chapters he learns he's one of the nine living princes of Amber, the only true world (of which every other world is but a Shadow. Literally.) and that this makes him basically a god.
Ivana Books Are Magic
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I remember, like it was yesterday, the moment I picked up this book in a library. Only it wasn't yesterday, it was about 15 years ago, but what is time when you're in love. I did fall in love with this series. Having read this book for the first time all that time ago, my initial reaction was a very favourable one. I thought this novel was absolutely mind-blowing. My thoughts today? They’re pretty much the same, in all honesty I can say that my original impression never really changed. If anythi ...more
Dec 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
currently reading for the September 2009 read for the Zelazny group. Wow! It's still a fantastic read after all these years. That's amazing.

I re-read this every 5 years or so. It's the start to one of the best series I've ever read. Zelazny is a super writer & this book started a series that has spawned a lot of other books. There are 4 other books that follow this one with Corwin as the hero, then Zelazny did another 5 about Corwin's son, Merlin. Gregory Betancourt is up to book 4 (let's hope t
Graeme Rodaughan
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who admires tremendous imagination
Tolkien, Feist, Erikson - and Zelazny - all masters of epic fantasy, possessed of towering imaginations allied with the authorial skills to honor their visions.

Just finished what I estimate to be my 6th re-read of this book. It's still fresh, still gripping, still enthralling. I never tire of this tale of Corwin, prince of Amber. Lost to amnesia, thrown back into a multiverse of plotting princes and princesses who if not actively stabbing each other in the back will pause to gossip about the sta
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
"If danger was the price of memory and risk the cost of opportunity, then so be it. I'd stay."
- Roger Zelazny, Nine Princes in Amber


Let me throw my biases out in front. I am not a fan of fantasy. I have a sister-in-law who reads a lot of fantasy and has shelves and shelves of elves and elves and I mock her almost to tears about it. I view a lot of the genre filled with derivative crap. But, I have found a couple gems. I loved Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, White's The Once and Future King, and
Jun 30, 2021 rated it liked it
Ron Burgundy, Brian Fantana, Brick Tamland and Champ Kind are riding in the RV with cruise control on and discussing Nine Princes of Amber by Roger Zelazny.

Ron: Odin’s beard! That was some high fantasy.

Brian: Or was it urban fantasy? Zelazny does reference aspects of our world so maybe it’s not exactly high fantasy.

Brick: Low fantasy then?

Champ: Whammy!

Ron: Medium high fantasy then. I liked the princes on the cards, reminded me of trading cards – did I ever tell you I have some rather important
Jul 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
When I was a teenager (long ago in a country far, far away), I read Roger Zelazny's wonderful Amber series from start to finish in one huge gulp. Unfortunately, since then, the Amber books have only been in print as one big doorstop edition -- not the type of thing my 8th graders would pick up to read readily.

Imagine my eyes when my wife dragged me to an antique store here in Maine (OK, "junk" store) and I wandered into the used paperback books section and found 8 out of the 10 original paperbac
A guy wakes up in a hospital, sure he doesn’t belong there but unable to remember anything about himself. A combination of luck and sharp thinking brings him back into contact with his family -- a group of backstabbing double-crossers all in competition for the throne of Amber, the only Real city in the universe. (Everywhere else, including Earth as we know it, is but Shadow.) Naturally our hero wants the crown for himself. But getting it is going to require real struggle, real sacrifice, and al
That was kind of a fun-ish romp. It wasn’t as great as I expected it to be, even though the writing style is one I very much like. Even so, as short as this novel is (155p) I felt it kind of dragged for long sections where nothing much happened. In a few spots there was too much exposition that didn’t move the plot along.

I’m not sure I liked Corwin very much. He was quite resourceful and much more humane (haha!) than his brothers. I won’t continue with the series right now, but the novels are s
Nandakishore Mridula
There must be some bad chemistry between Roger Zelazny and I. I read his award-winning novel Lord of Light and was seriously underwhelmed. I explained why in my review, but still got pasted for bad-mouthing an American classic from an Indian viewpoint. Anyone interested in seeing the roasting I got can visit the comment thread on my review of that book.

I thought well, maybe I have been less than fair: this gentleman being one of the greats in the field of SF and fantasy, I should give him anothe
Stjepan Cobets
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fan of Fantasy and SF
My rating 4.8

The book "Nine Princes in Amber (The Chronicles of Amber # 1)" by Roger Zelazny, is not without reason, classic science fiction and fantasy. The story and the world in which the action is happening is not easy to describe because there is as much shadow as Amber. Amber is the main and only city and all other shadows and even the Earth. Maybe ten years I have this book in my library, but I did not start reading, too many books, and too little time. But this is what I'm up to now and
Kat  Hooper
Apr 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Originally Posted at FanLit.

“I’d get what I needed and take what I wanted and I’d remember those who helped me and step on the rest. For this, I knew, was the law by which our family lived, and I was a true son of my father.”

When Corwin wakes up in a private hospital after driving his car over a cliff, he has no idea who he is. When he realizes that he has healed too fast and that he’s being drugged so he’ll stay unconscious, he decides that he better find out what’s going on.
The truth is strang
Sep 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
I hate, hate, HATED this book. I hate this series, but at least the other books are better than this horrendous beginning.

Nothing in this book makes any sense. The system of magic (if there is one) has no parameters or rules--one minute the prince can travel between worlds in a car that he can also change around at will, the next he can't do anything, the next he's walking through doors drawn in the walls, the next he's doing something else weird and nonsensical.

The only motive anyone has in th
Kimberley doruyter
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
wow, i don't think anyone ever regrets picking this book up.
it's just so good
Dec 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a review of Les Trois Mousquetaires, where I argued that it was the spiritual father of the modern French trash novel. Since then, I've been having three parallel discussions with my wife, Jordan and notgettingenough about what it is that makes something into a trash novel. Three out of the four of us incline to the view that it's the quality of being mass-produced; a trash novel is one that has been hastily constructed according to an existing formula, with a min ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Good:
Zelazny’s writing is brilliant. He makes it so easy to just fall into the story, no matter how bizarre the setting. The setting here is the ‘Amberverse’ (I’m sure there is a better or at least more official name for it) and our own universe is a very small part of it. The kind of magic at work in this setting is the type that allows immensely powerful people to warp reality with their thoughts, yet still allows them to have car accidents and get beaten up by a bunch of regular thugs. So
Jenny (Reading Envy)
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Scott Danielson
Add this to the list of fantasy series and authors I had never read. I picked up a volume that includes this book and the next one, from a used book store in Georgetown, SC that has since burned down along with most of the downtown.

Luckily, I had rescued this book by purchasing it from the obscure science fiction and fantasy corner in the attic, along with a Catherynne Valente. It has a child's bookplate with a unicorn in the inside front cover, and this really made it feel like a living book!

4.o stars. Excellent novel that, despite its age, retains much of its originality and all of its fun. A pioneer among the novels involving the "multiverse," this story portrarys multiple dimensions (or multiuple realities) in fantasy rather than science fiction terms.

Corwin, an immortal and powerful (think god-like) prince of Amber awakes in a hospital with no memories of who he is or how he got there. He quickly escapes and comes to learn that he is heir to the throne of Amber (the one true wo
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-read-again
I read this series in college and loved it. Lots of the other computer science people were reading it, too.
Caro the Helmet Lady
I'll be honest with you - on second reread I couldn't care less about the battle scenes. All these pointless wars... Other than that I still liked the story and Zelazny's writing. Good old Amber and its shadows, so good to be back! ...more
Jul 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: old-school-scifi
Well. If a Bookshelf/tag was ever a perfect description, then 'oldschool scifi' is it.

A solid 3.5 stars, (I wonder why GR has refused to listen for all these years on half star ratings?)

This is the second read of this story for me. The first was over 25 years ago and was when I was just getting into fantasy. I kind of liked it, but rushed through it and never picked up book 2. To be honest, I can't actually remember finishing it, so it was probably a dnf.

My second read through, found me older,
This was my second encounter with the work of the renowned SFWA Grand Master Roger Zelazny, and I was much less enchanted by it than I was by his winsome, enjoyably macabre A Night in the Lonesome October. I will say that this novel provides moments of a sort of tough-minded, ironic poetry, and it’s clear that he had a rich imagination, and a welcome willingness to experiment with style and anachronisms. I just never really cared all that much what would happen to the narrator, Corwin, or to his ...more
This was a great short fun adventure fantasy. I particularly enjoyed the dialogue in the first half of the book. The banter was witty and quick and full of laughs. I thought it was an interesting world complete with an interesting family and set of characters. I very much liked the protagonist and was rooting for him even when he didn't know what he was trying to do. There were lots of surprises which I always appreciate. I'm not sure I see where the next books are going and I'm not sure I'll ju ...more
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Readers also enjoyed

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  • The Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #1)
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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)
  • 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)
  • Хрониките на Амбър, втори том (Хрониките на Амбър, #4-7)

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“I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows.” 516 likes
“I walked among Shadows, and found a race of furry creatures, dark and clawed and fanged, reasonably manlike, and about as intelligent as a freshman in the high school of your choice-sorry, kids, but what I mean is they were loyal, devoted, honest, and too easily screwed by bastards like me and my brother. I felt like the dee-jay of your choice.” 18 likes
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