While I love the Amber Chronicles, I have to give low marks to this particular volume. It is full of typos and misprints. So many it drove me nuts while reading it. To top it off it's such a huge paperback that it is actually unwieldy.
For myself, I've actually gone back to the individual books. Fewer printing errors and easier to handle.
Given all of that, I *strongly* encourage you to read these stories. Zelazny writes like no other. They're fun and whimsical, with something of an edge to them. Strongly recommended, just not in this edition.
Will T. (nimbleninja) reviewed The Great Book of Amber (Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10) on
Helpful Score: 1
The ten volumes of the Chronicles Of Amber were published between 1970 and 1991, comprising Roger Zelaznys most famous work. Roger Zelazny died in 1995 at the age of 58, but in the time that he was here, he produced a body of work that will stand the test of time for generations to come. The Chronicles Of Amber, in my opinion, was his crowning achievement and a testament to his power to create poetic prose that rivals the classics. The Great Book Of Amber, published by Avon Books, contains the complete Amber Chronicles, volumes 1-10.
Amber is the one true world, all others beings shadows of Amber itself. Each member of the royal family of Amber has the power to manipulate Shadow, creating and traveling through alternate realities. The story begins with one such family member, Prince Corwin, as he tries to regain his memory, find out who is after him, and fight to gain control of Amber itself.
Zelazny brings a wealth of depth and believability to the characters. Several brothers and sisters, each with alliances and feuds among themselves, create the ultimate dysfunctional family. For all intents and purposes, the family members are immortal, with their sire Oberon literally a god who created Amber and everything around it.
Each family member has a deck of cards, called Trump Cards. Each card contains a portrait of a family member. The cards allow communication with anyone on the card that they are holding at the time. The cards also allow direct passage from where the holder of the card is located, to the location of the person on the card. They are used frequently during the series and are essential to the plot since traveling through Shadow leaves out the possibility of any other form of communication between the royal family.
As we get to know Corwin, he wakes in a hospital bed on Earth in the 20th Century with no memory of who he is or how he got there in the first place. As he slowly regains his memory over time, we are introduced to his past and to each character involved in his life, whether enemy or ally. We find out how Shadow is controlled, manipulated, and used by these god-like beings. The descriptions on the page come alive as Corwin walks, drives, or travels on horseback, slowly changing his surroundings piece by piece, thus literally traveling through dimensions to get from one world to another.
The alliances forged and broken by Corwin with his brothers and sisters leads to an ultimate showdown with Amber as the prize. Zelazny places every detail where it needs to be and paces his epic with just the right amount of tension, action, humor, politics, and sadness.
The Great Book Of Amber is not just a great read, its an experience that needs to be savored. I try to read the series every few years and have recommended it to many people along the way. Amber is a complete world, with history, people, places, and a level of detail and vividness that has not shown its age even after all these years. If you enjoy reading epic fantasy and arent afraid of a little modern technology thrown in for good measure, then I highly recommend Roger Zelaznys The Great Book Of Amber to add to your reading pile.
Jessica H. (blondie76) - , reviewed The Great Book of Amber (Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10) on
There is no way to describe this series other than READ IT! It's has fantasy, mystery, and philosophy (and so much more) all rolled into one series. I've read many books in my lifetime and never knew a book could be this good.