Reviews of Nine Princes in Amber (1970)
Review by bkedryna (2004-03-19)
This is well written, very addictive. The characters are very well introduced. The plot doesn't jump from one person to another, it's all written from the main character's view point. Somehow that makes it very interesting to read.
But it's not as great as some people say. The fantastic magic keeps revealing new super tricks when other options run out. This 'universe' keeps becoming stranger and more unpredictable, and the logic of it isn't explained much.
There are also some paradoxes, like "gunpowder doesn't work in Amber" but matches have no problem working, or a person escapes and practically camps outside the prison for months and no one follows him, or no one knows anything about one of the brothers even though it's a piece of cake contacting him - the main character manages it almost randomly in just a few minutes. There are lots of small things like that, as if the author didn't think it through completely, or didn't think it was important.
Overall - it's a good read, but if you like science fiction, there are many better books out there you should try first. If you mostly like fantasy, you might like this more.
Review by alanhunt (2003-12-16)
While an enjoyable read, Nine Princes in Amber is hardly stellar SF. The science behind the science fiction is poorly defined, and the protagonist falls back time and again on "superhero" skills and "magic" to get him out of scrapes. There are times when you can practically see the little "POW" and "WHAM" bubbles pop out of the page. The plot attempts to be byzantine and complex, but often comes off as muddled and ill-explained.
Review by Avarith (2003-07-05)
Zelazny is one of those authors I keep hearing about, but have never read, until now. I must say, I can see why everyone talks about him - he has a turn of phrase which is quite involving. The style was a bit...ornate I suppose is a good word. The characters were interesting, and the way in which Zelazny makes the narrator both sympathetic and unsympathetic is fun. I also enjoyed the way he melded antique diction with modern phrasing. I enjoyed this book quite a bit, and plan on following this interest up as soon as possible.
Review by Arref (2003-05-06)
This excellent fantasy takes off from page one and never really slows down. The main character tries to discover his own name, his murky background, and who is trying to keep him on ice. It's a classic book that inspired a number of more modern authors and reads like greased lightning. I envy the folks that can read this for the first time.
Review by RomikQ (2003-03-09)
In my opinion, the Amber Chronicles are the best ten fantasy/scifi books ever written. The political interplay, the plot, the writing style - they are all amazing. A must read for anyone who wants a good book.