9780380809066Some years ago, I bought The Great Book of Amber at a used bookstore. The Amber books were one of those books I remember seeing on shelves in used bookstores when browsing for sci fi and fantasy as a kid, but were not ones that I read at the time.

These collection actually contains ten books and I only read the first five, but that first five contains the initial, extended story line of how Corwin saved Amber and possibly the entire known universe from… well, let’s just it’s a complicated plot.

The setting is interesting: the ‘real’ world is Amber and what we know as ‘Earth’ is one of many (limitless?) ‘shadows’ of Amber, some of which were created by the disappeared king of Amber and his many children. There is also the ‘Courts of Chaos,’ which is very poorly described and explained and winds up sounding very much like something from Michael Moorcock (Moorcock and Zelazny were both part of a new wave of British fantasy).

The hero, Corwin, embarks on a swashbuckling journey quest, which is thrilling, but, as you can probably guess, not as engrossing to me as it might have been. There are those who swear by these books. For me, I was totally gripped at the noirish mystery with which opened, with an amnesiac Corwin waking up in a mental hospital on ‘Earth’ and trying to figure out what the heck is going on, but once he learned, it became less interesting to me.

Nonetheless, better writing than most and not sorry I read it.