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The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10 (Chronicles of Amber) Paperback – March 30, 2010
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Corwin is a prince of Amber, the "immortal city from which every other city has taken its shape." All other worlds, including Earth, are shadows of that reality. Corwin has spent centuries on Earth as an amnesiac. But when someone in the family tries to kill him there, Corwin begins a search for his past. He quickly learns that his family has some very unusual powers. They can travel between Amber, its shadows, and Chaos by manipulating reality; use magical playing cards to communicate and travel instantaneously; and are able to walk the Pattern that created Amber. Corwin regains his memory, solves the mystery of his father Oberon's disappearance, and fulfills his destiny--only to disappear into Chaos.
Merlin searches for Corwin and his destiny as a son of both Amber and the Courts of Chaos. His story parallels Corwin's, answering many questions about Amber, Chaos, and the next generation in the family.
Many readers have complained that the series goes on too long and the ending is disappointing. None, however, would deny that it's filled with fascinating ideas, complex characters, and action-adventure. Don't miss a chance to make up your own mind. --Nona Vero
From Library Journal
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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I hated the writing. It was a weird mix of very formal and informal speech. A lot of the dialogue came off awkwardly. Especially at the beginning when Corwin is trying to get information from his family. The first person descriptions don't fare much better. I can still remember the line where Corwin takes his brother hostage, tells him to get into the car and the next sentence is "he does this thing and I take his sword".
If you haven't read this book as a kid and you want to know if you should give it a shot. I'd say only do it if you don't read many modern fantasy books or aren't naturally a critical reader. Or maybe if you're a huge fan of 80s fantasy novels.
The first five books, the classic Amber series, is as good as ever I remember.
The first of the Merlin books...okay, not bad. But things got much worse afterwards. The last four books are some of the worst plotted, most lackluster Zelazny writing I've ever slogged through. Some of his classics -- Jack of Shadows, Creatures of Light and Darkness, A Rose For Ecclesiastes -- are very short indeed, and I think he did his best work at that length. The Merlin books leave plot threads hanging all over the place, and then just...end. The whole set of five Merlin books has the feel of something Zelazny was contracted to do, and he had to write them to get someone off his back. Closest to crap he ever wrote. Terribly disappointing.
At the price, worth it to have the five Corwin books.
His imagination had no bounds and this it one of his very best.
We loved it when he was writing each of the ten books contained in this volume.
I still reread it again and again. I am no sure if the Amber series or Lord of Light is my favorite choice of his work. Everything he ever published has been wonderful.
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The book itself was in bad shape. I have no idea if all of them are like it or whether it was damaged in shipping (as many seem to be lately), but just to warn others, the side of the pages seems stained with green and blue ink that has run. A picture is attached. Not a nice look at all I feel, and quite disappointing.
If you are willing to overlook this, then 15 quid for a 10 book omnibus is pretty good value.
Without giving too much away, the second series brings in a fair few new ideas - ranging from high politics in the Courts of Chaos to where to find a good fish dinner in the downmarket parts of Amber. It also brings some of the supporting actors more into the spotlight (well, most of them were in Shadow before). If I have one complaint about the second series - and the only reason this isn't a five-star review - it's that Merlin seems to rely a lot on deus-ex-machina interventions to get him out of trouble. I'm sure his father (and his aunts and uncles for that matter) would have used a bit more forethought.
To sum up: if you haven't read the Amber stories, go ahead and buy this. Sometimes it's brilliant, and even when it isn't it is still very good.
The chance to get both series in one volume was wonderful, and though I still have some of the first paperbacks, kept mainly because I loved the covers, having all the books under one roof, as one might say, is magic.
I love science fiction and some fantasy, including Roger Zelazny's other works, but this series is truly special.