My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I discovered Roger Zelazny from Ran Prieur’s recommended books list (scroll all the way to the bottom). Basically, our Earth and reality is one of many, one of countless Shadow worlds. The one true world is Amber, and there are 9 princes who all claim the throne to it. If this smells like Game of Thrones with a hearty dose of The Dark Tower to you, you have an excellent nose.
The story was simple and straightforward, without too many descriptions which would have made me turn the pages in frustration as I had done with The Lord of the Rings. The characters aren’t very well fleshed out, apart from Corwin (the protagoinst), but honestly I didn’t really care: the action and the scope were so grand and the plot development centered around Corwin, with his own very lucid and personalable narration, so engaging from the very first pages to the very last, that I didn’t miss not finding out too much about the rest of the princes. The problem is that the plot isn’t limited to those very last pages. The first book was a good introduction to the world of Amber and Corwin’s story, the internal plot was resolved, a round and bubbly sigh of optimism was left, but the huge events the book basically hints at are barely even put into motion. I suppose that’s a problem with any series in any medium.
Perhaps the thing I liked the most about Zelazny’s writing was his edge, his cheekiness and willingness to play around with expectations. If the rest of the books set in Amber are in a similar style, I’m in for a treat!