Thursday, December 13, 2012

amber ii

The Great Book of Amber is a FAT book, boy. 10 books; 1258 pages. As I speculated in my earlier review of the first five books in this tome, the second five books were also episodic in nature and focused around a different character than the first five.

I found this map online. Looks French but I couldn't trace its origins.

Roger Zelazny did a good job on the second group of books as well, weaving another complex and character driven epic about good vs. evil, with an original take that both leaned on the first five stories and departed from them as well. Zelazny has produced two, compelling and exciting stories from the same Amber universe, without any warming-over of the storylines. Nicely done.

Some of the larger mysteries from the first five-book tale, were explained in the second, but not all of the explanations were great. Some mysteries are better left as a mystery, in my opinion. I'm not saying that Zelazny's explanations of some of the larger forces in Amber are quite as bad as the Midi-chlorians, but the fact that it reminds me of George Lucas's less-than-excellent explanation of the Force, should give you an idea how I felt when reading the last five books of Amber at certain points.

Zelazny took a break between the first and last five books of about 7 years; the last five were written between 1985 and 1991. In between, he wrote the Changeling Saga, which consisted of two books. Zelazny won a bunch of awards for his writing,--Hugos, Nebulas, etc.--and he wrote a lot of science fiction and fantasy stuff, so there is a lot out there to read, from 7 short stories based in the Amber universe, to posthumous publications of some of his earlier, unpublished works. According to Wikipedia, Zelazny died in 1995.

The Chronicles of Amber currently ranks 28th on the list. But don't listen to them, listen to me.

Read this book.

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