Nine Princes in Amber is the first of the 10 books that are The Chronicles of Amber; an epic fantasy series written by six-time Hugo Award winning and three-time Nebula Award winning author, Roger Zelazny.
The ten books that make up the series are told in two story arcs: The Corwin Cycle and the Merlin Cycle.
The Audible audio rendition of this classic sci-fi/fantasy series is kicked off by 2012 Audie Award nominee, Alessandro Juliani, who reads the first five books that make up the Corwin Cycle and whose narration vividly brings the world of Amber to life.
Amber is the one real world, of which all others including our own Earth are but Shadows. Amber burns in Corwin's blood. Exiled on Shadow Earth for centuries, the prince is about to return to Amber to make a mad and desperate rush upon the throne.
From Arden to the Pattern deep in Castle Amber which defines the very structure of Reality, Corwin must contend with the powers of his eight immortal brothers, all Princes of Amber. His savage path is blocked and guarded by eerie structures beyond imagining impossible realities forged by demonic assassins and staggering Forces that challenge the might of Corwin's superhuman fury.
©1970 Roger Zelazny (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Full time Dad, Husband, Computer Geek, and Epic Fantasy Book Listener. Not necessarily in that order.
Family w/ Daddy Issues.
Corwin of course
Not too hard, it's not very long.
There are 10 amber books. I read them all as a child, and am enjoying them again in audiobook format. I really loved the series. However, they are very short. 1 credit a piece is wrong. Amber was published as 'the great book of amber' in one large paperback. I'd rather pay 2 or 3 credits for that then 10 credits for the whole series. I got the first three, but sadly, I just cant see spending 10 credits on 10 books that are 7 or 8 hours long. Quality is there, but the value is not.
Yes, The story is good, the author great, and the series compelling
I do like Alessandro's narration, except in one aspect, and it reduced my enjoyment of the book. I have a set of early edition hardcopy books, I have later hardcopy editions, paperback copies, omnibus copies, I have Zelazny's self-narration abridged on casette. In other words, I know this series, I like it and have literally worn out bindings on books. As soon as Audible released this book, I bought it, Guns of Avalon, and Trumps of Doom. The book has lost none of it appeal, and as I said Alessandro's narration is generally OK, but my one complaint questions if Alessandro read the series or was coached by anyone? To give the Future King of Amber (or any Prince of Amber) a "Nasally" voice just didn't seem right!
Not to diminish Alessandro Juliani's narration, or Will Wheaten's in the next arc, but I wish Audible could obtain these books narrated by Roger Zelazny. I know he did abridged versions of all 10 books (I have them on casette) and would even break my policy of avoiding abridged books to obtain Audible versions. I understand Zelasny narrated some of the books in unabridged versions too. I never saw them but would love to hear them!
Roger Zelazny's Amber series is one of the best-written and highly imaginative pieces of fantasy fiction ever written: you might not believe that if you only listen to the audiobook.
Personally speaking, I have nothing against Alessandro Juliani and have no cause to dislike him, but he is not the person to have read this series. This is true for a number of reasons. The first is his vocal timber.
Nine princes in Amber is a first-person narrative, a tale told by an interesting character, Corwin who is a son of the ruling family in a mediaval culture that contains the one true world of which our world is only one of an infinite number of possible shadows. He is over a thousand years old and has spent at least three- to four- hundred of those years as an immortal amnesiac, most often employed as a mercenary. Mister Juliani reads Corwin's voice as his own voice: his base voice. He makes Corwin sound like an accountant.
If that is bad, the voices of peripheral characters in his reading are worse with some of the reader's choices defying logic and so crashing the logic of the story as to be painful. In mister Juliani's mouth, highwaymen sound like Lord Fauntleroy, Oxonian officers retired from the British army sound generically British while Benedict, Corwin's brother, who was raised in the same household as he was, sounds like someone who was born in backwater in Louisiana and is trying to hide it with little success.
I love Zelazny's work, and I think I may well listen to all of the books, and I can say that Mister Juliani reads well and consistently but not convincingly for the material he is reading. It wouldn't be so bad, but every time I listen to a set of passages, I cannot but imagine how things would have been had they been read by someone who could sound more like someone who'd given and taken orders on a battlefield and less like a bearded virgin who was about to ask you about what deductions you wanted to claim.
It felt as though someone were explaining the plot of a series of books to me. Too much happened, and yet not enough. No characters were developed in detail, so that when tragedy befell them or they were saved from the brink of disaster, I did not feel anything for them. There was too much material for one book. I felt as though the author created a world without considering a storyline. I almost feel as though someone should rewrite this, and expand upon it extensively.
I will probably avoid Roger Zelazny's books in the future. I am not sure how he got the sequels to this book published.
The performance was actually quite good, but the book's plot jumped around so much that the narrator's talent was lost. A good book with a quality narrator is a priceless thing. If either of those qualities is missing, it's difficult to judge the other independently.
If I could rearrange the book as I wished, I would have separated everything into several novels. One book would be about the main character's adventures regaining his memory. There would be a much larger section in the sea world and a development of the hero's romance with its queen, culminating in the walk of the path and all of that mystical stuff. Next, I would write a prequel that would explain the history of the hero (instead of having him explain everything in the format of "I remembered..." which got tiresome pretty quickly). This prequel could contain flashbacks of pre-exile-to-Earth Amber, with the main story as the hero's experiences on Earth. This would build a foundation for the hero's relationship with his brothers, and add poignancy to his exile. The next book would be a fantasy war epic, concentrating on developing the hero's forces for an attack on his evil brother. This book would end with his imprisonment. The next book would contain his escape, and probably a lot of what happens in the second book of this series, which I will not find out the plot of because I don't intend to read it.
This book was extraordinarily creative, but it definitely lacked focus. A disappointment.
Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.
I have no idea what the raving about this book is. Non at all. It is immature, childish and inconsistent. I enjoy teenage scifi and fantasy (Harry Potter/Hunger Games/Divergent… even Twilight (errr.. sorry)!) This book is not like that. It is simply very badly written. The characters jump in their speech from “high fantasy English” to “ok, yeah”. Really? This is rated as – Wow by readers?
I guess there is something in the story, otherwise I would have asked for my money back. But it is just so badly written and it terrifies me that this is where literature is going. Read Brandon Sanderson, then you will understand what I am talking about. I was very disappointed, really looked forward to a new series that I could get into. I will not be getting the next book.
One last thing. The narrator did an awesome job. Shame it was such a book, but he was extremely heroic in his attempt to save it.
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