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.
I enjoyed revisiting the first of the Amber novels I once read as a teen again. Prince Corwin's story deserved to be made into an audiobook. I thought the performance was mostly well done with one notable exception: Corwin's brother, Random, should not have been made to sound like a pipsqueak. No Prince of Amber should sound like that.
I have been familiar with Zelazneys work for many years and never fail to appreciate his imagination. The plot keeps racing along and keeps you going. The "find out what happens next" factor is strong.
It's an honestly good start to the series, and does a good job at setting up characters and, even on it's own while it doesn't finish the story arc (of course), it doesn't feel incomplete nor does it feel like there is anything left hanging that needs to be answered right away.
I honestly have a hard time deciding between how the character maneuvers around not knowing details & ability to get information, or just the personality in general of corwin (sp. error)
I personally have no favorite scenes, but have to admit I liked the character building & exploration during the earlier chapters the most.
My interest was held the entire way through it. Got to dislike some characters, and enjoy it for what it was.
Wish to goodness sake that the 'Chronicles of Amber' book (All in one) was released as 1 audiobook download... but it's worth getting all 9 books.
I am new to audible, but i love it so far.
I would listen to it again because I really enjoy the narration the story and the pacing is good. The story is a bit of fantasy a bit of science fiction balanced in a very elegant way.
Corwin of course, I don't want to give away too much but he's the main character and it's told from his perspective. The first person perspective is written really well and I enjoyed getting to know Corwin.
Alessandro Juliani does an amazing job with giving each character their own voice and feel; it made visualizing the whole story very easy and exciting.
I enjoyed the irony, it made me laugh and I really liked the poetic descriptions.
Overall its a really good book narrated beautifully and I would recommend it to anyone.
The book seems very cliche with the main character starting the book with amnesia and a power struggle for the throne but the author has so little character development that I never really felt a reason to root for or care about the main character.
The author should have expanded more and provided more back story. It seems he was trying to create mystery and drama but instead he glosses over main points and leaves quite a bit out. The book was extremely short and could have easily been expanded.
I would have sent the book back and told the author to finish writing the book before trying to get this published.
Almost everything! What in the name of namable things was he thinking with some of his voice characterizations, making Random seem like a refugee from the Revenge of the Nerds?
How I lost 100 million dollars trying to make an unfilmable movie!
Ok, you have to understand, I love this entire series and have done for more than thirty years. Amber is, perhaps oddly, one of those comfort settings I return to from time to time, and each time I am still blown away by the tour de force that Roger Zelazny created in the making of this world and the people who dwell therein. So it was with great pleasure that I found Amber on Audible. I downloaded the first book in the series and sat back to enjoy another visit to a place I always come away the happier for having visited.
Within an hour of beginning, I was gritting my teeth as Juliani's Random, turned into a caricature of a braces-wearing teen ager who happens to hold the keys to the universe came slushing through my headphones. Mr. Juliani is a talented narrator with a wide vocal range to work with. I was dismayed at his handiwork, but I will be giving the Guns of Avalon a go to see if things get better.
Interesting, inventive, good fight scens & you can't guess what's going to happen next. A bit drawn out at times. 1st 5 books have a great performance, but the last 5 are bad.
Great voices that don't meld together :}
Enjoy SF, fantasy, historical fiction, auto/bio works, thrillers, science ... a broad range. Use a Galaxy Note, meaning I use Audible, Kobo and Kindle on the one device. Yep, I love my books.
Yes. It was a great yarn in the 70's, but unlike many similar books, is STILL a great story today. I suspect all outstanding fantasy has this feature, vis Tolkien?
A cross between Lord Fouls Bane, some Robert Jordan, much GRRM, David (but not Leigh) Eddings and ... who knows. Based on my own reading, to say this series is unique would not be an exaggeration
No one scene. Partly because he got right into the story and kept it moving - eg, towards the end of Book 1, RZ covered 3 years in 3 or 4 sentences. Later, several months are handled in a short paragraph. This means every chapter had something fairly major happening. I prefer story 'movement' to say, deep deeeeep characterisation (not to say this was poor - the opposite in fact). If he can use 10 words, he doesn't use 12.
No. However before Chapter 1 had ended, I thought 'Wow!' because the reading was so good. I have heard 30-40 spoken stories as an adult (many on Audible), and some readers are very good. Mr Juliani however is the best I have heard.
Alessandro Juliani's reading deserves extra comment. Roger Zelanzy wrote many sentences as if they were throw-away lines, and Mr Juliani gives the exact intonation to make them impact the way they were written. I suspect this is harder than it sounds, but he gets it spot on, every time, and some are so well done they raise an irrepressible smile. His wide vocalisation skills put him in the top tier of readers.I will now use Mr Juliani as the benchmark against which other readers are marked. If readers are ever marked in the future, I nominate it be done on a scale of 1 to 100, and the unit of measure be the Juliani.
I revisited a number of books this year that I had previously read in my youth. The experiences have been a mixed bag. When I saw The Chronicles of Amber pop up on audible, it brought back fond remembrances and I thought I'd give it a try. Let this review stand as a review of the entire first five books, since they are parts of a whole.
The best fantasy novels, like all of the best novels, explore classic themes in new and revealing ways. I believe The Chronicles of Amber does this. All of Shakespeare's biggest hits are here: "appearance vs. reality," "the question of identity," "the question of madness," etc. The books explore the questions of what's real, what's important, and how should we live. The plot elements are familiar as well; a usurped throne/disputed succession, mistaken/disguised identity, betrayal, hidden motivations, shifting alliances, feigned madness, etc. And yet, it's done well and it all seems new, takes on a life of its own, because Zelazny knows how to write. Corwin is a strong protagonist; I wanted to follow him to Amber myself. His relatives are three dimensional and complex. Backstory and solutions to mysteries are revealed at the perfect pace and all make sense in retrospect. And like any quality fantasy novel, the fantastic elements are both original and archetypal; Julian the hunter leading his hounds through the forest of Arden in pursuit of two men in a Mercedes; Amber, the immortal city, with its labyrinth and its shadow self.
On top of that there is plenty of action and adventure and unexpected twists, and well-written swordfights.
Alessandro Juliani as narrator is masterful. Each character is recognizable and the choice of voices is perfect, I didn't find a single one that didn't fit. I particularly enjoyed Benedict's Robert E. Lee accent. Here is another set of books I won't read again because the narration is far more enjoyable. Juliani was very good in Solaris as well, I will look for more of his work in the future.
Eerily: The book I was reading on my kindle at the same time that I listened to this was "A Soldier of the Great War" by Mark Helprin, and the main character's name was...Alessandro Giuliani.
Zelazny's imagination, clean prose, reflective commentary and occasional humor make this series a perennial treasure. Juliani's narration is superb. At first I felt his voice was a little too high pitched for the Corwin I had created in my mind but that passed quickly. Juliani's ability to specialize unique voices for each character made this series a treat. I like to let 4 or 5 years go between reading/(listening to) this series and Juliani's performance has added a sense of depth to the environment that is quite welcome and will be a pleasure to listen to again in the coming years.
Critique is easy. Being Captain Hindsight is easy to fall into but, it is not a desired end-state for me. that being said, I will keep my, "I wish he would have's" to the absolute minimum. Zelazny's detailed description of the characters' experience while manipulating shadow is at first interesting and upon repeated servings less than satisfying. These shadow manipulation transitions always precede impending action sequences and leave one skimming the text or putting the narration on 1.5x -2x when they come up a 2nd, 3rd and 4th . . . time. For me, that is the end of the downside to this series and fortunately they don't occur frequently.
This is, for me, a defining fantasy series for it's magic system. Also, the main characters in both this and the Merlin Chronicles are easily assimilated into an extension of the reader's persona. Zelazny was very imaginative and his writing is easily digested by this reader. I highly recommend this series to all of those who like fantasy and are looking for something beyond the coming of age hero who struggles with being special, fights a dark force and wins at great victory for the side of good. This series has mature characters, already at peace with their power and the evil they fight to overcome is the same evil that resides in all of us.
Do yourself a favor, if you've never read this series, read it. If this audio performance will be your first introduction to the Corwin Chronicles then you will be well served by Juliani's performance.
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