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Nine Princes in Amber Audiobook

Nine Princes in Amber: The Chronicles of Amber, Book 1

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Publisher's Summary

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.

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  •  
    Carrie Turner Salt Lake City, UT United States 04-19-14
    Carrie Turner Salt Lake City, UT United States 04-19-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Great book, won't finish series"
    Would you listen to Nine Princes in Amber again? Why?

    Yes, I really liked the book a lot. I would like to finish the series; however, there are a lot of short books. When you have to buy 10 short books for the full price of 10 books the price is bad.

    Great book, but for my book dollar I will move somewhere else.


    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 03-23-16
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 03-23-16 Member Since 2011
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    "A Classic that Holds Up"
    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I listened to this many years ago as it was read by the author. He lacks the capacity for multiple voices that Juliani brings to it, but I think that's all to the good. Juliani gives each brother a different accent, often exaggeratedly so. Zelazny made them all run together. Everyone sounded the same, in an almost bored, been-there manner. If that meant less artistry, it also meant a truer interpretation of the work. These guys are virtually interchangeable in their cruelty, and I think that was part of what Zelazny was after. Characterizing them like this dampens the noir foundation of the books.


    Any additional comments?

    I’m came back to this one after 20 years, and after it had grown in my memory as one of the best fantasy novels I’d ever read. The good news: this absolutely holds up. If you don’t know Amber, then put it on your list. It’s an accomplishment right up there with anything in the genre.

    It’s particularly rewarding to revisit the book in the wake of George R.R. Martin’s recent success. I can see a good bit of Martin’s vision growing out of Zelazny’s. As I read them, they are the two most successful fantasy series to take place in, essentially, amoral universes. Neither gives us anyone who really comes across as a “good guy.” Neither privileges the point-of-view character(s) as somehow better than his or her rivals. Corwin may develop some compassion, but he is still generally indifferent to mortal suffering. He may feel bad about sacrificing a quarter of a million “shadow dwellers” in the service of his ambition, but he never lets it ruin his day.

    The central difference between Martin and Zelazny, though, is that Martin’s moral neutrality comes from a sense of realpolitik, a post-Cold War sensibility in which all sides are capable of harming others. Zelazny’s comes from an older, hardboiled sentiment: the world is cold and indifferent, and everyone is ultimately a son-of-a-bitch. Once you embrace that foundational truth, you can have a lot of fun.

    And this is fun. If it isn’t as sprawling as Martin’s work, it’s much more efficient. (The first five Amber novels combined are probably not much longer than the first Game of Thrones book.) It begins as an almost conventional noir story: an amnesiac wakes to discover he’s being drugged against his will in a private “hospital.” We learn his history at the same time he does. It turns out to be a huge history, one that implicitly stands at the heart of many of the mythologies we know in the West. Corwin and his siblings have been interfering in Earthly affairs for centuries, yet we humans can glimpse them only in shadowy form and cannot hope to comprehend what their one true world of Amber looks like.

    You’ll know whether the genre interests you. If it does, give this one a shot. It’s short, adrenaline-fueled, and can stand alone. If you get hooked, though, there’s a lot more where it came from, and you’ll introduce yourself to one of the real masters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    peter 12-10-14
    peter 12-10-14 Listener Since 2010
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    "great story well read but OVER PRICED"

    will not be buying the rest of the series until it becomes better value for money

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jefferson 05-01-14
    Jefferson 05-01-14 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

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    "I Loved Amber in High School, But Now. . ."

    The first person narrator of Roger Zelazny's Nine Princes in Amber (1970) wakes up in a hospital without knowing who he is or how he came to be there. He does know that he's been being kept in a drugged sleep, so he feigns unconsciousness, takes out a thuggish orderly, threatens the doctor in charge, and, finally learning from him that his "sister" checked him into the hospital, heads off in a taxi for her home in NY. Thus begins his quest for identity and memory, which occupies the first half of the novel. By concealing his amnesia, acting as if he's considering his next move in some game of power, and examining every clue, he soon learns that his name is Corwin, that he is a prince of a place called Amber ("the key to everything"), and that his Machiavellian kin (eight brothers and at least four sisters) feel little kinship for each other: "I'd get what I needed and take what I wanted, and I'd remember those who helped me and step on the rest. For this, I knew, was the law by which our family lived." But how can he return to Amber, and what is the family game that stranded him memoryless on earth?

    I remembering loving the first Amber cycle when I was in high school, painfully waiting for the fifth book to be published in 1978 so I could find out how Corwin's saga ends. Revisiting Nine Princes of Amber thirty-five years later, I still find good things in it. Zelazny's conception of Amber as the only real place, the one true substance from which all other cities and worlds, including earth, are "but a reflection of a shadow," is intriguing, as is his depiction of traveling through the Shadow worlds by mentally adding and subtracting features till you arrive at Amber. He tells a page-turning story. His strategy of having Corwin reveal early on that he's telling his tale as he is about to die somehow somewhere in the future is neat. There are some nice lines, like "As I sailed into Shadow, a white bird of my desire came and sat upon my right shoulder." And as he exploits the internecine machinations of a dysfunctional super-powered family, Zelazny explores the ways in which hatred shapes the world, partly through the filter of the Vietnam War: "I walked among Shadows, and found a race of furry creatures, dark and clawed and fanged, reasonably man-like, and about as intelligent as a freshman in the high school of your choice--sorry, kids, but what I mean is they were loyal, devoted, honest, and too easily screwed by bastards like me and my brother."

    Alas, today I can also see many warts on the novel. For example, despite loving the soldiers fighting and dying for him, despite invoking the horror of napalm and mushroom clouds, despite having participated in appalling campaigns like Napoleon's march on Moscow, and despite having come to care for other lives during his centuries of exile on earth, Corwin (and Zelazny) really do treat the quarter of a million plus casualties of the Amber game as anonymous, "custom-made cannon fodder," when a truly caring prince might try first to mentally dominate his nemesis so as to avoid war via one of the nifty tarot-like cards that serve the royalty of Amber as combination telephones and teleporters. Corwin's "guilt" feels crocodilian.

    Another: Despite Amber being the only real realm, Corwin's allusions to people, events, and works from our "Shadow earth" (like "I suddenly realized that I had known the mad, sad, bad Vincent Van Gogh") so outnumber those from Amber's history that Zelazny evokes our own world more than he develops Amber. This is especially so when Corwin uses American slang and sexism from 1970. He refers to a nurse as "a hippy broad," says that he can or can't "dig" certain things, decides to "play it cool," invites a friend to "make the scene," and so on. Zelazny is grounding his fantasy with an "authentic" language and manner, but it causes some cringes.

    As for gender, early on Corwin devotes a paragraph each to describe his brothers and himself, but only a single paragraph for his sisters, and he often wonders what happened to his father but not to his mother. Only men are fit to rule Amber, and the royal sisters are basically concubines of the fittest. Corwin even gets to indulge in a Captain Kirk-like interlude with a suitably bare-breasted and green-nippled undersea queen.

    Finally, Zelazny's depiction of Corwin as a macho, sensitive warrior-bard, expert at martial and liberal arts, fluent in hip slang and Shakespearean English, possessed of superhuman strength and regenerative powers (no wonder he can chain smoke without getting cancer!), starts feeling like a nerdy adolescent's ultimate cool guy power fantasy (no wonder I loved these books in high school!). With the possible exception of Random, Corwin's siblings appear flat next to him.

    The reader Allesandro Juliani, excellent with Solaris, is good here, but his light and casual voice make Corwin seem less substantial and charismatic than he could be, and his attempts to vocally distinguish the other eight brothers from each other begin to sound strained. He also tends to make female voices too high and weak.

    Later entries in the Amber cycle may correct my kvetches, but to find out I'll dust off my high school days' Avon paperbacks rather than pay Audible for each of the four remaining five-hour novels (when a single 25-hour omnibus audiobook would have been nice).

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 06-14-13
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 06-14-13 Member Since 2016

    My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.

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    "No One Can Cover All Roads To Amber"

    If I had read this in Junior High (We did not have middle school, when I was a kid) I would have liked it and reading it now would bring back good memories.

    There is the great description of beautiful women, like the woman who had thighs like white marble. A hero who can tell rather a woman is a natural blonde or not. The fact that when you go from New York to Amber, your clothes change, your car dissolves, but you get to keep your cigarettes.

    Woe is me, I did not read this in Junior High, so like weak beer, it was not enjoyable.

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hallie PIKESVILLE, MD, United States 01-19-13
    Hallie PIKESVILLE, MD, United States 01-19-13 Member Since 2016

    avid audiobook listener, sociopath, nerd.

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    "A very engaging story!"

    I loved this story. It was snarky and action packed. I'll definitely be listening to the next book!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven 11-05-12
    Steven 11-05-12 Member Since 2013

    stoveclock

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    "Great stuff!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Nine Princes in Amber to be better than the print version?

    Alessandro Juliani, who narrated the first half of the series, from Corwin's pov, did a really good job of capturing the tone and attitude of Zelazny's writing.

    Wil Wheaton, narrating the books from the pov of Merlin, son of Corwin, pick that up and also does a great job. I never have trouble distinguishing which character is speaking at any given moment, he remembers inflections and accents that he gives bit parts and keeps them consistent.

    Zelzany's writing is always an interesting mix of whimsical, edgy, and inventive. Sometimes the descriptions of landscapes go on and on, but by and large this is a very enjoyable and original series.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Troy Allison Dawson Annapolis MD USA 10-15-12
    Troy Allison Dawson Annapolis MD USA 10-15-12 Member Since 2016

    aikitroy

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    "Great Start"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Nine Princes in Amber to be better than the print version?

    In audio at last Alessandro Juliani reading is very good,let you known who talking thouthout the story!


    What did you like best about this story?

    Hear about this series many year ago just never got round to it first book is very good.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Shady Valley, TN, United States 10-01-12
    Amazon Customer Shady Valley, TN, United States 10-01-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A good rendition"
    What made the experience of listening to Nine Princes in Amber the most enjoyable?

    It had been a long time since I had read the book, and it was fun revisiting it through the eyes of someone else.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Corwin. He is the protagonist, and the story revolves around him.


    Which character – as performed by Alessandro Juliani – was your favorite?

    Same.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    No.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vincent Fayetteville, Ga, United States 09-30-12
    Vincent Fayetteville, Ga, United States 09-30-12 Member Since 2016

    xaymaca@gmail.com

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    "A favorite finally available on Audible"
    What made the experience of listening to Nine Princes in Amber the most enjoyable?

    This is probably my all time favorite fantasy series that I read in book form previously. Nine Princes is the perfect first book for the series. The narrator did a good job but would have like to had Wil Wheaton to all 10 books of Amber. The story shines through though. Loved it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Zelazny crafted a very orginal take on the Fantasy genre and the dialogue is great


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I loved the ending of the story and the promise it holds for more


    Any additional comments?

    Get this, it's definitely worth the credit

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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