Prince of Chaos is the tenth and final installment of 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.
Narrator Wil Wheaton, who won the 2012 Audie Award for his engaging performance of Fuzzy Nation, brings this classic series to a stunning close by giving voice to Merlin, Corwin’s son, in the final five books of the series.
Treacheries, trickeries, assassination attempts and bloody family intrigues have finally maneuvered Merlin, aka Merle Corey, into the Courts of Chaos. Thanks to a series of conventionally fatal "accidents" engineered by his mother Dara and uncle Mandor, Merlin third in line to occupy the throne.
Merlin's journey to the ultimate rule will not be easy, for dark enchantments still await him. There is murderous discord between Amber and Chaos to be silenced. And a captive royal father, long believed dead, must first be freed from a villain's magic before a beleaguered Prince can deem his triumph complete.
©1991 The Amber Corporation (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Douglas R. Pratt is an author and audiobook narrator who lives on a nature preserve near Niagara Falls.
This book has always felt a little rushed to me, since there was a lot of work to do answering the questions and resolving the story lines. I suspect Zelazny had a lot more that he wanted to say but was constrained by the length of the books. There are four or five fragments, written for fanzines (back before the Internet, remember? Actual paper?) by Zelazny that add fascinating details to the story beyond what is resolved here. Whatever, it is Zelazny, and therefore it is masterfully done. Wheaton gives a performance to be proud of in a very busy and complicated narrative.
I would listen to this again. Since the Amber series was originally written, I've probably read all the books every couple of years. I like the voices of Corwin and his son, Merlin -- just the right amount of anti-authority and wiseass. Zelazny constructed a world that was fun to explore as a reader. I've been a fan since the '70's. I wish I could have met him before he died.
Wil Wheaton did a good job with Merlin and the other characters in the book. If I had been his director, I would have had him read some of the passages differently. But that's because their voices are so deeply embedded after reading the series so many times.
I was merely gratified to find Zelazny's Amber series selected as audiobooks.
"To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” -- Somerset Maugham
Don't start reading with this book! Go back and start with the Trumps of Doom (the first in this second series) or ALL THE WAY back to the beginning of the first Chronicles of Amber, Nine Princes in Amber. (Though if you do the latter, I'll have to recommend reading it in print. The audiobook narrator is ... in a word ... awful!)
So many things to say at this point, I'm just going to bullet point them.
* All the Amber books are like solid Bs for me. The writing is flawed at times. Hand-waiving and loose ends. But ultimately fun and with a very cool world and pretty good characters.
* The last two books of the second series are a pretty good pay off. So you just have to get through the bad parts to get to the good. It's sad that the main character is so "dumb" in the first two books, but you kinda-sorta get an explanation for that in the end. (He was raised to be a political pawn.)
* I love the Chaos end of things, the details in this book especially. Zelazny creates stuff that is somehow powerful, exotic, cruel, and logical all at the same time.
* Despite enjoying this series I am really frustrated by the last 10 minutes of reading. Soooo many loose ends. So many dominos set up that didn't get knocked over. Most of them aren't that meaningful, but it's unsatisfying to have them poised to fall after the end of the last chapter.
* Zelazny clearly loved writing the surreal bits of the novels - the chaos stuff, the hell rides through shadow, Luke's powered up acid trip. I mostly liked these too, but they felt really self-indulgent and were sometimes annoying.
* These novels are essentially fantasy gumshoe novels. The plots are about investigating mysteries. Sustaining a plot like this over five books at a time, albeit short ones, means a lot of recaps, summaries, hindsight, forecasting, etc. That's problematic at best.
* Zelazny probably didn't plot these out ahead of time. Some of the changing rules of magic and cheap device-oriented fixes makes me think that. Details would be spoilery, but I think you will catch them yourself when reading. The stories are like Star Wars or Indiana Jones, though. You just live with the vague/dumb stuff so you can enjoy the ride.
* Despite evolving a little too "conveniently," the magical concepts in these books are cool! Let's list them. 1. Immortality via bloodline (old hat stuff, but it still makes the list). 2. Gaining power by walking a pattern/maze of power. 3. The ability to walk through shadows/alternate realities. 4. The Trumps and how they grant telekinesis, psionic attacks/spying, teleportation. 5. Logrus-based spellcasting. 6. Magical sentience - major artifacts as AIs. 7. Chaos lords who can shape-shift into demonic forms. There are probably more, but those will do.
This series is definitely worth it. But you can't take them too seriously. They are great fun and they inspired a lot of fantasy that followed in the 80's, 90's, and beyond. (The first series was published from '70 to '78, the second from '85 to '91.)
Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
It's a shame it's only 10 books. This is one of the few I would love to see as a movie.
a good ending, I thought as it was really the only way to end. I enjoyed all 10 books although 10 was dragged out slightly. I am really appreciative of such an imaginative mind & big thanks to both narrators for finishing the books, also making the characters so real.Thank You :)
Was worried because reviews said this last book was rushed. Actually, it was a very enjoyable and satisfying end. I would gladly read a sequel of this series if someone were authorized to write one. I plan on reading Dawn of Amber (the authorized prequel series) next.
The story abruptly ends with no real resolution. The ending is unfulfilling and incomplete.
Also, After reading through 10 books of an undefined magic system that seemed to be anything the author wanted at the moment, I was hoping for some explanation in the end that tried to clear things up.
Yes Wil Wheaton did a fantastic job.
The ending, but i won't spoil it for anyone.
Watch out for your relatives. They have plans for you.
I wish there were another 10 books of the Amber Series.
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