Trumps of Doom is the sixth book 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.
Trumps of Doom begins the Merlin Cycle, with Alessandro Juliani handing over his narration duties to customer favorite Wil Wheaton, who won the 2012 Audie Award for his engaging performance of Fuzzy Nation. Wheaton brings this classic series to a stunning close by giving voice to Merlin, Corwin’s son, for the final five audiobooks.
©1985 The Amber Corporation (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Trumps of Doom kicks off the second five-book cycle of the Chronicles of Amber, following the exploits of Corwin's son Merlin. The choice of Wil Wheaton to pick up the narration was a fantastic one, because he endows Merlin's voice with just the right mix of youth and experience to suit this unique character. Unlike Allesandro Juliani's performance in the first five books, Wheaton doesn't spend much effort in creating distinct voices for each character, making this seem less like an audio play and more like a storyteller relating his adventures. His narration works very well, though, and it helps reinforce the idea that these are two different tales told by two different men. The story's as great as ever, and I can't wait to finish the rest up. (And if Audible decided to go after the audio rights for the short stories Zelazny left behind in preparation for the third cycle he never got to embark upon, well, that would make a perfect addition to these ten great audios.)
I loved the beginning of this series. The story was engaging and original. I was looking forward to enjoying the rest of these books when the narrator changed. I enjoy Wil as an actor but his narration was terrible. I couldn't make it past the first hour of the recording. There was no change in voice for different characters and everything was over-emphasized. I'll have to enjoy the rest of these as eBooks.
I have read this series several times over the past 20+ years and never tire of it. Zelazny is imaginative and spices the dialog with just the right amount of reflective commentary and occasional humor. The only lulls in the story are the infrequent, but detailed, descriptions of passing through shadow. While this might be great for someone who jumps into the middle of the series and only reads one book, I didn't benefit from its repetition. They give the reader/listener a good feeling for what Zelazny was visualizing. But, for those who are progressing through the series, these periods of "shadow manipulation" dialog become a down-draft when you'd rather be soaring.
Regarding narration, I prefer Alessandro Juliani's performance to Wil Wheaton's. This is not to say Wheaton's performance detracts from the story; not at all. It's the comparison to Juliani's performance for the Corwin Chronicles that elicits my opinion. Juliani has a good command of voice specialization and identification for each character and manages these identities extremely well. Once you make the connection of the voice to the character you no longer need Corwin said, or Julian said, or Random said. Wheaton's voice is rich and easy to listen to; it's just not what I was used to after the Corwin Chronicles and Juliani' versatility.
I'm 60 now and I plan on listening to this series several more times before I pack it in. Over the years, when asked what I like to read and what my favorite books are, this series is always part of my response.
If you like fantasy, action and a good story-line you will find this series a pleasant escape from the more mundane activities of daily life.
The Amber stories are perhaps Zelazny's best-known works They cover 10 novels, the first five told from the perspective of Corwin, a prince of the land of Amber. This book starts the tale of Merlin, Corwin's son, as he confronts unknown dangers and intrigues. The story is full of imagination in both settings and plot twists, told with the unique wise-cracking Zelazny flare. Merlin's tale starts with him "waiting around" for someone to kill him. It's something that happens once a year, on a clock-work schedule. And just like that, you're off, into a unique universe of parallel worlds, where anything is possible. If you're a fan of Zelazny, I've probably already written more than is necessary; if you've never read his work before, I encourage you to start with _Nine Princes in Amber_, the story of this famous series. If you *really* need to know more before deciding whether or not to buy, you can find numerous fan sites with a search of "amber Roger Zelazny" on the Internet. You'll be in for a great story!
Merlin is an interesting mixture of cynicism, naivete, insight, and self-blindness. He has a different background and skill set than his father. There is some interesting tongue-in-cheek, such as Merlin coming from a chaotic, magical, and feudal background, and yet becoming a -- designer of a computers.
The story is a 1st person narrative: Merlin is the storyteller.
There are a few problems with the narrator. He sometimes miss-pronounces words (e.g., "slavering" -- which he pronounces with a long a rather than the proper short), and names (e.g., "Gérard"). I, at least, expected more of a professional production. Fortunately, these unfortunate assaults on the ear are infrequent. It is interesting to hear the story as read by the narrator, as his inflection and emphasis differs from my reading, and my desire for a different take on the reading was part of my reason for buying an audio version of the books I know so well.
now listening to blood of amber, I really don''t
know what I will do when I have finished the whole lot, the characters are part of my life now. Narrated perfectly for the subtle humour in the books.
I cannot consider any audio version of a book that I've read multiple times as better... a new way of hearing it in my head, yes, Better?
Anything in the Amber Chronicles stands out as a thing on it's own. A unique and above all CONSISTANT system of magics, answers that get more questions brought up... It's addicting.
Wil Wheaton brings to life Merlin, the son of Corwin of Amber. He brings the wry humor of the character in subtle ways. I manage to loose Wil and find Merlin within the performance.
I'd have two separate choices.
1) "April Thirtieth will never be the same."
2) "Pick a card, any card."
The Amber Chronicles have been one of my favorite series for a LONG time. In the beginning we know just as much as the main character. By book five we have followed Cowrin through a long journey of change and discovery. Questions are raised, answered....and more questions come from the answers.
In this, the sixth book of the series we meet Merlin the son of Corwin of Amber, and Dara of Chaos. Merlin, it turns out, seems to have inherited his father's knack for troubles.
Who is behind the yearly attempts on his life? What is going on with his Ghost Wheel project? As he solves one problem another rises to take it's place... The Courts of Chaos, the Palace of Amber... Poles of reality of which everything else is but a reflection and shadow..between them lies the life of Merlin.
Douglas R. Pratt
I know it by heart of course, and I have the audio of the first five books that Roger Zelazny recorded (the tapes were discovered a few years ago). Nothing can match Roger's recordings in sentimental value and in accuracy, but that doesn't detract from Wheaton's performance.
Roger Zelazny was a poet so the structure of all his work is subtle and delightful. Best of all, he can never resist a good, horrible pun. One of the best is here in Merlin's second hellrun: "It was just one damned thing after another."
I thought it was splendid throughout. However there is one punch edit that was not removed!
Thank you very much for bringing us these performances. Please do some more of Zelazny's books. Someone could have a lot of fun with "A Dark Traveling," the one voiced by a kid in a magical family who is just figuring out that he's a werewolf. Whatever happened to "Lord of Light?" Was there a rights problem? I thought Victor Bevine's performance was one of the best I have ever heard.
Yes. Wil Wheaton.
His reading has good pacing, sincerity and just the right amount of dramatic effect making it seem like you are reading the book yourself. It's not just a reading...it's a performance and one that is very well done. The prior five books were just readings with words thrown at the listener one after another without any attempt at performance and unconvincing and annoying character voices. Wheaton made this book a joy to listen to.
Wil Wheaton for the win y'all. I've forced myself through the readings of the first five books so I could keep up with the story. Wheaton has made the experience a joy.
Roger Zelazney is king of the single character novel. With a rich background and a character you come to love through his own thoughts and ideas this book will get you rooting for Merlin every step of the way.
The best part about the book is the take on the first person narration as the only way the reader receives information. There is no other picture, not other point of view. This is what make the narration so perfect. The book is written as if Melin is telling a story and listening to it you can get a different enjoyment out of it. I think Wil Weaton really brings out the sarcasm and wry humor out of the book that isn't as poinient if you just read it. He has the perfect tone on the border where exasperation, contemplation and self depricating humor meet.
Absolutely recommend the book, the audio on the other hand.......I love the story, great series. The story of Amber continues with the son of Corwin having similar dry wit and the family as paranoid and ready for reacting to vendettas as ever. The Merlin character is great and really does feel like a younger Corwin in many ways.
Now the hard part....
It is VERY hard to get past the sophomoric performance of Wil Wheaton. I now know why he hasn't gotten my attention with his acting in the past 20 years. Going from Alessandro Juliani to Wheaton is a real shock to ones system. I know he has his fans, but really anyone listening to must hear the poor attention to the tone of the characters and forced characterizations. Frankly to be a good narrator you need to be able to read, understand what's read, and then speak clearly neutrally as a narrator and inflected as characters. Wheaton simply lacks in being able to do all of this with a level of competence that this author and series deserves. Maybe its just a example of poor production or low production values? I don't think so, it just sounds like a younger, more pompous, even less talented Jim Shatner wannabe. If Wheaton isn't in anger management classes, this production shows he should be. His portrayal of emotions is poor at best and I swear I can hear spittle fly as he really gets going with his over acting.
Will I get the remainder of the series? Maybe. Will it be the treasured story I'll listen to occasionally again and again? Absolutely not. The high price (these stories should have been paired together to merit the price) for a short story, poorly acted makes this a real disappointment after waiting a very long time for a Audible production. If these went on sale for four ninety nine I would at least consider the rest of the series. Half price for a half talent narrator would be almost fair.
Audible, what will it take to get this reproduced by a talented narrator instead of someone surfing on the wave of their nerd popularity?
Great story of the continuation of the Corwin of Amber saga through the eyes of his son. I have read this several times since it's publication. Zelazny had a great skill at growing a story and including his dry wit and deep philosophical ideas.
Poor, unskilled, inconsistent.
Audible, please reproduce with a narrator of the caliber of the Corwin books.
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