Today we have a guest book review from Greg Hayes over at Live Fit Blog. Greg was one of the earliest takers in the guest post ultra-marathon. As you know, I don’t read a whole lot of sci-fi and fantasy, so it’s always a relief when someone offers to do it for me. Enjoy!
Book Review: The Chronicles of Amber
By Greg Hayes
When I was a kid growing up, we didn’t have a cable television. Heck, all we had for television was the three major broadcast networks. So, I became a voracious reader. I devoured science fiction, fantasy, history, non-fiction, horror, and pretty much anything else I could get my hands on. I read my way through our little county public library.
One of my first introductions to science fantasy came at the behest of author Roger Zelazny, with The Chronicles of Amber, which I first read at the tender age of 10.
The Chronicles of Amber is a five book series that begins with Corwin, an amnesiac who finds himself hospitalized against his will. After discovering he was seriously injured in a car wreck, he goes about the business of recovering his memory, eventually learning that he is a scion of Amber.
Predictably, there is a power struggle for the Throne of Amber, which serves as the center of all Order. In opposition are the forces of Chaos. Between the two poles of power, all the worlds that can be imagined exist, and can be reached by those who have power over Shadow. This is a ability attainable only by those bearing the royal blood of Amber.
An Adult’s Perspective
Going back and reading the series as an adult, I can say the storyline is rather cliché, and the allusion to immense power being wielded by the elite is thinly veiled. The premise of siblings warring for a contested throne has been done many times as well.
Corwin’s antagonist is a brother and claimant to the throne, and at the heart of their conflict lies an overwhelmingly powerful father, whom we see only briefly during the story. Most of the other characters are thinly developed.
There is no doubt to readers that the series was written in the 1970’s, with characters adopting many of the habits and mannerisms of the day. Most of the story revolves around Corwin’s relentless pursuit of power and revenge upon those who wronged him. Naturally, the readers know that those who achieve such goals inevitably find them unfulfilling.
But we get to watch him grow as he seeks to reconcile his “human” side with the power-hungry, self-destructive tendencies of his brethren. So, these books would make a light, entertaining read for most adults. But they inspired a young boy to continue consuming science fantasy of all sorts, even into adulthood.
The first time I read these books, they were borrowed from our public library. Ten years ago, I went searching for my own copies. A determined search turned up two out of print copies in a California used bookstore, which I promptly purchased. Today, they have prized places on my bookshelf. I can only hope that one day they may entice my own children into the world of reading as well.
About The Author: Greg Hayes is the author of Live Fit Blog, where he write about fitness, among many other things. Chemist by day, blogger by night, father, husband, and a great friend of World’s Strongest Librarian, Greg is quickly becoming one of my favorite people. Please go say hi!
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