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The Guns of Avalon

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Across the worlds of Shadow, Corwin, prince of blood royal, heir to the throne of Amber, gathers his forces for an assault that will yield up to him the crown that is rightfully his. But, a growing darkness of his own doing threatens his plans, an evil that stretches to the heart of the perfect kingdom itself where the demonic forces of Chaos mass to annihilate Amber and a Across the worlds of Shadow, Corwin, prince of blood royal, heir to the throne of Amber, gathers his forces for an assault that will yield up to him the crown that is rightfully his. But, a growing darkness of his own doing threatens his plans, an evil that stretches to the heart of the perfect kingdom itself where the demonic forces of Chaos mass to annihilate Amber and all who would rule there. One of the most revered names in sf and fantasy, the incomparable Roger Zelazny was honored with numerous prizes—including six Hugo and three Nebula Awards—over the course of his legendary career. Among his more than fifty books, arguably Zelazny’s most popular literary creations were his extraordinary Amber novels. The Guns of Avalon is the second book of The Chronicles of Amber.

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Across the worlds of Shadow, Corwin, prince of blood royal, heir to the throne of Amber, gathers his forces for an assault that will yield up to him the crown that is rightfully his. But, a growing darkness of his own doing threatens his plans, an evil that stretches to the heart of the perfect kingdom itself where the demonic forces of Chaos mass to annihilate Amber and a Across the worlds of Shadow, Corwin, prince of blood royal, heir to the throne of Amber, gathers his forces for an assault that will yield up to him the crown that is rightfully his. But, a growing darkness of his own doing threatens his plans, an evil that stretches to the heart of the perfect kingdom itself where the demonic forces of Chaos mass to annihilate Amber and all who would rule there. One of the most revered names in sf and fantasy, the incomparable Roger Zelazny was honored with numerous prizes—including six Hugo and three Nebula Awards—over the course of his legendary career. Among his more than fifty books, arguably Zelazny’s most popular literary creations were his extraordinary Amber novels. The Guns of Avalon is the second book of The Chronicles of Amber.

30 review for The Guns of Avalon

  1. 5 out of 5

    Evgeny

    The book picks up right where the previous left. Corwin, being pissed off at his brother Eric for cruel treatment as well as thinking the guy occupied the throne which is his - Corwin's - by right looked for means to dispose of his dear loving relative. He thought he knew one, but it required extensive shadow traveling. During these travels he learned that a curse of a person of royal Amber blood really meant something. He also got to meet some of his old acquaintances with only a minor part of The book picks up right where the previous left. Corwin, being pissed off at his brother Eric for cruel treatment as well as thinking the guy occupied the throne which is his - Corwin's - by right looked for means to dispose of his dear loving relative. He thought he knew one, but it required extensive shadow traveling. During these travels he learned that a curse of a person of royal Amber blood really meant something. He also got to meet some of his old acquaintances with only a minor part of them being somewhat friendly - and I am really stretching the definition of the word. To his own surprise Corwin realized he acquired some rudimentary conscience despite being a selfish asshole. He also managed to bring yet another danger to Amber's existence. This is one of my all-time favorite fantasy series, easily among top 5. At the time when everybody and their brother rushed to make yet another copy of The Lord of the Rings Zelazny created something very unique and highly imaginative. I am still fascinated by the concepts of shadow travel and Trumps. I want to be able to do the former and I want to own the latter, dammit! As usual expect a lot of happening in less than 250 pages. This is still unusual at the time when an average fantasy book can easily reach 1000 pages and have less plot (hi, George R.R. Martin, Robert Jordan, and Steven Erikson). Unsurprisingly the rating is 5 stars, exactly what it was during my first read. I still remember my friend telling me all fantasy came out of Tolkien's magnum opus. It was highly satisfactory to give her these books and challenge to find anything similar to it. She failed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Choko

    *** 4.44 *** "...“Never trust a relative. It is far worse than trusting strangers.”..." Corwin, the prince of Amber, is free and plotting. Plotting is the past time of the family, but he has a bit of extra incentive, having been imprisoned and blinded for the last 4-5 years and living is squalor while getting better after his escape. Eric, his eldest brother and currently holder of the throne, wants him dead, but at this moment he and the whole royal family are busy defending the realm and some *** 4.44 *** "...“Never trust a relative. It is far worse than trusting strangers.”..." Corwin, the prince of Amber, is free and plotting. Plotting is the past time of the family, but he has a bit of extra incentive, having been imprisoned and blinded for the last 4-5 years and living is squalor while getting better after his escape. Eric, his eldest brother and currently holder of the throne, wants him dead, but at this moment he and the whole royal family are busy defending the realm and some of the Shadow Worlds against the forces of Chaos, who are currently attacking with unprecedented strength and tenacity. It seems, the curse Corwin put on the realm when condemned by Eric, has come to real life with a vengeance and it doesn't seem he can do much about it. The worlds are degenerating and rotting because of it, so Corwin's plan is to first, take over the throne, and only then figure out a way to fight the Chaos creatures. "... "In a fit of passion, compounded of rage, horror, and pain, I had unleashed this thing, and it was reflected in every earth in existence. Such is the blood curse of a Prince of Amber.”..." Corwin picks up an old frenemy on his way and they travel the Shadows together, trying to keep alive, being attracted to anything in skirts, playing folks for fools and being played themselves, hoping that the math would eventually work in his favor. There is plenty of traveling and running, and fighting, but overall, I enjoyed it exactly because of it. I love Corwin's internal monologue and I like that he is not perfect at all, for a creature who is gifted with youthful longevity and superhuman strength. I also prefer him ahead of any of his siblings, because the stay on the Shadow Earth - which is our world, has made him look on things a bit more humanely and the loss of his memory gives him a chance to rediscover and reform himself in a manner different than his family's mold. At least I am hoping for an upgrade like that:):):) "... “We fought.' 'A duel?' 'Nothing that formal. A simultaneous decision to murder one another is more like it.”..." What a wonderful example of a loving family we have in the Royals of Amber!!! I love this series, but I do know it is not for everyone. Roger Zelazny marches by his own drums, so he is an acquired taste, which I am lucky enough to enjoy personally. I would recommend it to all fans of Science Fiction and Fantasy, give it a try and see if it is your cup of tea:) I am looking forward to the next book in the series!!! "... “Tonight I will suck the marrow from your bones!” it said. “I will dry them and work them most cunningly into instruments of music! Whenever I play upon them, your spirit will writhe in bodiless agony!” “You burn prettily,” I said.”..." Now I wish you Happy Reading and may you find what you Need in the pages of a Good Book!!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Markus

    Corwin escapes after four years of blindness and imprisonment at the hand of his brother Eric who usurped the throne in Amber. His search for vengeance and restoration takes him on a journey through the Shadows that at last brings him to his former homeworld of Avalon, and makes him cross paths with a former servant who hates him with a burning passion and a brother thought long lost. The Guns of Avalon is in many aspects a massive improvement on Nine Princes in Amber. Zelazny apparently learnt h Corwin escapes after four years of blindness and imprisonment at the hand of his brother Eric who usurped the throne in Amber. His search for vengeance and restoration takes him on a journey through the Shadows that at last brings him to his former homeworld of Avalon, and makes him cross paths with a former servant who hates him with a burning passion and a brother thought long lost. The Guns of Avalon is in many aspects a massive improvement on Nine Princes in Amber. Zelazny apparently learnt how to write, and while the book retains some of the issues that plagued the first book, that certainly makes it far better. However, harshly critical as it may be, I'm unable to give it a higher rating, simply because the series is just not on that level. The book as a whole was pretty enjoyable, but still not particularly remarkable or memorable. But there are mysteries enough hidden in Amber and its Shadows that I am determined to keep reading.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    This was the first volume of this series I read. The Amber series...one of fantasy's best. I stumbled on this not knowing it was a series. Then It was years before I found the first volume (Nine Princes in Amber. Also, this book ends in a somewhat cliffhangerish way and it was years before I got the next volume... Happily for you, the entire series is there waiting for you. Enjoy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Picks up right where the first novel ended and is just as fast moving. You learn a lot more about Amber, and Corwin's family

  6. 4 out of 5

    Graeme Rodaughan

    Sheer Genius Roger Zelazny simply speaks to every aspect of what I want in a story. He nails it, he just nails it. I'm gobsmacked. This review is brief, because I do not have the words to honor what I've read. I had to make a new shelf "sheer genius," just for this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    Dropping it halfway through - not my cup of tea. I enjoyed the first book of the series, Nine Princes in Amber, in a lukewarm sort of way, and decided to try this in case the story picked up speed. Around page 100 or So, I decided I couldn't care less. Still, it's not badly written - hence the two stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Pietro

    The universe is made of an infinite number of worlds, covering the entire spectrum of probability, but all such worlds are merely shadows of the only true world: Amber. Princes of Amber are gods in the shadow worlds: they're immortal, strong, fast, clever and capable of creating everything they wish out of sheer will. Corwin, the protagonist of the chronicles of Amber, is one of those Princes. What unimaginable intelligence must such a being possess? What bits of infinite wisdom might he gift to us The universe is made of an infinite number of worlds, covering the entire spectrum of probability, but all such worlds are merely shadows of the only true world: Amber. Princes of Amber are gods in the shadow worlds: they're immortal, strong, fast, clever and capable of creating everything they wish out of sheer will. Corwin, the protagonist of the chronicles of Amber, is one of those Princes. What unimaginable intelligence must such a being possess? What bits of infinite wisdom might he gift to us mere mortals? What sacred words might he utter to open a grand Epic like "The guns of Avalon"? "Good-by, butterfly" . . . Really?????? He's a friggin' god, one who lived countless human lives in more worlds than mortal mind might count and THAT is the kind of stuff he comes up with? That's atmosphere murder and it should be illegal. I was SO hoping for this book to be better than Nine Princes in Amber, but right from the start it was made quite clear that I was wrong, Oh so wrong. If anything it was worse, at least book 1 had a decent start. The plot (a.k.a. The Random Plot of Random Randomness) involves Corwin running around doing completely pointless quests in the shadow worlds for no real reason... and the amount of totally random plot elements just thrown in for their own sake is simply staggering. The entire plot develops from a (guess what?) random encounter Corwin makes on the road to nowhere in particular. Want to know what's EVEN MORE random? The wounded guy Corwin meets is Lancelot. An infinite number of worlds, and our protagoninst just stumbles upon the Round Table replica. MEH. From then on it only gets worse: goatlike demons sprouting out of nowhere, demonic cats, a 2 pages long relationship with a ""camp follower"" and on and on and on... The more I read of it, the more Zelazny's prose feels like an army of tiny inky talons raking at my eyes with every word. He doesn't show, he doesn't tell: he just lists facts. In a single page I counted a dozen sentences starting with "then". Then I went there. Then I did this. Then I did that. Then (insert random demonic being) came. Then we fought. Then he died. Then I went away. Dialogues would be even worse if not for one reason: they're faster to read. Characters reactions are completely fucked up, and there isn't one that makes sense in the entire book. To make the whole thing even more unbearable, everyone speaks 70s American slang. I'm afraid this is the last I'll see of the Chronicles of Amber and I'm seriously regretting buying the omnibus.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    "Now I had to find a place, a place resembling another place -- one which no longer existed. I located the path. I took it." - Roger Zelazny, The Guns of Avalon A missing father, siblings that aren't very filial, a dark road, dark circles, a contested thrown, faceless figures, flying daemons, etc. This book has a lot of action and a pretty clear arc. The protagonist has been cast low and is now fighting to regain what he lost (besides just weight) AND gain what he feels is his right (and not just "Now I had to find a place, a place resembling another place -- one which no longer existed. I located the path. I took it." - Roger Zelazny, The Guns of Avalon A missing father, siblings that aren't very filial, a dark road, dark circles, a contested thrown, faceless figures, flying daemons, etc. This book has a lot of action and a pretty clear arc. The protagonist has been cast low and is now fighting to regain what he lost (besides just weight) AND gain what he feels is his right (and not just the crown). The positives of this book is the ambiguity of the characters. Even the focal point of the book (Prince Corwin) is an ambiguous character. At times, the reader feels he isn't much better than half of his siblings. He has also made situations a lot worse for EVERYBODY because of his own sufferings. Think of it as the inverse of Jesus. Instead of suffering for the sins of the world, Corwin, through his sufferings - subjects the worlds to a multitude of evil and sins. And now, he has to deal with the mess he made. Again, like the first in this series, this isn't GREAT literature but it is entertaining enough and does have a compelling narrative drive to it. They are little trashy treats. 120 page pulp bites. It is nice to throw a couple of these in-between longer, more dense and serious reads. They are entertaining.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stjepan Cobets

    My rating 4.9 By me, even a better book than the first part. A sequel that just shows how good a series is. Soon I started reading the third book. Just a great book. A book to be read because if you are a fan of science fiction and fantasy genres, this is the very essence of the genre.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    4.0 to 4.5 stars. Another excellent installment in the Amber Chronicles by Roger Zelazny. The world building continues to impress and the magic system and internal workings of Amber continue to be fleshed out and made real. While not quite as good as my two favorite Zelazny works, Lord of Light and This Immortal, these books are well written and a ton of fun. Highly Recommended!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kat Hooper

    Originally posted at FanLit. Warning, from me: If you haven’t read Nine Princes in Amber yet, don’t read this review. Another warning, from Corwin: “Never trust a relative. It is far worse than trusting strangers.” Corwin has escaped from his brother’s prison and he’s ready for revenge. He doesn’t have the manpower that Eric has, so he needs a technological advantage. Traditional firearms don’t work in Amber, but Corwin once noticed that a jewelers’ rouge from the shadow world of Avalon, where he u Originally posted at FanLit. Warning, from me: If you haven’t read Nine Princes in Amber yet, don’t read this review. Another warning, from Corwin: “Never trust a relative. It is far worse than trusting strangers.” Corwin has escaped from his brother’s prison and he’s ready for revenge. He doesn’t have the manpower that Eric has, so he needs a technological advantage. Traditional firearms don’t work in Amber, but Corwin once noticed that a jewelers’ rouge from the shadow world of Avalon, where he used to rule, is combustible in Amber. So here’s his plan: get some money (pretty easy to do when you can create your own worlds), purchase a huge amount of jeweler’s rouge, and commission some custom-made firearms that use the rouge to shoot silver bullets (he’s not sure other metals will work). Oh, and raise an army. No problem! The problem is that Eric may no longer be the biggest threat in Amber. Because of Corwin’s curse, Amber is being assailed by the forces of Chaos. The evil is also manifest in the shadow worlds that Corwin is trying to exploit and he must frequently stop and deal with the nasty creatures it serves up. Along the way Corwin meets old friends and enemies, makes new friends and enemies, and does at least one more impetuous thing that will come back to bite him later. In The Guns of Avalon (1972), Corwin, who had gained our sympathies in Nine Princes in Amber because of how he was treated by Eric, becomes something of an anti-hero. Because of his rash actions, beautiful Amber has been invaded by horror. Corwin realizes that he has caused much destruction, he knows he has wrought evil, and he tells himself that he hopes to destroy more evil than he creates. The reader begins to wonder, however, if Corwin is blinded by hate for his brother. Is Corwin’s claim to the throne legitimate enough to justify all the death and terror that he’s caused? We’re certainly not convinced that Corwin would be a better King than Eric is. Corwin is a rather ambiguous hero. Still, it’s hard not to root for Amber, if not for Corwin himself. Roger Zelazny has created a magical world that we’re eager to explore, preferably in a time of peace. We haven’t had much chance to do so yet since we’ve only seen it from Corwin’s perspective, and that means that for most of the time we’ve been in Amber, we’ve been in the dungeon. At the end The Guns of Avalon Zelazny leaves us with many questions unanswered and two major twists. You’ll want to have the next book, Sign of the Unicorn, ready to go. I’m listening to Alessandro Juliani narrate Audible Frontiers’ version of The Guns of Avalon. He’s doing a great job, though I did not like the Southern drawl that he chose for two of the major characters (they call it “Ambuh”). It didn’t seem appropriate. With so many characters, I think he feels that he must give each a distinctive voice, so to do that he’s using unlikely accents or vocal properties (e.g., hoarseness or high pitch) to make them unique. I think that’s a mistake, but other than that, his reading is very good.

  13. 5 out of 5

    A. Dawes

    Zelazny was one of my go-to writers back in the day. And with the Amber series you were almost always ensured of an entertaining read, with the right dash of complexity so that along with the amusement and intrigue, it also gave the old noggin just enough to chew on. In this sequel of world hopping fantasy, Prince Corwin prepares to take his rightful throne. But Chaos is also gathering its dark forces... Any reader of fantasy is in for an escapist treat of the highest magnitude. I'm biased here, Zelazny was one of my go-to writers back in the day. And with the Amber series you were almost always ensured of an entertaining read, with the right dash of complexity so that along with the amusement and intrigue, it also gave the old noggin just enough to chew on. In this sequel of world hopping fantasy, Prince Corwin prepares to take his rightful throne. But Chaos is also gathering its dark forces... Any reader of fantasy is in for an escapist treat of the highest magnitude. I'm biased here, it may have dated, but my love of reading it a few decades ago has stayed with me. It's still a ripper read, at least that's what I think.

  14. 4 out of 5

    OhWell

    When push comes to shove all princes put Amber first, and it’s hard not to like them for it! The pacing of The Guns of Avalon is a bit uneven. Shadows shifting is a neat concept, but I literally fell asleep while Corwin was traveling to the diamond dunes. The beginning and the last few chapters more than made up for the slow spots in the middle though. Corwin is by no means a model of strong moral fiber, and some of his decisions might be questionable, but I can’t believe how he got totally duped When push comes to shove all princes put Amber first, and it’s hard not to like them for it! The pacing of The Guns of Avalon is a bit uneven. Shadows shifting is a neat concept, but I literally fell asleep while Corwin was traveling to the diamond dunes. The beginning and the last few chapters more than made up for the slow spots in the middle though. Corwin is by no means a model of strong moral fiber, and some of his decisions might be questionable, but I can’t believe how he got totally duped here! As if the curse was not enough… It should be interesting to see how and if he manages to undo all the damage.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Even better and more excitng than "The Nine Princes in Amber." Corwin continues his adventures through time and space and gets involved in a complicated political struggle for Amber. Plus Zelazny details more of the back story involving the Courts of Chaos and make up of various realms of the series. Outstandng science fiction fantasy written in concise and beautiful language. Zelazny is an amazing writer.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Malum

    Another fine installment of The Chronicles of Amber. This one lulled for me a bit in the middle, but the ending picked up quite a bit and Zelazny's masterful worldbuilding brought my rating back up.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    The second book in the series is pretty much like turning a page in the first book. It is literally like the next day. I seem to be reading small books at the moment. The writing continues to show its age, the female characters in this story are pasted in and literally have no impact. I think that Random's wife has huge potential, but she still has not made an appearance. This is all about the princes and their warring, whisky drinking exploits. But even with its flaws, even with the fact that a The second book in the series is pretty much like turning a page in the first book. It is literally like the next day. I seem to be reading small books at the moment. The writing continues to show its age, the female characters in this story are pasted in and literally have no impact. I think that Random's wife has huge potential, but she still has not made an appearance. This is all about the princes and their warring, whisky drinking exploits. But even with its flaws, even with the fact that a few most of my group read buddies have given up on it, I find that I do want to see how the story pans out. So given that I have the omnibus and they are only 150 max pages per book, I will be carrying on with the story. I know this review doesn't exactly tell you much about the book, but, ah well. Give it a go.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    While still compelling, it is a little bit of a let down from the first book. The noir element is lost entirely, sci-fi is minimal and this become merely a fun fantasy story. That's fine, I guess. The writing is actually still quite good, but I felt some of what made the first book special is now stripped away. That doesn't stop me from wanting to know what happens. This series may feature the most screwed up families in literature. Still good pulpy stuff.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    Back in the days before Mr. Fogerty inspired Mr. Jordan to expand on his observation that the big wheel keeps on turning, and before Mr. Martin went into the field of meteorology, Roger Zelazny produced this series of five terrific books and thereby offered the fantasy fiction field an alternative to Conan pastiches and Hobbit homages. Amber is the true, real, center of the universe, see, and it's a magical kingdom where the king has gone missing and the nine princes and a handful of princesses Back in the days before Mr. Fogerty inspired Mr. Jordan to expand on his observation that the big wheel keeps on turning, and before Mr. Martin went into the field of meteorology, Roger Zelazny produced this series of five terrific books and thereby offered the fantasy fiction field an alternative to Conan pastiches and Hobbit homages. Amber is the true, real, center of the universe, see, and it's a magical kingdom where the king has gone missing and the nine princes and a handful of princesses are playing the game of thrones, and... well, you should it. His writing is descriptive and detailed throughout, the characters are full-blown people the reader understands and knows instantly, and the plot is immensely detailed and carefully paced and presented for the whole five book run, yet they're short books by modern standards... he packs way more into a hundred pages than most current fantasists do in a thousand. How did he do it? It was magic, obviously. There was a second series of five books with the same setting and some overlapping characters that didn't have quite the same feel, and after his death someone else produced some books that shouldn't have been permitted that I would recommend avoiding, but those first five Amber books are real classics. Some of the slang expressions haven't aged well, particularly in the earlier volumes, and it's a little jarring to read that the main characters all seem to be chain-smokers, but otherwise I think they've held up better than any of their contemporaries.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anita Reads

    [4.5 stars] This is the continuations of the Amber Chronicles, where in the first book (Nine Princes in Amber) we met Corwin and has followed him as he struggled to find out who he was after having had some sort of amnesia. There’s a bit of a war going on between him and his other brothers. Eric has chosen himself to rule in Amber, but Corwyn wants to put a stop to it, and take over the power for himself. In this book Corwyn finds himself in Avalon, as he’s on a quest for more answers, and I’m no [4.5 stars] This is the continuations of the Amber Chronicles, where in the first book (Nine Princes in Amber) we met Corwin and has followed him as he struggled to find out who he was after having had some sort of amnesia. There’s a bit of a war going on between him and his other brothers. Eric has chosen himself to rule in Amber, but Corwyn wants to put a stop to it, and take over the power for himself. In this book Corwyn finds himself in Avalon, as he’s on a quest for more answers, and I’m not going to say much more than that, as I’m afraid to spoil anything that happens in this book or the previous, to anyone interested in starting this series. Roger Zelazny’s writing is something I really enjoy, I find it both fast paced and easy to read. I really enjoy the world building, and how we slowly (along with Corwyn) get to experience and understand Amber more and more as the books/series progresses. I’m very interested in the storyline of some of the characters that was introduced in this book, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the future books. If you enjoy fast paced and unique fantasies, I think you’ll really find yourself enjoying this series. I also like the fact that all the books are pretty short, and so you don’t have to commit yourself to over 500 pages every time you decide to pick up one of the books, and still even though it’s short a lot of stuff keeps happening, so you’re never bored when reading.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    I'll start this today at lunch. It's a re-read, but a wonderful one. I read Nine Princes in Amber for the Zelazny group & I can't just stop reading the series now, even if I do know how it turns out. It was well worth the re-read. Even knowing basically what happens, it's still a great read. I get to pay more attention to how Zelazny uses words & that's always a pleasure. This concentrates on Corwin getting back to his old self after many centuries. We learn more about his family & hi I'll start this today at lunch. It's a re-read, but a wonderful one. I read Nine Princes in Amber for the Zelazny group & I can't just stop reading the series now, even if I do know how it turns out. It was well worth the re-read. Even knowing basically what happens, it's still a great read. I get to pay more attention to how Zelazny uses words & that's always a pleasure. This concentrates on Corwin getting back to his old self after many centuries. We learn more about his family & him. We also visit a shadow much like Camelot, which is fun & well done. I love the descriptions of the events, attitudes & feelings. Can't wait to start the next book, Sign of the Unicorn. If this is your first time reading this series, I'd highly suggest reading Nine Princes in Amber before this book. The series really should be read in order.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ivana Books Are Magic

    ...and this is how you write a sequel. The Guns of Avalon take up from where Nine Princes in Amber ended brilliantly. The story doesn't slow down a bit, but rather it develops purposefully and dives further into the Amber universe. The plot is well written and there is definite character development on side of Corwin. In the first sequel, Corwin was a charming bastard, a more sophisticated and eloquent version of macho heroes, but in The Guns of Avalon we see a more human side to him. Corwin's i ...and this is how you write a sequel. The Guns of Avalon take up from where Nine Princes in Amber ended brilliantly. The story doesn't slow down a bit, but rather it develops purposefully and dives further into the Amber universe. The plot is well written and there is definite character development on side of Corwin. In the first sequel, Corwin was a charming bastard, a more sophisticated and eloquent version of macho heroes, but in The Guns of Avalon we see a more human side to him. Corwin's inner struggle between his newly developed conscience and his strong obsession with winning the Amber throne was interesting to watch to say the least. The more I think about it, the more I admire the precision of Zelazny's writing. Every novel in his Amber series is so well constructed and paced. They are neither too long nor too short, just the perfect length. Many fantasy writers could take cue from Zelazny. You don't need to desperately overwrite everything to make a reader so tired he becomes a part of your world out of sheer exhaustion. I mean- leave something to the imagination! Indeed, the novels in the Amber series are really a joy to read. Upon rereading, I particularly enjoy seeing not just how all the pieces of the puzzles match but how timely Zelazny brought them into action. Consistent with the other books in the series, The Guns of Avalon is written in first person narration. However, even through Corwin's eye, we get to learn more about other characters. The dialogues play a huge part in this. They are well written and natural sounding, and that is really important because that's the only time we can actually see those characters speaking for themselves. Otherwise we obviously see them through Corwin's eyes. Some new characters are introduced in this one as well, Dara being the most important (and possibly most fascinating) of all. I loved seeing more of Benedict, him being one of my favourite brothers of a highly fascinating and fabulously dysfunctional royal family. Connecting Benedict and Dara was a good move, even if some might find it all a bit incestuous. Well, at least this time Corwin didn't swoon over his sister. Interestingly, there is more than one love interest in this novel. There are two distinct love episodes, and while one ends soon after it started, the other will be elaborated more in other novels. What else can I say without spoilers? In the Guns of Avalon, you'll see some interesting plot twists, learn more about Corwin's family members (and himself), see him and others grow up a bit as a new threat befalls Amber. They desperately needed to grown up a little bit so that was satisfactory, seeing they can actually come to their senses when there is a real threat to them all. A threat more serious than a bunch of brothers and sisters trying to kill themselves over their father's throne and not caring whom and what (and by whom/what I mean whole worlds) they bring down with them? Well, yes. You'll also get to read some wonderfully written shadow walking and get a glimpse of what is to follow. What more could you possibly want? Really, The Guns of Avalon are just as good as the first book in the series. You can see that the author actually took the time to plan out things, rather than improvising and overwriting sequels like so many fantasy author do today. I read Nine Princes in Amber as an adolescent, but it was a few years before I figured out there were sequels. Imagine my joy at discovering so many sequels. I think I was around twenty when I stumbled onto sequels, and I bought them all, despite the rather pricey price (even for a hard cover). Lately, I've been wanting to reread them, but they are all in another city, so until I go there to pick them up, I'll just reminisce about this series a bit. It really is gold, isn't it? I'm happy that I own hard copies of all novel in a series. I've been wanting to buy the complete edition of this series, but for some reason I prefer reading it in this form. I suppose it makes me appreciate them a bit more, reading them on their own. Does that makes any sense? Instead of a conclusion, I'll leave you with my favourite quote from it, a moment in which Corwin grasps his mortality for the first time: ...It was almost a mystical experience. I do not know how else to put it. My mind outran time as he neared, and it was as though I had an eternity to ponder the approach of this man who was my brother. His garments were filthy, his face blackened, the stump of his right arm raised, gesturing anywhere. The great beast that he rode was striped, black and red, with a wild red mane and tail. But it really was a horse, and its eyes rolled and there was foam at its mouth and its breathing was painful to hear. I saw then that he wore his blade slung across his back, for its haft protruded high above his right shoulder. Still slowing, eyes fixed upon me, he departed the road, bearing slightly toward my left, jerked the reins once and released them, keeping control of the horse with his knees. His left hand went up in a salute-like movement that passed above his head and seized the hilt of his weapon. It came free without a sound, describing a beautiful arc above him and coming to rest in a lethal position out from his left shoulder and slanting back, like a single wing of dull steel with a minuscule line of edge that gleamed like a filament of mirror. The picture he presented was burned into my mind with a kind of magnificence, a certain splendor that was strangely moving. The blade was a long, scythe like affair that I had seen him use before. Only then we had stood as allies against a mutual foe I had begun to believe unbeatable. Benedict had proved otherwise that night. Now that I saw it raised against me I was overwhelmed with a sense of my own mortality, which I had never experienced before in this fashion. It was as though a layer had been stripped from the world and I had a sudden, full understanding of death itself.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Books-treasureortrash

    Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes The First Chronicles of Amber, includes books 1 - 5 An interesting and compelling concept for a fantasy book and a very different kind of fantasy. Some elements of the story take place in modern times and some elements take place in medieval times. I found the writing to be imaginative and quite deep. Amber is the only real place upon the real Earth. It is the substance from which all other realities are but a shadow, including the world that we now live in and there a Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes The First Chronicles of Amber, includes books 1 - 5 An interesting and compelling concept for a fantasy book and a very different kind of fantasy. Some elements of the story take place in modern times and some elements take place in medieval times. I found the writing to be imaginative and quite deep. Amber is the only real place upon the real Earth. It is the substance from which all other realities are but a shadow, including the world that we now live in and there are unlimited numbers of shadow worlds that extend from Amber to Chaos and consequently all roads (through shadow) lead to Amber. A prince or princess of Amber has control over shadow and as such can enter and influence shadow worlds. There is no magic, per say in the first five books, instead there is substance and shadow, order(Amber) and Chaos. As such a descendant of Amber can move through shadow with his thoughts. He thinks about what should be next and then it is there, so he thinks about a green sun and purple sky and it becomes so, he thinks about eating and a diner appears or he wants to get to Amber so he thinks about the various shadow worlds near to Amber and eventually Amber will appear. In the vicinity of Amber the world is more like medieval times where , gun-powder, cars and other electric gadgets do not work, in some shadow worlds, such as our earth, these things do work and are utilized in the story. We learn that the nine Princes of Amber all want to win the crown and since their Dad, the King is missing. As a result of this there is a lot of violence, intrigue and energy going into this pursuit. The four Princesses of Amber are also involved in the conflict in various ways. The Chronicles are a culmination of 10 small novels that make up the world of Amber into one big book of over 1200 pages, the first 5 books revolve around the protagonist Corwin, who is a prince of Amber and are told in first person from Corwin's point of view. These first 5 books are a complete story in and of them self and in fact are much better than the last 5 books. The last five stories are told from Corwin's son Merlin's point of view and tell a different story and we learn more of Chaos in the second half. Corwin is introduced and the premise of the book is set up. I like the way it starts as a mystery where Corwin has amnesia and we learn with him about Amber and about shadow. It should be noted that the Royalty of Amber have incredible speed, strength and regenerative qualities. They all live seemingly endless lives, unless they are murdered, which they can happen since they are not immortal. The basis of the first five stories stem around the succession of Amber and the various family intrigue and disputes in resolving this. I liked how the story evolved as well as how it concluded ay the end of the fifth book. Overall a very good read, at times I found it hard to put the book down. For more of my reviews go to: http://books-treasureortrash.com

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carol Evans

    It was a perfect choice for my mood- quick, fairly short, and lots of adventure. The Guns of Avalon picks up where Nine Princes in Amber left off. Corwin is determined to fight for the throne of Amber. He has some supplies he needs to collect which takes him to Avalon. While there, he must help fight the creatures of the Circle of Evil, a part of the Dark Road to Chaos that he unleashed on the world, both Amber and Shadow, by his curse. Once again, Corwin doesn’t know who to trust and how far to t It was a perfect choice for my mood- quick, fairly short, and lots of adventure. The Guns of Avalon picks up where Nine Princes in Amber left off. Corwin is determined to fight for the throne of Amber. He has some supplies he needs to collect which takes him to Avalon. While there, he must help fight the creatures of the Circle of Evil, a part of the Dark Road to Chaos that he unleashed on the world, both Amber and Shadow, by his curse. Once again, Corwin doesn’t know who to trust and how far to trust them. I enjoy the action in these. they’re just fun. Traveling through Shadow plays a big part in this one, with some really interesting descriptions of the terrain changing around them. It’s an easy read. This time around, Corwin knows who he is, what he’s fighting for, so we can get straight to it. We don’t need any explanation of the importance of Amber and that the royal family can travel through Shadow. Reading the first is necessary though, otherwise you’d be lost. During this adventure, he also meets Dara, who claims to be the granddaughter of one of his brothers. Needless to say, she isn’t. I’m not quite sure what she is though, which is the cliff-hanger ending in this episode. Corwin gets the crown, but now he has to defend it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    sologdin

    More of the first volume, without the cumbersome amnesia device. Expressly Arthurian, but with guns. More family dramatics. More platonist wanderings, with the fake realities manifesting to the detriment of the Real. More grotesqueries. More surly siblings. Travel sections wrtten with heavy ellipsis in the style of Celine. Great passage during the picaresque section regarding how "Half a dozen hairy, albino men, almost completely naked and continuing the process of undressing as they moved, shuf More of the first volume, without the cumbersome amnesia device. Expressly Arthurian, but with guns. More family dramatics. More platonist wanderings, with the fake realities manifesting to the detriment of the Real. More grotesqueries. More surly siblings. Travel sections wrtten with heavy ellipsis in the style of Celine. Great passage during the picaresque section regarding how "Half a dozen hairy, albino men, almost completely naked and continuing the process of undressing as they moved, shuffled about, muttering and chuckling, poking at the woman and the fire with sticks that they carried and clutching at their loins repeatedly" (163). Very srancy. Puts paid to the antagonist of volume I, while focusing on the attempt to undo the narrator's counterstroke against the antagonist in the first installment. New antagonist conveniently arises. Recommended for goat-horned greasers, ewoks with firearms, and those with dresses sufficiently torn to reveal a lovely, voluptuous form.

  26. 5 out of 5

    G33z3r

    The 2nd book in Zelazny's Amber series picks up Corwin's story just about where Nine Princes in Amber left off. We visit some Shadows (alternate worlds), find Corwin is the Archetype of whom both King Arthur & Charlemagne are shadows, and we get back to another assault on Amber to settle the succession (or is it regency?)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kylie

    2.5 stars, same as the first book. I don't feel like I know enough about the characters or the world to fully appreciate it. Already 75% of the way through the third one and that's getting remedied slightly.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kimberley doruyter

    a very very small part of the book made me drift of but other then that it is just as good as the first.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bob R Bogle

    What’s most striking to me about The Guns of Avalon is just how different it is from Nine Princes in Amber, which is such as headlong plunge into action and adventure, an endless chain of surprises that grabs the reader by the neck and won’t relinquish the grip until the last page. The Guns of Avalon is no slouch-read, but our first-person-singular hero, Corwin, is finally able to draw a breath and start reflecting on deeper meanings, both plot-wise and with respect to his own interpersonal rela What’s most striking to me about The Guns of Avalon is just how different it is from Nine Princes in Amber, which is such as headlong plunge into action and adventure, an endless chain of surprises that grabs the reader by the neck and won’t relinquish the grip until the last page. The Guns of Avalon is no slouch-read, but our first-person-singular hero, Corwin, is finally able to draw a breath and start reflecting on deeper meanings, both plot-wise and with respect to his own interpersonal relationships. Slowly, issues of morality begin seeping in. Slowly. The issue of sexism is best dealt with upfront. To a degree it’s an issue of time, culture, and social mores; that is to say, it’s not exactly fair to project current mores onto the past. Hemingway is often accused of sexism, although he lived in a time in which few women were employed outside the home, and frankly, I imagine few women of his time would have accused him of sexism once the word/concept was explained to them. But although I say that it’s not exactly fair to level this kind of anachronistic criticism, nevertheless I think some such criticism is within the sphere of fair play, for even if our society finds some behaviors acceptable, we are all possessed of consciences and we can think and feel for ourselves. I guess I think of Zelazny as a somewhat sexist writer, although he’s probably not less liberated than were most science fiction writers of his era. When you’re writing SF novels primarily for adolescent males and their twenty-something cohorts, as those writers were, your readership doesn’t tend to be too preoccupied with strong, intelligent female leads. The presence of female characters in SF novels from the 60s, 70s, and early 80s more often was to serve more immediate physical concerns of macho male characters. Thus in this novel Corwin scarcely mourns the loss of one woman (Lorraine) before gallivanting with another (Dara). More problematic for Zelazny is the physical violence which Corwin directs against Lorraine. When she reveals to him an instant of second-sight which she experienced, he calls her a liar and slaps her. Now even Humphrey Bogart – who, let’s face it, quite often played Zelaznyesque characters – liked to slap his dames around too, but this really is jarring, I think, for Zelazny, and it doesn’t show Corwin in a very favorable light, either. What troubles me most about the Lorraine bit is not Corwin’s striking her, but her lack of a response, and the fact that she has this role of being a battered woman. Corwin initially plays in contrast to that, the noble prince, etc., but then he joins in. It’s as if Lorraine is a woman whose purpose is to be used and abused, and one wonders why Zelazny felt it necessary to include her in the story. In part I think it’s because she begins to instill the motif of guilt, in parallel to the advancement of the dark Circle. I’ll allow Zelazny this much slack: at least the Dara we see in The Guns of Avalon is smart, attractive, and strong. It’s her facile repartee that most readers, including adolescent males, find appealing about her. For reasons important to the plot, Dara had to be very young, and this creates the problem of favorably portraying Corwin’s relationship with her. I conjecture this was an important reason for the inclusion of the Lorraine episode: Zelazny needed to balance a mature relationship against that which Corwin had with Dara lest we misconstrue Corwin/Zelazny as disturbingly interested in cradle-robbing. Corwin’s involvement with Lorraine (and previously with Moire in Nine Princes) convinces us (in terms of early 1970s thinking when the book was written) that he is a healthy male and inoculates him against any other suspicions. Lorraine’s then handily eliminated by the author in order to clear the way for Dara. In Nine Princes Corwin scarcely had time to think. Now he has more time, but he’s still behaving a bit brutishly. I believe that Zelazny did this intentionally, revealing a Corwin who is slowly adapting from being a reactive hothead and is moving toward becoming a more considerate and thoughtful character. Certainly Corwin receives many hints that an assault against Eric might be perceived as being ill-advised, and yet he keeps suppressing these unwanted flashing yellow lights and proceeding with his own vengeful plans. Corwin’s slowly dawning sense of morality begins here and continues in later volumes. He temporarily reflects on his own evil when Lorraine is buried: “. . .a Prince of Amber is part and party to all the rottenness that is in the world . . . In the mirrors of the many judgments, my hands are the color of blood. I am a part of the evil that exists in the world and in Shadow.” At one point he reflects rather cynically on using Shadow shock troops to fight his wars. “The morality of it did not especially trouble me this time . . . I might also consider them mercenaries being paid in spiritual coin. What difference did it make whether they fought for money or for a belief? I was capable of supplying either one when I needed troops.” It may not bother him, but it is bothersome, for surely by such rationalization do many warlords lead their duped troops into mortal battle. Indeed, this observation caused me to pause and reflect for a while before continuing on. We do have the action-adventure story to draw and hold our attention, but despite Corwin’s protestations, were the better angels of his being also whispering caution into his ear? “I’ve a funny, nervous feeling, Corwin,” Ganelon later says, “as though something terrible is about to happen,” and all the hints throughout the novel that Corwin is hell-bent on making a serious blunder hurtle toward fruition. He is being played just as he is playing his own shock troops, as he belatedly, reluctantly, begins to admit to himself. To a degree this novel is about Corwin being confronted by his own selfishness and blind ambition. The problem of the first book was to condense enormous amounts of plot into a very thin volume, which Zelazny did preposterously well. In some ways this book is more complex. The surprises unfold as they must and Zelazny advances the tale masterfully, although I suspect he might have wished he had been able to tell the story in fewer words. That’s just a guess. He does a fine job with Dara’s character, and the rich, magical world he’s created continues to expand.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lilyan

    I'm unsure about this series. It bores me a lot at times with it's random events. Some areas remind me of the Gunslinger, a boo I did not enjoy at all. Yet, there is something endearing about it. It might be Corwin's character. He is likeable and interesting. However, a whole series cannot rest on the shoulders of one character's likability. No one else stands out. The others just feel like after thoughts. I might also dislike this series because of the audiobook narrator. He's not that good and I'm unsure about this series. It bores me a lot at times with it's random events. Some areas remind me of the Gunslinger, a boo I did not enjoy at all. Yet, there is something endearing about it. It might be Corwin's character. He is likeable and interesting. However, a whole series cannot rest on the shoulders of one character's likability. No one else stands out. The others just feel like after thoughts. I might also dislike this series because of the audiobook narrator. He's not that good and really annoys me at time. Maybe reading it would have given me a better experience. Anyway, I don't really know whether I want to continue. I don't care about Amber or what happens to Amber. The whole black road thing is just too abstract, so is the dimension shifting travel. Don' even get me started on "Amber's enemies". Really weird shit. Do I want to spend time reading/listening to another of those books? Do I? No. Actually I don't. So many books out there, so little time. Good bye Corwin. I'm glad I gave you a shot but alas, we were not meant to be.

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