'The Amber Chronicles' by Roger Zelazny, a classic fantasy series

I've re-read Roger Zelazny's 'The Amber Chronicles' series more times than I can recall. I've worn out two copies of this complete collection, and lost countless individual copies of the component books. This fantasy series begins with Nine Princes in Amber, and is one of my favorite fantasy series.

When the story opens neither we nor our hero, Corwin, know what's going on. He is lost in a coma and awakens with amnesia, which we are led to understand is the result of a recent car accident that should have left him dead. Corwin goes on to discover who he is by threatening pretty much everyone he meets. It works.

We are introduced to a magical universe in which Chaos and Order are polar extremes physically represented by their ruling families, neither of which truly represent the dictionary definitions of either term. The Great Pattern of Amber appears chaotic in its order, while the ever changing Logrus of Chaos somewhat more predictable. Both are manifestations of the power and state of their influence.

Corwin is a scion of Order. That kingdom is under siege, perhaps due to his own powerful curse. The adventure follows his path through the various realities that exist between Chaos and Order, known as Shadow, and we later follow the path of his son Merlin, as both attempt to find the balance between the two realms.

Zelazny's Amber Chronicles are somewhat dated but still wonderful. The characters are colorful and fun. I love that Zelazny builds empathy, trust and maybe even love, for Corwin, a lead character who seems to have very few redeeming qualities. The universe he imagined is one I enjoy returning to.

Roger Zelazny's The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10 (Chronicles of Amber)

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