Roger Zelazny’s first novel of the series introduces us to Corwin, whose tale begins in a hospital where he awakens with total amnesia. He must piece his identity together with scanty clues. Exiled to Earth (as we know it) years before by his brother Eric, Corwin finds that he is a Prince, and one of the heirs to the throne of Amber, the “real” World. (All other worlds, including our own, belong to the realm of Shadow.)
Reacquainted with two siblings, his sister Flora and brother Random, Corwin learns, gradually, of his true identity even as Eric (the brother who exiled him), fearing his return to Amber, sends thugs and killers after him as well as Random.
Corwin and Random return through magical means (after a couple of readings you realise that the shift into Amber is a mental change that changes surroundings to reveal the “real” that is Amber) to Amber. There Corwin’s memory is restored through an ordeal involving a magical Pattern, in a mystical city (aided by another sister he rescues on his way – Deirdre), and the fight against Eric is quickly joined.
The plot moves swiftly and packs in exciting swashbuckling scenarios. (No spoilers since this is a review) Zelazny’s concepts are detailed, and he doesn’t rush the tale… rather it unfolds as you read.. neither too slow nor too fast; the reader is as lost as Corwin and so the book holds on to you.
Zelazny enchants you with pure imaginative magic. Detailed descriptions of the surreal adventure from our world to Amber, and to the undersea city of Rebma. The dated/medieval language in passages is charming and fits with Corwin’s returning memory… you sink into his world as the ground solidifies under his feet.
An absorbing read. Highly recommended.
A book designer, Arati has always enjoyed books and the world of imagination that they open up. She is extremely accident-prone, due entirely to absent-mindedness caused by thinking about books and their contents, instead of paying attention to what she's actually supposed to be doing. She reads multiple books simultaneously, and her choices range from cookbooks and design manuals to fantasy, crime and Regency romances.
She lives and works in London, UK and sells her art on paper and textiles at Etsy