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Publisher's Summary

Nine Princes in Amber is the first of the 10 books that are 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.

The Audible audio rendition of this classic sci-fi/fantasy series is kicked off by 2012 Audie Award nominee, Alessandro Juliani, who reads the first five books that make up the Corwin Cycle and whose narration vividly brings the world of Amber to life.

Amber is the one real world, of which all others including our own Earth are but Shadows. Amber burns in Corwin's blood. Exiled on Shadow Earth for centuries, the prince is about to return to Amber to make a mad and desperate rush upon the throne.

From Arden to the Pattern deep in Castle Amber which defines the very structure of Reality, Corwin must contend with the powers of his eight immortal brothers, all Princes of Amber. His savage path is blocked and guarded by eerie structures beyond imagining impossible realities forged by demonic assassins and staggering Forces that challenge the might of Corwin's superhuman fury.

©1970 Roger Zelazny (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 2012-08-13

Great book, lame deal!

Any additional comments?

Gave this series a try and was very surprised at the excellent narration and story line. I like the mix of the modern age with the Avalon mythology. For a book that was written in the 70's the story still seems current and not antiquated. I would like to finish the whole series but do not like that these short 5 hour books are sold separately instead of being grouped together. It will definitely be expensive to get to the end and I'm sure Audible is counting on that. Great book, lame deal!

205 of 225 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joe
  • 2012-08-01

Great begining of the series

I have heard this book read by Roger Zelazny himself. Whereas he wrote an excellent story in this series, he himself is NOT a great dramatic actor. The reading by Allessandro Juliani really added to the series- When Zelazny himself read this book, I didn't notice any differences between characters when he read. Juliani's reading is superior and adds a lot of enjoyment to the series. I am not sorry I got this book again even after having heard the author's version of it. I am looking forward to seeing how the entire series feels now with Juliani's reading.

If you are like me and are looking for great new series, you might like this one. Fair warning: from what I recall, the series' quality did degrade towards the end, but the beginning parts was excellent; it climaxed, then left some questions unanswered. Through it all, though, it provides an enjoyable experience.

Everything isn't for everyone. This series has been around for a while so I'm sure a lot of people have opinions about it. Before you commit to it, please find out what other reviewers think. If there's a series you've enjoyed, please share it. Thank you.

76 of 84 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kat Hooper
  • 2012-09-19

Finally on audio!!

“I’d get what I needed and take what I wanted and I’d remember those who helped me and step on the rest. For this, I knew, was the law by which our family lived, and I was a true son of my father.”

When Corwin wakes up in a private hospital after driving his car over a cliff, he has no idea who he is. When he realizes that he has healed too fast and that he’s being drugged so he’ll stay unconscious, he decides that he better find out what’s going on.
The truth is strange: Corwin is one of the nine princes of Amber, the one true world, but for centuries he’s been exiled in the Shadowland we call Earth. The accident has actually dislodged the spell that his brother Eric was using to keep him out of Amber because Corwin is the biggest threat to Eric’s sovereignty there.

Nine Princes in Amber is the first (rather short) installment in a long epic that describes, from Corwin’s perspective and later his son’s, the struggle of his family to deal with both their internal treacheries and the evil forces that assail them from the forces of Chaos. In Nine Princes in Amber, Corwin must figure out who he is, assess his resources, gather some allies, wonder whether his father is dead or alive, and make a move on the throne of Amber. Here we learn what Corwin has been doing for centuries on Earth, meet several of his siblings, discover the way in and out of Amber, meet a race of people who live under the sea, and discover some of the special powers of Corwin’s family.

Ah… Corwin’s family… if you can call them a “family.” Corwin’s own description for them is “Machiavellian,” and that about covers it. Corwin and his brothers and sisters are clever, sophisticated, sarcastic, and extremely ambitious. They constantly scheme and plot to outmaneuver each other as they vie for political power. If you knew these people in real life, you’d probably hate them, but in Zelazny’s hands they’re kind of charming. These are people who plan to live forever, have the ability to design their own worlds to plunder, are incapable of trust, and have no reason to think about anyone other than themselves. In the end, Corwin rages against his brother and makes a rash decision that will negatively affect Amber’s future.

THE CHRONICLES OF AMBER was highly imaginative when it was published in the 1970s and it remains fresh and original today. The magic system is creative, Zelazny’s writing style is solid, the story is fast-paced, exciting, and mature. Plot twists and cliffhangers make it hard to stop reading. You’ll definitely want to have The Guns of Avalon, the second book in the series, ready to go as soon as you finish Nine Princes in Amber.

Nine Princes in Amber is a re-read for me because Audible Frontiers has recently produced THE CHRONICLES OF AMBER on audio — something I have been waiting years for. They’ve chosen one of their best narrators for Zelazny’s most famous work: Alessandro Juliani. He’s got the perfect voice and style to play Corwin, so I’m really pleased with this production. If you’re an audio reader, you’ll definitely want to download this classic!
Originally Posted at FanLit.

42 of 49 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Darwin8u
  • 2017-05-08

All Roads Lead to Amber

"If danger was the price of memory and risk the cost of opportunity, then so be it. I'd stay."
- Roger Zelazny, Nine Princes in Amber

Let me throw my biases out in front. I am not a fan of fantasy. I have a sister-in-law who reads a lot of fantasy and has shelves and shelves of elves and elves and I mock her almost to tears about it. I view a lot of the genre filled with derivative crap. But, I have found a couple gems. I loved Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, White's The Once and Future King, and Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun. Anyway, I was asking a bunch of friends for their recommendations for BIG BOOKS and one of my friends recommended The Great Book of Amber. My first impulse was to say no, but he asked why not? I respect this friend and figured I'd at least give the Corwin books (the first five books of the Amber Chronicles) a shot this year.

So, Nine Princes. It was interesting. Not great, but Zelazny has an almost Hemingway/hard-boiled way with dialogue and prose. The structure of the book (amnesia of the main protagonist) was a novel way to introduce the series and allowed the world/universe to unfold gradually. These books are obviously creative genre pulp, and probably very good fantasy. I'm not sure yet, however, if I would say they are GREAT literature. But so far, I'm intrigued enough to read the next several. If for no other reason than it does what trash/pulp novels are supposed to do. Entertain, without too deep or hard a commitment. Under that consideration, it was a success.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lauffeuer
  • 2012-08-02

A Return to Amber

I feel downright presumptuous to be writing a review for this novel. It is a classic, a keystone, the start of a series that has inspired and shaped the realm of fantasy literature. It is from an era when quality took precedence over quantity. If you enjoy fantasy literature you should give this a try, and even if you don’t enjoy this work, you will at least be able to talk about it when your fellow fantasy nerds start waxing philosophical. Zelazny has been praised by current giants like Neil Gaiman and George R. R. Martin. He is an author’s author.

Allessandro Juliani gives a solid performance but not outstanding. I’ve heard better but I’ve also heard far worst. Part of the problem may well be that I have lived with these characters in my head for a decade and a half, and so I brought my own view of how their voices sound. I will have no problem continuing the series with Juliani as the narrator, and I have a feeling he will grow on me.

Now, as had been mentioned, not everyone who liked the first books has the same view on the second set of books (6-10). I enjoyed them just as much as the first. They had a different main character, expanded the abilities of the characters and the nature of the setting, and focused a little more on exploring that growth and so focused a little less on the characters at times. I enjoyed the differences, but I understand not everyone did.

I am enjoying my own return to Amber, I hope the same for each of you.

36 of 43 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2012-07-31

All roads lead to Amber

What did you love best about Nine Princes in Amber?

The story is compelling and fascinating. I love the transitions between the different worlds and the way Zelazny worded them.

What other book might you compare Nine Princes in Amber to and why?

I cannot think of a comparison that equals these first five books. They are of themselves a very good body of work.

Which character ??? as performed by Allessandro Juliani ??? was your favorite?

Corwin of course. He rocks

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I named my youngest daughter Amber and would have named a boy Corwin. How's that for extreme? My wife and I both enjoyed the Amber series maybe a bit too much, but what a great escape from this world.

Any additional comments?

A must listen. And I listen to a lot of books.

30 of 38 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • breckoz
  • 2012-08-10

Narration is well done

This is my among my top favorite science fiction series. This is Roger Zelazny's best work and he is a well known inspiration amount other top selling authors. I have heard Zelazny's reading of this book and bought this version primarily to see how Alessandro Juliani would pull it off. I still think Zelazny made a better Corwin, but Juliani's version of Random was more mousy and fitting. There was also a better distinction and animation of the other characters as well.
Only for Zelazny would I buy a book twice. So, if you haven't read/listened to this yet you are missing out.

16 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • M.
  • 2013-10-17

Solid hero with amnesia meets dues ex machina

If you could sum up Nine Princes in Amber in three words, what would they be?

cliche, enjoyable, romp

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Most interesting: the universe of Amber is wonderful to take a wander through. Sort of a Platonic Ideal with shadows through which a certain privileged family may travel.

Least interesting: the way stumbling blindly through the story still seems to keep turning out all right.

What about Alessandro Juliani’s performance did you like?

Very likable Corwin/Corey. Very similar to the voice in my head when I first read the book.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not really, chuckle occasionally but no serious belly laughs.

Any additional comments?

Start of a decent series and lays the foundation for an excellent role-playing game if you're into that sort of thing.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Lore
  • 2013-01-07

Not sure what the others reviewers see in this

I was looking for a good series of books to listen to on car trips that are about 5-6 hours long and this series seemed perfect. Since it is a long series of books in a genre I love with pretty good reviews I picked up the first 2 books during one of Audible's promotions.

Now after having listened to the first book I regret owning the second. Unlike many of the positive reviews I read on this site I did not read the book long ago so my impression is not warped by nostalgia.

The characters have little depth, large events are rushed through, and the narration by Alessandro Juliani is mediocre at best. I found myself with no attachment to the main character Corwin and his other family members are equally uninteresting. Not enough information was ever given about Amber itself for me to care about who rules it so the story arc of Corwin trying to retake it held no suspense for me. Battles were rushed through with little detail and in the end I found myself just wanting the book to be over so I could spend my time listening to something better.

Alessandro Juliani wasn't horrible and he does do a variety of voices, but his narration as the main character Corwin is stiff and boring. It made it seem like Corwin cared as little about the outcome of the story as I did. I wouldn't shy away from other Juliani narrations though because I could tell that he has the talent to do a better job with different material.

So my advice would be to steer clear unless you have fond memories from having already read the book as those reviewers seem to be very satisfied with this offering.

41 of 58 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Books4Days
  • 2015-12-25

As Good As I Remembered!

I remember being enthralled with these books back in the early 80's and was excited to see them available on audible. The tale seems to be timeless - I haven't read them in at least a couple of decades, and although I knew the story, the audible presentation seemed fresh to me. There is some dating to it, although it doesn't hurt the story. For instance, in the 70's and 80's, smoking was still in vogue, and Corwin does a lot of it; whereas that practice has since lost it's cultural appeal. This is Vintage Sci-Fi/Fan well worth a read/listen.

Alessandro Juliani did a great job. His matter-of-factly, first-person narration of Corwin of Amber was spot on.

Put on your headphones and let Zelazny and Juliani walk you through the shadows of Amber.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful