Title: Nine Princes in Amber
Author: Roger Zelazny
Series: Chronicles of Amber #1
He wakes after an accident, with only lingering memories of the trauma and none at all from before . . . And memories, what flickers he recovers, paint a strange picture.
Corwin is one of nine brothers (and several sisters) of Amber, the only real world, of which all others are Shadows. But his various talents have come up against the might of his siblings—particularly his brother Eric. All of them want the throne of Amber. Only one of them will get it. Corwin aims to be that one.
This is a terse, tight book, which reads quickly. The prose is economical, with short descriptions and pointed dialogue, so in some aspects it’s very much like a thriller. The fantastic gradually seeps in round the edges. I like how the story doesn’t feel the need to explain everything, either. Corwin has a few intriguing hints about his family that he deliberately leaves hanging.
That said, it was kind of hard to root for Corwin once he started remembering, and especially once he got his full memory back. The royal siblings have a very dysfunctional family, Corwin most definitely included, so it was more like rooting for the least-bad of the bunch. Especially near the end, when his brushes of compassion drown under avenging himself against Eric, I didn’t want to see Corwin on the throne even though I wanted Eric off it.
It’s still a fun read, and a pretty short one, especially if you like anti-hero protagonists. I rate this book Recommended.