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Amber, the one real world of which all others – including our own Earth – are but Shadows... For untold millennia, the cosmic Pattern sustained order in Amber and all the known worlds. But now the forces of Chaos have succeeded in disrupting the Pattern, unleashing destructive forces beyond measure... forces meant to reshape the universe. To save Amber, Corwin, prince of the Amber, the one real world of which all others – including our own Earth – are but Shadows... For untold millennia, the cosmic Pattern sustained order in Amber and all the known worlds. But now the forces of Chaos have succeeded in disrupting the Pattern, unleashing destructive forces beyond measure... forces meant to reshape the universe. To save Amber, Corwin, prince of the blood, champion of the perfect realm, must undertake the most perilous journey of his life. A journey that will take him through all the terrors of Shadows to the enemy's last stonghold. A journey beyond the very edge of existence... to the Courts of Chaos.


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Amber, the one real world of which all others – including our own Earth – are but Shadows... For untold millennia, the cosmic Pattern sustained order in Amber and all the known worlds. But now the forces of Chaos have succeeded in disrupting the Pattern, unleashing destructive forces beyond measure... forces meant to reshape the universe. To save Amber, Corwin, prince of the Amber, the one real world of which all others – including our own Earth – are but Shadows... For untold millennia, the cosmic Pattern sustained order in Amber and all the known worlds. But now the forces of Chaos have succeeded in disrupting the Pattern, unleashing destructive forces beyond measure... forces meant to reshape the universe. To save Amber, Corwin, prince of the blood, champion of the perfect realm, must undertake the most perilous journey of his life. A journey that will take him through all the terrors of Shadows to the enemy's last stonghold. A journey beyond the very edge of existence... to the Courts of Chaos.

30 review for The Courts of Chaos

  1. 4 out of 5

    Evgeny

    This is the last book of Corwin saga. It has everything you would expect from a conclusion of an epic. Final confrontations, mad villains, good people dying heroic deaths - with Amber itself at the stake. Basically this is the whole plot: the (still) sane members of royal Amber family desperately try to save their worlds from a total annihilation. All because somebody decided the current state of affairs is so bad it is better to wipe everything off and start from the scratch. Corwin himself chan This is the last book of Corwin saga. It has everything you would expect from a conclusion of an epic. Final confrontations, mad villains, good people dying heroic deaths - with Amber itself at the stake. Basically this is the whole plot: the (still) sane members of royal Amber family desperately try to save their worlds from a total annihilation. All because somebody decided the current state of affairs is so bad it is better to wipe everything off and start from the scratch. Corwin himself changed since his first appearance. From a selfish prince who thought the throne should be his just because, he became a person able to fully cast away his personal interests for the greater good. He also became more accepting of his family and his family became more accepting of him. I am afraid it came too late though. So Corwin saga is finished. All 5 books fit in around 600 pages total. During this tiny by modern standards page count Zelazny managed to create an interesting, exciting, and mysterious world (worlds in this case), fully developed interesting characters we can love and hate, and - my personal favorite - completely change readers' understanding of the world-building in each book. How did he managed to to all of these in a very limited number of pages? One of my friends said that it was magic and I fully agree: this is an great example of real-life magic. The book ends on a very sad and nostalgic note and I cannot help ending my review with the very last line: Taken in the context it is very impactful.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stjepan Cobets

    My rating 4.8 The book "The Chronicles of Amber # 5" by Roger Zelazny is a book that reveals many things. Faithful Corwin's companion Ganelon is, in fact, his father Oberon. Now that his father has taken over power, they are preparing for the war with The Courts of Chaos. His father intends to purge a true pattern of blackness that Brand has damaged with the blood of Amber's successor. But there is a great possibility that this attempt is unsuccessful and he sends Corwin to the way through the sh My rating 4.8 The book "The Chronicles of Amber # 5" by Roger Zelazny is a book that reveals many things. Faithful Corwin's companion Ganelon is, in fact, his father Oberon. Now that his father has taken over power, they are preparing for the war with The Courts of Chaos. His father intends to purge a true pattern of blackness that Brand has damaged with the blood of Amber's successor. But there is a great possibility that this attempt is unsuccessful and he sends Corwin to the way through the shadows, according to the Courts of Chaos. But his father, as a precursor first sends an army of Amber in the attack on the Courts of Chaos to keep them distracted as he embarks on a process of cleaning the pattern. Corwin will be in the process of traveling get a Judging Stone with which he needs to help, the Amber Army. But this will not be easy because his brother Brand at all costs wants to get to that stone to become the supreme ruler. As with the whole series so far, the writer leads us with your imagination to the end of the world and you simply have to enjoy it. For now, the whole series fulfills all my expectations and with pleasure, I read every book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ivana Books Are Magic

    The most perfect ending to the most perfect fantasy saga of all times. Being a bit melodramatic, am I? I reread all the books in the Corwin series, but none as often as The Court of Chaos. I lost count of how many times I have reread this one. Not only did it explain and connected everything nicely, the final novel in the series also manages to be the most beautifully written one. The Court of Chaos have the most poetical passages, I feel. They capture the spirit and the charm of this series per The most perfect ending to the most perfect fantasy saga of all times. Being a bit melodramatic, am I? I reread all the books in the Corwin series, but none as often as The Court of Chaos. I lost count of how many times I have reread this one. Not only did it explain and connected everything nicely, the final novel in the series also manages to be the most beautifully written one. The Court of Chaos have the most poetical passages, I feel. They capture the spirit and the charm of this series perfectly. As a said, it really is the perfect ending of Corwin's story. For me, The Courts of Chaos is, among other things, metaphysical poetry. This book is my spirit animal. Many characters reaper in The Courts of Chaos, most notably Dara. The traitor will also have a role to play. Other family members won't stand aside either, as it to be expected. At the start of the novel we find Corwin in a library (his place of comfort), and soon enough Random meets Corwin. Random was a significant character in all the novels, and I felt that Random and Corwin really connected in the fourth one. It was interesting to see how the personal grown of one mirrored the other. When Random pledges his alliance to Corwin in the first novel, they are both charming but selfish princes, and it is amazing to see them both grow up as people. In The Courts of Chaos, Corwin will have to play it solo for most of the novel, as he will be forced to hell ride like he has never hell ridden before, but by the end of the novel, Random will get the chance to shine again. I found the growing connection between them as touching as their personal growth. They have truly grown into different people. In words of Corwin: “I saw my earlier selves as different people, acquaintances I had outgrown. I wondered how I could ever have been some of them.” I said that Corwin will play it solo most of the way. This is the novel in which Corwin finally connects all the dots. He learns where has his father been all this time, and that's only the beginning. Corwin makes a choice to put the good of the realm before his own and even his father's ambitions. There is a timeless feeling to this last novel in the series, as is only befitting I guess for Corwin really managed to make himself a timeless flawed hero. Every time he walks the pattern, Corwin reveal more of his essence. In The Courts of Chaos Corwin reinvents himself. ...“And the man clad in black and silver with a silver rose upon him? He would like to think that he has learned something of trust, that he has washed his eyes in some clear spring, that he has polished an ideal or two. Never Mind. He may still be only a smart-mouthed meddler, skilled mainly in the minor art of survival, blind as ever the dungeons knew him to the finer shades of irony. Never mind, let it go, let it be. I may never be pleased with him.”

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kristy G. Stewart

    Here is where I'll put my opinion on the first five books. As a series, the worldbuilding is amazing, the characters intriguing, and the format is fast-paced. It's interesting to see a book where there are few characters that can claim clean hands, and it makes for a complex storyline. That said, I sometimes feel like there's a bit too much explaining going on (though the first book does a good job of making the explaining organic). I can't remember how many times the reader hears about the polit Here is where I'll put my opinion on the first five books. As a series, the worldbuilding is amazing, the characters intriguing, and the format is fast-paced. It's interesting to see a book where there are few characters that can claim clean hands, and it makes for a complex storyline. That said, I sometimes feel like there's a bit too much explaining going on (though the first book does a good job of making the explaining organic). I can't remember how many times the reader hears about the political intrigues of Amber from yet another viewpoint. While often the information involved in required, I wish there could be a better way to portray it, especially when it nears the end of the fifth book, when pretty much everything is about to be destroyed, and we take a time-out to hear another of Corwin's brother's political standpoints. Along with this, I feel that Zelazny goes on a bit too long wtih the hellrides. As cool as the formatting is, Corwin hellrides too many times, especially in the fifth book, for me to want to spend three pages in a psychadelic trip through countless universes. That said, of course, I must reiterate that I really enjoy these books. There aren't very many books I bother to re-read, especially nowadays, but I re-read the quintet just recently. The characterization is amazing, and the voice is unique. It also doesn't hurt that all five books average around 150 pages each.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Windup Bird

    Ah, man what a great ending to a great story. I know there are more books, but it feels like the major story arc started in book one has been resolved, and what a satisfying ending. I can't wait to see what becomes of Merlin and Corwin in the Courts, learn more of Corwin's new pattern, and also the state of Amber. On to "Trumps of Doom"!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Graeme Rodaughan

    First duty, then liberty shall be the whole of the law. Corwin, prince of Amber rises to face the threat of existential obliteration of all he holds dear. In the process discovering that his most defining characteristic is duty to others. Surrounded by tragedy, insanity, and a philosophical raven, Corwin completes a journey I wouldn't wish on anyone. As usual, Zelazny writes with verve, wit, and wisdom, delivered with an admirable narrative economy that brings to mind Blaise Pascal's famous quote. “ First duty, then liberty shall be the whole of the law. Corwin, prince of Amber rises to face the threat of existential obliteration of all he holds dear. In the process discovering that his most defining characteristic is duty to others. Surrounded by tragedy, insanity, and a philosophical raven, Corwin completes a journey I wouldn't wish on anyone. As usual, Zelazny writes with verve, wit, and wisdom, delivered with an admirable narrative economy that brings to mind Blaise Pascal's famous quote. “I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter." REF: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/2122... The upshot: Writing the way Zelazny does, packing narrative into a few well-chosen words, displays a powerful mastery of form and genre. Read this series, read this master of the fantasy genre.

  7. 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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    RJ from the LBC

    The final chapter in the original Amber series ties together all the story threads but leaves plenty of room for sequels. This book is probably the second best in the series (after the first one and perhaps tied with the second one) but won't be enjoyed as a stand-alone.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Corwin gets a quest and heads to Chaos, and leprechauns and The World Tree, a fitting ending to the first arc of the Amber series, enjoyed all 5 of the novels, onto the second arc now.

  10. 5 out of 5

    OhWell

    The ending was bittersweet, and I missed the humour of the previous books, but really, with what was at stake, how could I expect unicorns and rainbows? Oh wait, never mind about the unicorn part… :) On a serious note, it’s a solid read which wraps everything nicely, it’s just that I enjoyed it slightly less than its predecessors.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    In some ways, I enjoyed this one, the fifth in the Amber series, the most. The momentum built, the suspense, the twists and turns, the revealing of character traits, truth from lies. The way Zelazny tells this story is incredibly unique in the manner in which you learn the story, piece by piece, one more part of the puzzle. He kept me interested the whole time, and wanting more. He knows just when to give me more to keep me from getting frustrated and holding back just enough to keep my interest In some ways, I enjoyed this one, the fifth in the Amber series, the most. The momentum built, the suspense, the twists and turns, the revealing of character traits, truth from lies. The way Zelazny tells this story is incredibly unique in the manner in which you learn the story, piece by piece, one more part of the puzzle. He kept me interested the whole time, and wanting more. He knows just when to give me more to keep me from getting frustrated and holding back just enough to keep my interest piqued. Clever author, satisfying read. All in all, a wonderfully imaginative series every sci fi fan should read at least once.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kimberley doruyter

    wonderful. the battle, the journey and the sadness of passing. this would seem the natural end of the series, i'm glad it isn't.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cameron

    I'm going to write some general remarks that can serve for books 1-5(the Corwin books) and then break down my thoughts book by book. Likes: Zelazny is a great world builder... vivid imagery combined with his poetic writing leads to some pretty amazing visuals and really immersed me into these books. He has somewhat of a 70s, intellectual vibe to his prose which I really liked. It was a good combination for me, though I could see how this would irk some readers. There is plenty of political intri I'm going to write some general remarks that can serve for books 1-5(the Corwin books) and then break down my thoughts book by book. Likes: Zelazny is a great world builder... vivid imagery combined with his poetic writing leads to some pretty amazing visuals and really immersed me into these books. He has somewhat of a 70s, intellectual vibe to his prose which I really liked. It was a good combination for me, though I could see how this would irk some readers. There is plenty of political intrigue, the plot moves fairly steadily, and parts of these books were late night page turners. Dislikes: Characterization was a little weak (except for Corwin), but got better as the books went on. Differentiating a family of however many brothers and sisters is no easy feat though. Two things that started to turn me off by the end of book 5 were the hellrides and the recaps of previous books. The hellrides were a good idea in thought, but after reading so many it was hard not to skim when you realized they were not adding much to the plot. And... I... was... going... crazy... with... the... amount... of... ellipses. Since I read these books consecutively the recaps were repetitive and usually one character telling another character exactly what happened in the previous books for a couple of pages. This was probably nice if you were buying the books when they were coming out but wasn't for me! Fair warning, some small spoilers for all 5 books below. Nine Princes in Amber - One of my two favorites of the series. I thought Corwin's amnesia was really well done. He had a slow piece by piece recovery of his memory instead of an info dump which really got me in tune with the story. Learning about Amber, the shadow worlds, and the family along with Corwin was a great tool to get the reader engaged. Great beginning. The Guns of Avalon - Least favorite of the 5. To me, the whole search for special Amber gunpowder could have been condensed into about 20 pages, not a whole book. Still intriguing, but the plot just dragged in this one. Sign of the Unicorn - This book was mostly backstory and you get some great insight on the different views of all the family members which helped to flesh out their motivations. Not as action packed as the others, but I really enjoyed the cerebral, political style of this book. The Hand of Oberon - Other favorite of the series. This novel was pure, unadulterated action. The plot really begins to pick up as the story comes to a head. Pretty sure I finished this one in one sitting. Loved the twist at the end. The Courts of Chaos - After the setup of book number four, I was expecting a little bit more out of this book. The first half of this is a philosophical hellride that dragged a bit. Then Corwin finally gets to the Courts of Chaos and I am expecting a huge conflict and then... Unicorn saves the day. Two sides kiss and make up. Book over. The end felt a little rushed and anticlimatic. I did like Zelazny's choice for the King of Amber though! This series had it's up and downs, but at the end of the day it is a quality read. I gave all the books either a 3 or 4, so we will call the series a 3.5. Enjoyable enough that I will be moving on to the 5 Merlin books.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    "Sometimes it's damned hard to tell the dancer from the dance." - Roger Zelazny, Coruts of Chaos So, this isn't the bottom of the first five books in the 'Chronicles of Amber'. Actually, of the five books that make up the Corwin cycle (Books 1-5), it might be my favorite (so 3.5 ✷?). I haven't been impressed by the five enough to rush soon into the Merlin cycle (Books 6-10). I'll probably get there. I own all ten (The Great Book of Amber), but other books from other favorite authors remain unread "Sometimes it's damned hard to tell the dancer from the dance." - Roger Zelazny, Coruts of Chaos So, this isn't the bottom of the first five books in the 'Chronicles of Amber'. Actually, of the five books that make up the Corwin cycle (Books 1-5), it might be my favorite (so 3.5 ✷?). I haven't been impressed by the five enough to rush soon into the Merlin cycle (Books 6-10). I'll probably get there. I own all ten (The Great Book of Amber), but other books from other favorite authors remain unread and unless there is a sign, symbol, or signal somewhere that suggest that these later books will suddenly jump higher in my esteem, I'm finished for 2017 with Zelazny. The Courts of Chaos did produce a couple items I did enjoy, sort of: 1. A Zen, futilitarianst crow saying such things as: "You see, we are hatched and we drift on the surface of events. Sometimes, we feel like we actually influence things, and this gives rise to striving. This is a big mistake, because it creates desires and builds up a false ego when just being should be enough." Da FA? 2. Courtly dancers, treading to the slow measures of invisible musicians, that appear to be an allusion to the painting Dance to the Music of Time by Nicolas Poussin: "They dance to celebrate your passage. They are not mortals but the spirits of Time. They began this foolish show when you entered the valley." Um, OK? Anyway, the things I just gently mocked above are also probably WHY I give this an extra 1/2 ✷. That might make sense, or may not. I'm not going to strive to hard to explain.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mike Jordan

    "Sad. It would have been nice to go out with opera - in a big Wagnerian finale beneath strange skies, against worthy opponents - not scrabbling about in a foggy wasteland." That quote, an excerpt from Chapter 7 in this novel, sums up my thoughts on the final novel in the "Corwin-cycle" of the Chronicles of Amber. Zelazny ventures into a philosphical self-analysis of Corwin's character and motivations as he travels to the Courts of Chaos, but it seems a bit long-winded at times. The transitions th "Sad. It would have been nice to go out with opera - in a big Wagnerian finale beneath strange skies, against worthy opponents - not scrabbling about in a foggy wasteland." That quote, an excerpt from Chapter 7 in this novel, sums up my thoughts on the final novel in the "Corwin-cycle" of the Chronicles of Amber. Zelazny ventures into a philosphical self-analysis of Corwin's character and motivations as he travels to the Courts of Chaos, but it seems a bit long-winded at times. The transitions through shadows also seemed much longer than in previous novels. Still it's an interesting change of pace from the relentless plot twists in The Hand of Oberon. The ending is an anti-climatic, but fitting conclusion to the series, although there are some unanswered questions (presumably to set the stage for the Merlin cycle of novels), and certain things happen to Random that don't make a great deal of sense (If you've read it, you'll know what I mean). I'm being picky though. The series as a whole is nothing short of excellent, and Zelazny's playful-but-not-hokey writing style just make the novels fun to read. Highly, highly recommended!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    [3.5*] I can't say that the ending of this beloved saga is disappointing but after the previous perfect installment this one feels a bit of a letdown. It contains two of my least favorite things - travel through Shadow and a battle - and they occupy significantly more time than I think they should. Not much happens and whatever happens is not in any way unexpected. Plus I was hit by a major reading slump right in the midst of it and I can't be entirely sure that my waning interest for this novel [3.5*] I can't say that the ending of this beloved saga is disappointing but after the previous perfect installment this one feels a bit of a letdown. It contains two of my least favorite things - travel through Shadow and a battle - and they occupy significantly more time than I think they should. Not much happens and whatever happens is not in any way unexpected. Plus I was hit by a major reading slump right in the midst of it and I can't be entirely sure that my waning interest for this novel is not part of the reason for it. In any case, I am glad I reread the whole series and I still love the world that Zelazny created.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andreas

    It took 5 chapters to start Corwin smoking this time :) The first five books in the Amber series come to a conclusion with this book before Amber is continued with Merlin as the main protagonist. Corwin's boy isn't really introduced here but gets a soft hand-over to his own cycle by bringing him in in several scenes. It is a little bit artificial, but on the other hand it is good that he doesn't appear in a flash in the next book. The narrative is slower than the previous books, lots of psychedeli It took 5 chapters to start Corwin smoking this time :) The first five books in the Amber series come to a conclusion with this book before Amber is continued with Merlin as the main protagonist. Corwin's boy isn't really introduced here but gets a soft hand-over to his own cycle by bringing him in in several scenes. It is a little bit artificial, but on the other hand it is good that he doesn't appear in a flash in the next book. The narrative is slower than the previous books, lots of psychedelic descriptions of Shadow voyage - it reminds me of the first travel of Corwin with Random in his car towards Amber. And it is full of interesting self reflection and philosophical discussions. Concerning action, I really liked the hilarious drunken dwarf party. Some random encounters with unnamed foreigners make me wonder who they are and if they will play a role in the second half. The showdown with Brand is nearing. The first two fights are paced quite good and the effects are nice. Zelazny dives into Germanic Mythology: The worldtree Yggdrasil and Loki's thought - manifested as the bird Hugi - come along. I liked Zelazny's interpretation of both. A couple of weeks ago, I've been visiting Paris once more - and Corwin is there in his thoughts as well (view spoiler)[while waving a new pattern (hide spoiler)] : The Place des Vogues, Place de la Concorde, several Cafes, the Pigalle, the Seine - I have all those places in vivid memory and I loved having them mentioned within a fantasy book. And finally it got a nice, epic showdown and funeral and a soft, reflective epilogue. Not the high bang that some would have liked, probably, but very fitting to the series' style. This book is way better than the previous couple of books. Because Zelazny's strengths of inner monologue, philosophical discussions (like the discussions with Hugi about Absolute and desire), psychedelic travels and strange random encounters (like the drunken dwarves) and divings into mythology with Yggdrasil and Hugin are emphasized. I'd like to point out the very thorough discussion on Zelazny's influences, philosophy and mythology roundup at http://www.nyrsf.com/2012/07/suspende... I know that most people see it the over way round because they dislike exactly these features and liked the action parts more. But this is my personal preference.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erik Erickson

    "...the Courts of Chaos, a grossly non-Euclidean realm..." A satisfying and touching finish, despite its uneven start. This last chapter was the best, being a final adventure filled with wonderfully surreal encounters and phenomena.  Some details were probably inspired or borrowed from better-known predecessors. But like King did with The Dark Tower, they are woven together to create a new entity, unique in its own right. And Zelazny's epic must have provided things that became the basis for many "...the Courts of Chaos, a grossly non-Euclidean realm..." A satisfying and touching finish, despite its uneven start. This last chapter was the best, being a final adventure filled with wonderfully surreal encounters and phenomena.  Some details were probably inspired or borrowed from better-known predecessors. But like King did with The Dark Tower, they are woven together to create a new entity, unique in its own right. And Zelazny's epic must have provided things that became the basis for many of the principles at work in Roland Deschain's universe. I especially enjoyed the minor confrontation with the cannibalistic little people, which seemed deliberately borrowed - and twisted - from Swift. The quote above is another bonus, a Lovecraftian description of the titular realm.  "But it has far greater depth than originally conceded by critics and readers who dismissed it as lacking substance." This series is deceptively clever. It is full of allusions to other literature,  historical events and figures. Zelazny was having fun writing this, but he was also teasing and engaging the reader in a multifaceted discussion on the nature of identity, without dragging the plotting down.  The July edition of the New York Review of Science Fiction has an amazing essay that examines all of the brief, cryptic references and allusions. This bit of fantasy is more than just a minor sword and sorcery tale crossed with some science fiction. If you've finished this series (the first five), I highly recommend their article, available at http://www.nyrsf.com/2012/07/suspende...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    A fantastic end to a the Corwin Cycle of the Amber books. The characters have deepened amazingly & so much is tied up, yet there is plenty of room for expansion. What a wonderful world. I'm so sorry he never got to fill it in better. The first 5 books AKA The Corwin Cycle are followed by 5 books in the Merlin Cycle & then Betancourt wrote a prelude; a trilogy & the first book of a duology. IOW, it was supposed to be another 5 books. Unfortunately, the publisher folded after the first of the duolo A fantastic end to a the Corwin Cycle of the Amber books. The characters have deepened amazingly & so much is tied up, yet there is plenty of room for expansion. What a wonderful world. I'm so sorry he never got to fill it in better. The first 5 books AKA The Corwin Cycle are followed by 5 books in the Merlin Cycle & then Betancourt wrote a prelude; a trilogy & the first book of a duology. IOW, it was supposed to be another 5 books. Unfortunately, the publisher folded after the first of the duology (4th of the Oberon Cycle) & it is doubtful if the last book will ever be published.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mary Catelli

    This opens with Random demanding that Corwin open the door -- he brought food -- because Corwin is reacting badly to the revelation at the end of Hand, namely that (view spoiler)[Ganelon was really Oberon in disguise. (hide spoiler)] More revelations ensue. Who is designated Oberon's heir. What Dara was up to, and who was the warrior who spared Corwin in the Courts of Chaos. What they are going to do about the black road. And the grand conclusion to this series. This opens with Random demanding that Corwin open the door -- he brought food -- because Corwin is reacting badly to the revelation at the end of Hand, namely that (view spoiler)[Ganelon was really Oberon in disguise. (hide spoiler)] More revelations ensue. Who is designated Oberon's heir. What Dara was up to, and who was the warrior who spared Corwin in the Courts of Chaos. What they are going to do about the black road. And the grand conclusion to this series.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    I have grown quite fond of Amber I have to say. This was a nice conclusion to the first five books, but definitely left more to be desired in further books. I really was not expecting the story to progress the way it did. This is excellent fantasy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah (A French Girl)

    It genuinely was my list favourite from the series, unfortunately. Just not as exciting as the previous imo. Also, I kind of wished Corwin got the throne in the end. Nonetheless, glad to have finished the series.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Boyd

    Excellent fantasy series by one of my top 5 favorite writers. The complex cast of characters and the fast pace of the story pulls you in and sweeps you along for a great read. Very recommended

  24. 4 out of 5

    Martina

    Now this is how you conclude a series. The Courts of Chaos is an interesting book on so many levels. There is a shift in tone from The Hand of Oberon, which is a trick Zelazny employed earlier in the series, but once again I appreciated that immensely. It makes a lot of narrative sense, as The Courts of Chaos are in many ways the foil to Nine Princes in Amber. The events in the series have proven to be a vehicle of transformation for Corwin's character. In the first book, we followed a man who bl Now this is how you conclude a series. The Courts of Chaos is an interesting book on so many levels. There is a shift in tone from The Hand of Oberon, which is a trick Zelazny employed earlier in the series, but once again I appreciated that immensely. It makes a lot of narrative sense, as The Courts of Chaos are in many ways the foil to Nine Princes in Amber. The events in the series have proven to be a vehicle of transformation for Corwin's character. In the first book, we followed a man who bluffed his way through amnesia, went on a wonderous journey to Amber, regained his memory and then went on a crusade for the throne. A lot of plot points in the last book mirror those from the first book, yet the man we're following is not the same. Corwin's journey to the Courts of Chaos is a surreal ordeal, fraught with many dangers (some more obvious than the others). But Corwin is on a different type of crusade now, fighting tooth and nail for a higher cause. He has outgrown his ambition and realized what he truly wanted. (view spoiler)[Corwin could have accepted Oberon's offer to become king, but walking a couple of miles in Oberon's shoes opened his eyes about what it really means to run a country day after day. Corwin realized that his enmity with Eric was at the root of his desire for the crown and that being a king is not all it's cracked up to be. Corwin is not cut out for that type of life and I love that he openly rejected it when Oberon gave him the choice. (hide spoiler)] The novel doesn't end with a bang, which I found fitting. If anything the bittersweet tone makes it all the more memorable (view spoiler)[Especially the loss of Deirdre. Throughout the series we got subtle hints that Corwin felt more than brotherly love towards her, even though they never crossed that line. Nonetheless, she was his favorite family member and her tragic end leaves a mark on Corwin. (hide spoiler)] . The deus ex machina/apearance of the unicorn choice of king is also fitting (view spoiler)[Random has been an almost constant companion to Corwin on his travails and has undergone a similar transformation. He's not that selfish, inconsistent guy from the beginning of the series - he has grown into someone who cares for his family members and the good of the realm. (hide spoiler)] . All in all, I'm so happy I re-read the series. It has blown my mind anew.

  25. 5 out of 5

    ♥♫☻Olivia☻♫♥

    3.5 stars This series should have been one book and at least 200 pages shorter at that. I liked this conclusion to the series even though it dragged at some places (like Sign of the Unicorn or Guns of Avalon). The characters, other than Corwin, were mostly flat with almost zero character development over the five books. But the worldbuilding was amazing with such a wonderful concept at its core.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ioana Johansson

    I have finished the Corwin arc and along the way I had the feeling that this must be what someone experiences on LSD but in written form:) I've found the story compelling, juvenile, incomplete and strange all around but I have enjoyed it nonetheless.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I really love the Amber series and this was a satisfactory conclusion in that it gave someone the throne, killed off some people, had battles, and had a lot of resolution. That said, not that strong of book. The traveling through shadow bits are written in such a pointless boring way. I'm still glad I read this series and thankfully this one is quite short, so skim away if needed.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joe Kraus

    I’ve been a little hard on the recent volumes of this series, but this one delivers. It’s not just that this one is the climax of the plotting and planning. Nor is it that, given the clear structure of a good-guy/bad-guy showdown, it avoids some of the loose narrative of the third and fourth volumes. Instead it’s that this one culminates in a profound strangeness. It builds on the unsettling imagery and metaphysics of Amber, taking it to another level of experiential philosophy. This one doesn’t I’ve been a little hard on the recent volumes of this series, but this one delivers. It’s not just that this one is the climax of the plotting and planning. Nor is it that, given the clear structure of a good-guy/bad-guy showdown, it avoids some of the loose narrative of the third and fourth volumes. Instead it’s that this one culminates in a profound strangeness. It builds on the unsettling imagery and metaphysics of Amber, taking it to another level of experiential philosophy. This one doesn’t merely tell a story. It goes beyond that to imply a whole new way of imagining the real, but it does so in the pure speculative joy that opened Nine Princes in Amber. I may not be making much sense with all that. More concretely, what I most enjoyed here was Corwin’s passage through chaos to his – SPOILER – ultimately unsuccessful assault on the Courts of Chaos themselves. There are plenty of sword fights and hellrides and speculations about whodunit, but the highlight of this comes when Corwin meets a philosophically minded bird who feels all is vanity, or encounters a sentient tree who marks the boundary between the order of Amber and the chaos from which it was born. It’s when he’s venturing down a strange road – strange even by Zelazny’s standards – and the very nature of conflict gets overturned. Brand tries to waylay him a couple other times, but otherwise he runs into only those things that feel as if they are somehow allegories, but it’s never clear what they’d be allegories of. What do those leprechauns represent? Why are strangers giving him comfort even as he threatens their capital? It feels as if there ought to be an explanation, but there’s a narrative power in all of that getting subsumed by chaos – both the named chaos of the adversaries and the implicit chaos of a story that edges along the boundary of no longer making sense. It’s a strange quest and an even stranger narrating of it, but there’s a combination of philosophy, play of language, and fringing away from the conventions of genre that make it spectacular. I’ve flown through most of this Amber stuff, but this makes it all worthwhile and more. This is the top-notch work I remembered even as I’d forgotten the details of reading it more than 20 years ago. The ending is satisfying, giving us a sense that Corwin may have learned something about himself and about the nature of his family, but hardly rubbing it in. He more or less says directly that the motivations that drove him early have been exhausted. He hated Eric more than he craved the throne, and now there’s nothing left. He’s diminished by his victory, left empty as he stands at the precipice of being happy. All of that is sophisticated yet always in the service of fun. This may have aged a little over the last couple decades, but it still works for me. I’m sure I’ll take a break before I give the second five of these a shot. I recall those as being pretty good, though not as good as the original Amber. Having revisited here, I can’t quite claim this work stands as the very best that the fantasy genre has to offer, but it’s not far behind. I read it now, in part, to get rid of the taste of the bulging newer release I worked through earlier in the month. It was good timing, and I’m reminded that there has to be a better way to explore the genre than the current model of the 800-page beast.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    Siblings are at each other's throats, as they try to discover the true culprit in all of the deceptions and plotting. Meanwhile, a force is moving upon Amber, threatening their very existence. Dun dun dunnnnn The Courts of Chaos was a fast paced, but information dense novel that very neatly and satisfactorally wrapped up the first half of the Chronicles of Amber. I blasted through these novels, and loved every minute of them - I loved the shorter novels, the breakneck pace they brought, the uniqu Siblings are at each other's throats, as they try to discover the true culprit in all of the deceptions and plotting. Meanwhile, a force is moving upon Amber, threatening their very existence. Dun dun dunnnnn The Courts of Chaos was a fast paced, but information dense novel that very neatly and satisfactorally wrapped up the first half of the Chronicles of Amber. I blasted through these novels, and loved every minute of them - I loved the shorter novels, the breakneck pace they brought, the unique world, the interplay of the characters, the no-nonsense nature of the whole story. Frankly, it was the little things that got me with these books - concise dialogue when needed, but descriptive and thorough when that was needed. Battles that don't go on needlessly - even epic duels between siblings or, in the case of this book, between Corwin and a master swordsman bent on killing him, do not drag on for pages, describing every parry and thrust, every grunt and scrape and thought. They feel real, frantic, like a fight probably would be. And there's no BS about them - characters don't give big speeches and delay the inevitable, they just end the fight like a real person would. I appreciated that aspect more than almost anything else. All told, this half of the series was wonderful. I loved it, way more than I expected to, and I almost feel like reading it all over again.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

    I enjoyed the story, the concepts, and the fast-pace of these books. I give the whole series (the Corwin Cycle) four stars. My main complaint is that there are these nine brothers who are all pretty much indistinguishable as characters. Unless you memorize their names and "colors" early on, there is not much to tell one from the other. They all smoke. They are all tempermental. They all want power. They are all good fighters. They all speak with the same mannerisms. (Even when an entire chapter I enjoyed the story, the concepts, and the fast-pace of these books. I give the whole series (the Corwin Cycle) four stars. My main complaint is that there are these nine brothers who are all pretty much indistinguishable as characters. Unless you memorize their names and "colors" early on, there is not much to tell one from the other. They all smoke. They are all tempermental. They all want power. They are all good fighters. They all speak with the same mannerisms. (Even when an entire chapter is told from Random's POV, it sounds no different from Corwin.) So it took me until about midway through the fourth book before I really started to remember which brother is which. Same goes for the sisters, though there are not as many of them. One particularly notable feature was the vidid imagery. Zelazny has a talent for painting pictures with words. My imaginings of this story are colorful and detailed. Scenes and events stick out clearly in my mind.

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