May 12, 2010

The Courts of Chaos

The Courts of Chaos (The Chronicles of Amber Series, Book 5)Title : The Courts of Chaos
Author : Roger Zelazny
Reading Dates : 7 May - 12 May 2010

The Chronicles of Amber Series. The Courts of Chaos is the 5th book in Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber series. The first 5 novels in the series, known as the Corwin Cycle, tells the story of Prince Corwin from his viewpoint :
  • Nine Princes in Amber
  • The Guns of Avalon
  • Sign of the Unicorn
  • The Hand of Oberon
  • The Courts of Chaos

Book Summary of The Courts of Chaos.
Here, Corwin is finally offered the Crown of Amber, that which he has sought for many centuries. And by his own father, Oberon no less. However, he comes to realize that he never wanted the throne in the first place. He had sought to rule Amber more out of hatred for his older brother, Eric. With Eric's death, so too dies his desire for the throne. Although disappointed, Oberon accepts Corwin's decision.

Oberon then tasks Corwin to deliver the Jewel of Judgement to the rest of the family fighting against the Courts of Chaos. Oberon does not accept to live after repairing the Primal Pattern. As their means of communication and travel via the Trumps will be temporarily closed as well, the only way is for someone to travel via Shadow and deliver the Jewel personally. Corwin will have to stay ahead of the storms generated after the repair of the Pattern as well as interference by the Courts of Chaos.

Along his journey, Corwin is tricked into believing that their father failed in repairing the Pattern. He then creates a new Pattern of his own. Corwin succeeds but loses the Jewel to Brand. Using the power of the Pattern, Corwin travels to the Courts seeking Brand. He arrives in time to watch his family win against the armies of Chaos but lose both his closest sister and the Jewel. Deirdre is killed and the Jewel lost as Brand pulls them down together with him when he plunges to his death.

All is thought to be lost until the their grandmother, the Unicorn, arrives to proclaim Amber's new king and return the lost Jewel. Random uses the Jewel to disperse the storms successfully. Just as important, Corwin and his son Merlin even begin a tentative relationship.

Book Review of The Courts of Chaos.
The Courts of Chaos is my least favoured book in the Corwin Cycle. However, I did take an inordinate amount of time to finish the book, simply because I didn't want to part from Amber and Prince Corwin too soon. Aah ... parting is such sweet sorrow. I have enjoyed my journey with Corwin and wish that I could prolong it but all good things must come to an end. Truly, I have enjoyed Corwin's mix of honour and guile. While the hero would like to believe in the inherent goodness of human nature, he also has absolutely no problem with using trickery in winning fights. Thus, he strives to save Amber at risk of his own life. And so thus, he ignominiously kills off an opponent from the Courts of Chaos seeking a duel with Corwin. This is the true attraction of the main protagonist from the Corwin Cycle. You just can't help liking Corwin even if he uses deceit and guile as weapons because above all he is a practical man. What use is honour if it gets you killed before you can finish the task at hand ? Unfortunately, therein also lies the weakness of this last book. We simply do not get to watch Corwin exercise his strange duality much in the book since he spends so much of it alone. The best of the series has to be the first book, Nine Princes in Amber. Corwin may have helped win the day for Amber in this fifth book and the Unicorn may have decided Amber's new king, but Corwin's search for his lost past was infinitely more interesting.

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  1. That's a great sounding book, I love the character names!

  2. I LOVE the Amber Chronicles. Seriously, some of my favorite books.

    I found you from a book bloggers site. You have a new follower :)

    My book-related blog is It's to hypothetically say who should be cast is a book ever gets turned into a movie. It looks like you and I have similar taste in books, you should come join our discussions!


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