Review of Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny

SFFaudio Review

Fantasy Audiobook - Nine Princes in Amber by Roger ZelaznyNine Princes in Amber
By Roger Zelazny; Read by Alessandro Juliani
5.5 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: 2012
Themes: / Fantasy / Siblings / Royalty / Swordplay / Magic /

Before Joss Whedon, there was Roger Zelazny. I thought this at some point during this time through Nine Princes in Amber, a book I revisit now and then. Zelazny’s dialogue is snarky and the story quick and interesting. Figure out how to depict the road to Amber, and the Amber novels would make an excellent television series. If Joss wrote this, though, the women in the story would have stronger roles.

My reason for re-reading this was the publication of a new unabridged audio version from Audible Frontiers. Alessandro Juliani narrates, and makes the story even better. Before this, the only unabridged recording that existed was read by Zelazny himself. I’ll definitely keep those audiobooks – Zelazny has a very distinctive voice – but Juliani’s reading fleshes out the character of Corwin so well that it makes the book more entertaining.

The novel is told in first person from Corwin’s point of view. At the opening, Corwin wakes up in a hospital bed with memory loss. As he figures things out, so do we. He learns that he’s a quick healer, that he’s got some skills, and that he has a sister. Further along he realizes more – he’s part of a royal family of Amber, the only true world. There’s magic and intrigue, there’s trumps and travels to Amber, there are creatures and mean princes. It’s wonderful. And it’s a short listen, coming in at only 5 1/2 hours.

If you like this one, listen to the other four in the series, all available on Audible. They are all great fun. After that, there are another five books. It’s excellent to see that Audible Frontiers is alert enough to change the narrator for those. Alessandro Juliani narrates the first five books, then Wil Wheaton takes over for the next five because those books are from another character’s point of view. Well done, Audible!

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

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Scott D.

Reviews Editor, SFFaudio

3 thoughts to “Review of Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny”

  1. Somehow I’d have thought that listening would make the book more difficult to understand because I remember it as being complex. That said, I realize I haven’t read this book for … my goodness, can it be 20 years or so? Time to revisit Amber, methinks.

  2. The first 5 volumes (the original series, the Corwin cycle) as recorded unabridged by Zelazny are available from SpeakingVolumes (http://www.speakingvolumes.us). Two of the second series as recorded unabridged by Zelazny (Trumps of Doom #1 & Sign of Chaos #3) are also available. They plan to release Knight of Shadows #4 in October and Blood of Amber #2 in November. Zelazny never recorded Prince of Chaos #5, the final volume of the second series (the Merlin cycle).

    #2 Blood of Amber read unabridged by Zelazny is kind of a “holy grail” since the unabridged tapes that were released by Sunset productions were #1 Trumps of Doom & #3 Sign of Chaos. Years go I lost on an eBay auction that was supposedly for an unabridged #2 Blood of Amber. It is not clear if Blood of Amber read by Zelazny really was ever released in unabridged format. If it was it was a very limited release as I found only one other reference by someone who claimed to have an unabridged version of Blood of Amber.

    They are digitally remastering the original recordings by Zelazny from the master tapes that were found back in 2006 (I think I have the date correct).

    The original release of The Hand of Oberon in unabridged format on tape by Sunset Productions had two readers Zelazny & Bruce Watson. Supposedly Zelazny was too sick by then to finish the reading. However, the unabridged recording as released by SpeakingVolumes is completely read by Zelazny. However, in the last part voices of other people in conversation are heard in the background. Apparently, a second mike was on in the control room (my assumption as to the place) while Roger read the last part. I guess he became too sick to reread that part before his death. SpeakingVolumes apparently has removed as much as possible of these background voices by digital processing.

    A Lonesome Night in October unabridged and read by Zelazny is also available. They also plan to release Eye of the Cat unabridged read by Zelazny but no date has been given yet.

    All of these Zelazny-read titles are available directly from SpeakingVolumes on CD or as MP3 downloads and the CDs are also available on Amazon.

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