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Alternate cover for ISBN 0380755017 / 9780380755011 Melvin Corey must choose between an alliance with the Pattern of Amber or the Logrus of Chaos, in a tale of a sometimes murderous family of wizards and their alternate worlds.


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Alternate cover for ISBN 0380755017 / 9780380755011 Melvin Corey must choose between an alliance with the Pattern of Amber or the Logrus of Chaos, in a tale of a sometimes murderous family of wizards and their alternate worlds.

30 review for Knight of Shadows

  1. 4 out of 5

    Evgeny

    A group read with Elena. The previous book ended with Merlin and some people practically destroying a castle hoping to regain it. They did - sure thing - but considering its condition after a big magic battle it was a Pyrrhic victory. In any way as a result Merlin neutralized some of his enemies and forced others into hiding. Before the poor guy had a chance to get some rest he was whisked into a strange monochrome world where he had to spend most of the time while dabbling in metaphysics. As a s A group read with Elena. The previous book ended with Merlin and some people practically destroying a castle hoping to regain it. They did - sure thing - but considering its condition after a big magic battle it was a Pyrrhic victory. In any way as a result Merlin neutralized some of his enemies and forced others into hiding. Before the poor guy had a chance to get some rest he was whisked into a strange monochrome world where he had to spend most of the time while dabbling in metaphysics. As a side effect he (and the readers) learn more interesting details about the world: let me just say it forced me to completely re-think my ideas about it. In the meantime other characters are busy plotting against each other. Some of these result in interesting development and surprises. One... character... (I am really stretching the definition here) found its voice and became very chatty. And humorous. Zelazny wrote great dialogs and this book is not an exception. As a conclusion: another fine entry in the series. While Merlin's journey in black-and-white world slowed things down a little, the payoff was well worth it. One more book to go. 5 stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stjepan Cobets

    My rating 4.5 This is the darkest part of the series. In addition to having problems with living family, now Merlin has a problem with new family members. He has problems with the dark and light sides because he is mixed blood and the fact that he does not want to take sides only creates new issues for him. There are more and more new enemies, and he doesn't know whom to trust at all. It's still tense, and lots of new developments in the story. My rating 4.5 This is the darkest part of the series. In addition to having problems with living family, now Merlin has a problem with new family members. He has problems with the dark and light sides because he is mixed blood and the fact that he does not want to take sides only creates new issues for him. There are more and more new enemies, and he doesn't know whom to trust at all. It's still tense, and lots of new developments in the story.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Merlin continues to search for his father, Corwin, and Mask, the mysterious usurper of the Keep of Four Worlds who is someone from Merlin's past, and Coral, Oberon's illegitimate child who dissappeared after walking the Pattern in the previous book. Along the way, he learns of the way of the Broken Pattern, nabs the Jewel of Judgement, and encounters Pattern Ghosts. Just what do mysterious forces have in store for Merlin? As I said in my review of the previous volume, the second Chronicles of Amb Merlin continues to search for his father, Corwin, and Mask, the mysterious usurper of the Keep of Four Worlds who is someone from Merlin's past, and Coral, Oberon's illegitimate child who dissappeared after walking the Pattern in the previous book. Along the way, he learns of the way of the Broken Pattern, nabs the Jewel of Judgement, and encounters Pattern Ghosts. Just what do mysterious forces have in store for Merlin? As I said in my review of the previous volume, the second Chronicles of Amber suffer from sequel-itis more than anything else. While Merlin's quest is interesting, I'd like it a lot more if I didn't have Corwin's tale to compare it to. All of the Broken Patterns and Pattern Ghosts are over-explaining the Pattern and destroying some of its mystery. And when is Merlin going to walk the Pattern Corwin wove at the end of the last Amber saga? So many questions and I have a feeling not all of them will be answered in book ten. Oh well, time to boat this bass. On to the thrilling conclusion!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Caro the Helmet Lady

    Do I still think that Corwin was a better character than Merlin? Yes. Do I care anymore about anything going on in the series? No. Do I feel like over-explaining kills the mystery of the world? Hell, yes. Am I still having fun? Well, I guess... sort of. All in all - ¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯ Onto the next one. The last one!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ivana Books Are Magic

    Knight of Shadows takes the flight into the metaphysical. A large portion of the book consists of Merlin being forced on a quests where the god like imaginary representing Order and Chaos forces (or better to say tries to force) Merlin to align himself with one of them. Merlin isn't exactly enthusiastic to choose between the two. This whole experience feels a bit psychedelic at times, but is beautifully written. The writer let his imagination played a bit wild here, maybe too wild for some, but Knight of Shadows takes the flight into the metaphysical. A large portion of the book consists of Merlin being forced on a quests where the god like imaginary representing Order and Chaos forces (or better to say tries to force) Merlin to align himself with one of them. Merlin isn't exactly enthusiastic to choose between the two. This whole experience feels a bit psychedelic at times, but is beautifully written. The writer let his imagination played a bit wild here, maybe too wild for some, but I like such imaginative writing. The previous books in the Merlin's circle were full of conspiracies and plot twists I didn't want to comment on because I wanted to avoid spoilers. So, I'll just say they were interesting. At the start of Knight of Shadows, Merlin makes startling discoveries about the nature of the know Universe. There is always more to find out about how Chaos and Amber function. I greatly enjoyed this one. For some it might be too metaphysical, but I liked learning more about Merlin. Seeing the other side of him, his identity link with the Chaos world was fascinating. With every book in the series we also get to learn more about his family in the court of Chaos. This one isn't as eventful as other books in the series, but I liked it a lot. I would say that Knight of Shadows is the perfect preparation for the final book in the series.

  6. 5 out of 5

    William

    Coral had her eye on more than one Amberite! I am loving Merlin's relationship with The Pattern, and The Logrus. It seems even Amber and The Courts are not immune to the power games of the elite, and I fully support Merlin's refusal to be used as a pawn. Giving them both the finger and finding a different way to do business was definitely the way to go. In the event of a cataclysmic conclusion resulting in the destruction of The Pattern and The Logrus, what would remain in the absence of order an Coral had her eye on more than one Amberite! I am loving Merlin's relationship with The Pattern, and The Logrus. It seems even Amber and The Courts are not immune to the power games of the elite, and I fully support Merlin's refusal to be used as a pawn. Giving them both the finger and finding a different way to do business was definitely the way to go. In the event of a cataclysmic conclusion resulting in the destruction of The Pattern and The Logrus, what would remain in the absence of order and chaos? OR, as my current theory goes, are these two cosmic powers misrepresenting themselves? Are they both merely super-powerful entities, possessed of common petty flaws? We've already seen Ghostwheel wonder if it was a god, what's to say The Pattern and The Logrus did not succumb to similar delusions of grandeur? The series just keeps getting better, and I cannot wait to read the conclusion.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Fred D

    Some say the second Amer Series focusing on Merlin was not as good as the original. I tend to disagree. I liked the second series for different reasons than the first. Corwin was more of a fighter, Merlin a magic-user. I enjoyed Zelazny's detailed descriptions of how Merlin cast spells. I enjoyed the humor in the second series more than in the first. Following the convoluted plot and intrigues and mystery was also very entertaining. Some say the second Amer Series focusing on Merlin was not as good as the original. I tend to disagree. I liked the second series for different reasons than the first. Corwin was more of a fighter, Merlin a magic-user. I enjoyed Zelazny's detailed descriptions of how Merlin cast spells. I enjoyed the humor in the second series more than in the first. Following the convoluted plot and intrigues and mystery was also very entertaining.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Ended better than it started. Didn't enjoy the quest any more than Merle did. Got better once the normal pace resumed. Ended better than it started. Didn't enjoy the quest any more than Merle did. Got better once the normal pace resumed.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Fantasy Literature

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  10. 5 out of 5

    AndrewP

    These books must have originally been serialized as each one is broken up into 12 chapters of around 20 pages each. Most of the story reads like that too, with an overall story arc but not much to separate one book from the next. This one is more of the same and often find myself thinking Zelazny was just making it up as he went along without much of a plan. Only one more book to go so I am hoping for a big payoff.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Magical AI has more to do in this volume and for me that's always a good thing. Onward to the the exciting conclusion. Magical AI has more to do in this volume and for me that's always a good thing. Onward to the the exciting conclusion.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    Summary review: Not my favorite of the series for sure, and not even my favorite of the Merlin cycle - seemed oddly rushed, which was something Zelazny had avoided previously, despite the shorter format of the books. I enjoyed it, as I have with all books in the series, but I sure didn't love it. Summary review: Not my favorite of the series for sure, and not even my favorite of the Merlin cycle - seemed oddly rushed, which was something Zelazny had avoided previously, despite the shorter format of the books. I enjoyed it, as I have with all books in the series, but I sure didn't love it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    William Gerke

    Penultimate of the Merlin books and one of the weaker entries. Large portions of it are taken up by an admittedly allegorical contest that, while sparking some interesting imagery, largely consists of Merlin running on a set of rails. The one really bright spark is a confrontation in the halls of Amber that does some serious damage to the local architecture. Adequate for what it is, but not Zelazny's best effort. Penultimate of the Merlin books and one of the weaker entries. Large portions of it are taken up by an admittedly allegorical contest that, while sparking some interesting imagery, largely consists of Merlin running on a set of rails. The one really bright spark is a confrontation in the halls of Amber that does some serious damage to the local architecture. Adequate for what it is, but not Zelazny's best effort.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chris Smith

    This book was a shallow disconnected mess that was very hard to stay interested in. The first half of the Amber books had its ups and downs in quality and entertainment, but I really feel like they've steadily gone downhill the last few installments. #9 was the kind of book that could kill a series. However, since I have invested the time into the first eight, and there is only one more to go in the 10 book series, I will finish it out nevertheless. This book was a shallow disconnected mess that was very hard to stay interested in. The first half of the Amber books had its ups and downs in quality and entertainment, but I really feel like they've steadily gone downhill the last few installments. #9 was the kind of book that could kill a series. However, since I have invested the time into the first eight, and there is only one more to go in the 10 book series, I will finish it out nevertheless.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Ideiosepius

    This was better! This book felt like after waffling around for a couple of books Zelazny finally figured out what he was doing with the story arc and the characters. This writing has regained the imaginative outlook and the vibrancy that I value so much in Zelazny's writing and the character of Merlin (while irrevocably an idiot) is less annoying when there are things actually happening. The writing actually picked up at the end of the last book Sign of Chaos and when this books starts Merlin, wi This was better! This book felt like after waffling around for a couple of books Zelazny finally figured out what he was doing with the story arc and the characters. This writing has regained the imaginative outlook and the vibrancy that I value so much in Zelazny's writing and the character of Merlin (while irrevocably an idiot) is less annoying when there are things actually happening. The writing actually picked up at the end of the last book Sign of Chaos and when this books starts Merlin, with his older and more interesting brother Mandor, has helped Jasra (for no good reason that ANYONE could EVER imagine) to reclaim the Keep of the Four Winds, (or whatever). This book starts with a great reveal of many things that the author could have done better, but was likely an attempt to get the plot back on track from the wilderness in which it was lost. The great reveal over, we get tantalising hints that Corwin may still be around and then Merlin gets sucked into a strange journey in a place beyond shadow, beyond the easy reach of either the Pattern or the Logrus and it becomes clear the two powers are duelling in some fashion and both are trying to get Merlin on their side. Now, I am still not completely satisfied with the plot logic, the characters or the individual events. Merlin is still in the running for moron of the century - the things he does are routinely so very idioitc you can only wince through them. Nevertheless, while I told myself maybe I needed a break before continuing with the series, I just could not! Within ten minutes of finishing this one I was reaching for the next...

  16. 4 out of 5

    RJ - Slayer of Trolls

    The fourth volume in the Second Chronicles of Amber, or the ninth book in the greater Amber series, whichever you prefer. has the job of setting up the final volume of the series. It therefore suffers from some of the "middle book syndrome" that plagues various fantasy books throughout history, including many of the Amber books. The story attempts to answer some of the questions raised by prior books in the series and takes the story in a new, unexpected direction but unfortunately the pacing is The fourth volume in the Second Chronicles of Amber, or the ninth book in the greater Amber series, whichever you prefer. has the job of setting up the final volume of the series. It therefore suffers from some of the "middle book syndrome" that plagues various fantasy books throughout history, including many of the Amber books. The story attempts to answer some of the questions raised by prior books in the series and takes the story in a new, unexpected direction but unfortunately the pacing is sluggish for most of the first half especially.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Slytherpuff

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. So far, this has been my favorite book within the second series. I loved how Merlin was forced into this place between Shadows and was forced to do several things at that place. I was certainly not expecting the ritual to happen or the meeting of the Pattern and the Logrus. I was definitely not expecting Luke to become the king of Kashfa.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ariel Hudnall

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. n6980Knight of Shadows by Roger Zelazny My rating: 4 of 5 stars The identity of Mask has been discovered, Merlin's brother is in league with entities desperate to kill him, and Coral, a dignitary's stepdaughter (and illegitimate child of Oberon) is lost after instructing the Pattern to conduct her to where she "should" go. Oh, right. The Pattern is sentient. And practically every other magic tool in Merlin's employ. Knight of Shadow has a bit of a misleading title, calling to mind images of a gallan n6980Knight of Shadows by Roger Zelazny My rating: 4 of 5 stars The identity of Mask has been discovered, Merlin's brother is in league with entities desperate to kill him, and Coral, a dignitary's stepdaughter (and illegitimate child of Oberon) is lost after instructing the Pattern to conduct her to where she "should" go. Oh, right. The Pattern is sentient. And practically every other magic tool in Merlin's employ. Knight of Shadow has a bit of a misleading title, calling to mind images of a gallant Merlin, fighting the forces of the Pattern and the Logrus (or Avalon and Chaos) as he attempts to find his father and Coral, and deal with Luke and Jurt. While I can say with confidence that there was a lot to enjoy in this book, there were also many things that frustrated me. On the one hand, Zelazny shows his master weaving of conflict and plots that intersect in wild and unexpected ways; on the other, Merlin spends the majority of the book doing a whole lot of nothing (critical elements of the plot instead given to the characters in his periphery), and not many of the runnings story lines resolved by the end. With only one more book to go, and that book being only 130 pages, I am worried that the resolution of all of these conflicts will not be dealt with in a way that will satisfy. However, I won't judge the book on future concerns. Rather, I'll focus on what I did like, and what I didn't, in Book Nine of the Book of Amber. Spoilers to follow. I think Mandor is starting to grow on me as a character. He has sort of a Vincent Price feel to him in my head, if Vincent Price was less into horror and more into fancy magic and playing Mandrake from King Comics. The scenes he was in were interesting, and I'm curious to see how his budding relationship with Jasra will play out in the final book, given that she pretty much duped everyone, despite their best efforts to see through he scheming. There are a LOT of characters. Like, a lot, a lot. And this book has a problem with names that sound way too similar (Mandor/Merlin) (Jasra/Jurt) (Dalt/Dara). In addition to the problem of trying to keep track of so many characters, it's also important to keep track of how many people are related (a fair amount of accidental and consensual incest happens in these books). I found a nifty chart to help me keep track of them all in the future (though apparently Oberon had upwards of 47 illegitimate children while he was alive.) http://alex-hurst.com/2014/09/21/sign... During a very lengthy play-by-play analysis of the book, Rajan Khanna, of Tor.com, noted that one of the creepiest scenes in the entire series takes place in Knight of Shadows. Coral, Merlin's aunt, is under an enchantment that doesn't allow her to wake, and Merlin, in an attempt to rescue her, negotiates the Pattern to reach her. However, the Pattern demands Merlin have sex with Coral before leaving, a demand which is briefly (and correctly) refused, before Merlin gives in. Merlin KNOWS Coral is related to him, but that isn't even a thought that crosses his mind. He knows she is under an enchantment, and practically asleep, but after telling Coral of their predicament, receives a "I thought you'd never ask. (actual dialogue)" before stripping Coral of her clothes and having at it. This scene, coupled with the very last, which calls to mind the schemes of Morgana in the King Authur mythology, cast doubt on Coral and her motives, at which point I have to wonder no woman other than Vialle can resist the temptation to walk the darker path. As well, though the plots were intriguing and extremely complex, the effect was sort of ruined, because the motives that the big baddies have for doing the things they do to Merlin are quite watery. Julia, our prime villain at the moment, is, when we get down to it, trying to murder Merlin and all the others involved with him simply because "he didn't trust her enough". That's it. The scheme seems to demand more than such a weak motivation, and so that sort of killed the effect for me. Some highlights in the book included a talking Frakir, which, after reading Steven Brust's Jhereg, and knowing from N J's vast knowledge that Brust was inspired by Zelazny, I could see an almost literal copy + paste from their witty exchanges in Chapter 5. Frakir is very much a Loiosh in my mind, though I realize Frakir came first. I also really enjoyed the interactions between Merlin and Benedict (though he was a Pattern-Ghost), and the development Luke and Nayda/ty'iga received in this installment. The supper between Merlin, Mandor, and Jasra was also really fun to read. In fact, now that I think about it, though Merlin's lengthy walk in the place between shadows did not add much directly to the story at large, his interactions with the Pattern-Ghosts (including a not-so-evil Jurt and an indignant Oberon!) were very interesting. All in all, I feel this edition of the book is much stronger than some of the others, even with the incest and rat's nest of plot lines, precisely because it plays to the characters, which I think are Zelazny's strong suit in this series.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Assi Kovacheva

    So far, the best book! I loved it!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Isen

    Zelazny about the writing process: Whatever was going on, my only real desire concerning it was to have it over with as soon as possible, so I could get back to matters I considered important The reader about this book: I'm not in the mood for symbolism, allegory, and assorted metaphysical crap Let's talk Amber cosmology, since that seems to be the main focus of Knight of Shadows. The original conception, given to us in Nine Princes in Amber, was simple and elegant, yet rich enough to be a setting f Zelazny about the writing process: Whatever was going on, my only real desire concerning it was to have it over with as soon as possible, so I could get back to matters I considered important The reader about this book: I'm not in the mood for symbolism, allegory, and assorted metaphysical crap Let's talk Amber cosmology, since that seems to be the main focus of Knight of Shadows. The original conception, given to us in Nine Princes in Amber, was simple and elegant, yet rich enough to be a setting for any number of tales. Amber is the true city, the only actual reality. Surrounding Amber are Shadows -- an infinity of worlds reflected by Amber in some way. Those closest to Amber are the most similar to it, the further one goes the wilder things get. Under castle Amber lies the Pattern, a magical anchor which gives princes of the blood royal the ability to traverse Shadow and visit any world they choose -- but only as far as their imagination allows. Indeed, no one knows whether Shadows actually exist independently, or are created when a prince of Amber imagines them. This is the setting used to sell the Amber series to innocent newcomers -- various princes traverse all sorts of possible realities, playing out roles in myths and legends, all with an aim to gaining an edge over their brethren and seize control of the true city, the only one that matters. But that's not what the first series is about, as interesting a setting as it would have been. In Guns of Avalon it is revealed to us that Shadow is very much real, and beyond it -- farther than their imagination allows them to walk -- lies Chaos. And Chaos is invading. This is potentially dangerous, as in describing the unimaginable one veers a fine line between describing something that can, in fact, be imagined, or something so strange as to make the book unreadable. But Guns of Avalon handles this well. The form the denizens of Chaos assume in nearer Shadows represent a corrupt form of the reality they're invading. Guns of Avalon is mostly based in Christian-based shadows, so Chaos takes the form of witches, devils, demonic rituals. It's weird, but not so weird as to be incomprehensible, and there's a good, in-setting explanation for this -- we're not seeing pure, unadulterated Chaos, but merely how it reflects in a particular Shadow. This is the setting used to trick readers into staying. It promises a lot. One can imagine a series based around travelling through assorted Shadows and battling Chaos there. What form would it take in a Buddhist Shadow? A Sci-Fi Shadow? On Shadow Earth? We will never find out, because that's not the path the series took. Instead -- In Sign of the Unicorn, we are introduced to the Primal Pattern. Turns out Amber is not the true reality, but merely the first reflection of a world composed of a maze, a firmament, and a unicorn. This is eh. The books are not particularly long. We're some 200-300 pages from where we started our journey and have been busy digesting the originality of the set up when the author tells us, "You know how I've been stressing that Amber is the true reality? Forget about that. Unicorns!". But it's not critical. The addition may be questionable, but it not inconsistent with what we've seen so far. Corwin is as surprised to see the Primal Pattern as we are. No harm, no foul -- yet. Then there's the Hand of Oberon. Turns out the Primal Pattern was created by the princes' grandfather, Dworkin, who originally came from Chaos, left (to where? Shadows don't exist yet), and drew the Primal Pattern, separating Order from Chaos, with a layer of Shadow to fill the gap. Then he banged a unicorn and gave birth to the line of Amber. The problem with this, apart from the question of where Dworkin could have gone when nothing exists yet, is that: 1) It sets a strictly finite age on the existence of everything -- a few thousand years. Most characters have ages in their thousands -- Corwin spent about 800 years on Shadow Earth alone. So now we have a world where everyone's been around for a substantial fraction of the time *everything* has existed. It raises the question of how the princes are capable of even imagining a Shadow that's been around for 13.7 billion years, like Shadow Earth. 2) The Unicorn. The Unicorn is a symbol of order and, logically, could not have existed before Dworkin drew the Pattern. The author never commits to this, but I see no other alternative. This will, however, cause issues in the future. 3) Chaos now has a human face. Oh sure, Dworkin is a shapeshifter, as are all denizens of Chaos. He doesn't have to walk around as a human, nor do they, and occasionally they turn into demons to remind the reader of that fact, but most of the time they prance around in human form. Because that's what they are -- human. They live in a city, they have kings and queens, they reproduce sexually, they eat, they presumably shit. They no longer exist beyond the border of the imaginable, they're just another world. So by the time the second series got the setting, it wasn't in the best shape. And Zelazny managed to hold off for three novels before shitting on it further. Credit where credit's due, I suppose. But here, his patience ended. What have we learnt in this book? 1) Anyone whatsoever can walk Shadow. It's not special at all. There are plenty of "broken patterns" lying around, you can walk any one you want, and off you go. 2) The Unicorn, and its Chaos counterpart, the Serpent, existed for ever. Even though Dworkin created the Pattern and all order a few thousand years ago. 3) There exists a place "between shadow". The Shadows cover all imaginable worlds, and Chaos is the (very mundane) unimaginable beyond that. What could possibly lie between? Something we can sort of imagine, but not really? Wouldn't that just be the boundary between Order and Chaos (which, courtesy of the Courts of Chaos, consists of a talking tree)? No, apparently it's a world with no sound and inverted colours. Where we spend half of Knight of Shadows suffering the author's abuses. 4) The Pattern and the Logrus are sentient beings, of extreme power. No explanation is given why the Pattern did not defend itself when Brand tried to destroy it, since its capable of materialising anywhere and blasting anyone it wants. Nor why the Logrus didn't take advantage of the Pattern's weakness to destroy it, since it, too, is capable of materialising within Amber itself and doing what it pleases. 5) Amber, the true city, the first Shadow of the Primal Pattern, the symbol of order and stability, contains a Corridor of Mirrors, which phases in and out of existence, rearranges itself around the palace at whim, and no one knows what it is or where it's from. Whelp. Great. On to the Prince of Chaos.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michael R.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I didn't care for this 9th book in the Amber series. Which is suprising because I really like books with a lot action, and lots of short dialog. But this book was so much nonstop chaos (not unlike the realm of Chaos), it was too much to enjoy. And it seemed amatuerish. First is the aftermath of the fight for the Keep with Mandor and Jarsa vs. Julia and Jurt. Next an explaination from Jarsa that she trained Julia, who Merlin thought had persihed previously, to kill Merlin. Already the storyline is I didn't care for this 9th book in the Amber series. Which is suprising because I really like books with a lot action, and lots of short dialog. But this book was so much nonstop chaos (not unlike the realm of Chaos), it was too much to enjoy. And it seemed amatuerish. First is the aftermath of the fight for the Keep with Mandor and Jarsa vs. Julia and Jurt. Next an explaination from Jarsa that she trained Julia, who Merlin thought had persihed previously, to kill Merlin. Already the storyline is getting pretty convuluted. Instead of a brief respite at Amber, Merlin decides with the help of Mandor and Jarsa to be sent via trump card to the lost Coral. Instead Merlin is tranported to some weird place between shadows between Amber and Choas. Between the Pattern and the Logrus. The geist was that someone or something wanted Merlin to pick between the two. Eventually finding Coral in a broken pattern needing repair. Wandering through this land lasted six chapters. Then the emergency is that the recently found Jewel of Judgement will kill Merlin if he removes it. As soon as that is resolved, the ty'iga steals it. This leads to an explosion in the castle. After which Merlin decides to dress and go to the corination of his friend Luke as ruler in the world of Kashfa. So many story threads. So much unresolved. I had the feeling Zelazny was just typing away like mad to hit a deadline to get this penultimate novel out and done with. Really pasted together effort. Hopefully the final novel in the Amber series Prince of Chaos will make it all worth while! (?)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Daryl

    This is book 9 (of 10) of the Amber series, which I've often listed as one of my all-time favorites (though partial to the first five books), so not sure what I can add at this point. Let's see. For one thing, my copy is a first edition/printing bought when it first came out, and I'm amazed at the number of typos and errors in the text (just one example: referring to Merlin's mother Dara as "Dana" at one point). Two things about the story: 1) we learn in this novel that the Pattern (that gives t This is book 9 (of 10) of the Amber series, which I've often listed as one of my all-time favorites (though partial to the first five books), so not sure what I can add at this point. Let's see. For one thing, my copy is a first edition/printing bought when it first came out, and I'm amazed at the number of typos and errors in the text (just one example: referring to Merlin's mother Dara as "Dana" at one point). Two things about the story: 1) we learn in this novel that the Pattern (that gives the Amberites their power over Shadow) and the Logrus (ditto for the Chaosites, and also providing some of their magical abilities) are both sentient and are battling one another. Kind of a big step for this late in the series, maybe, particularly if we haven't seen any evidence of it earlier (have we?). And 2) it really struck me while reading this novel what the big difference is between Merlin and his father Corwin (the protagonist of books 1-5). Corwin always seemed to have a plan, something he was striving towards, being very proactive. Merlin seems to just drift along, things happen to him, and he reacts. About the first 2/3 of this book has Merlin traveling to different places, being led by forces he doesn't quite understand, trying to figure out what's happening to him. I think it's the major difference between the characters and may be why I like the first 5 books in the series more than the final set.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    I had a hard time with this one. It's not like I think the Merlin sequence of the Chronicles Of Amber is bad(although it's certainly not as good as the Corwin books), it's just that this book in particular struggled. It seemed like the Order vs. Chaos quest was rather forced, and because it occured in this mysterious "land between Shadows" Zelazny felt it was acceptable to resort to deus ex machina at every turn to get Merlin out of the binds he was flung into. Frakir was made sentient(mostly to I had a hard time with this one. It's not like I think the Merlin sequence of the Chronicles Of Amber is bad(although it's certainly not as good as the Corwin books), it's just that this book in particular struggled. It seemed like the Order vs. Chaos quest was rather forced, and because it occured in this mysterious "land between Shadows" Zelazny felt it was acceptable to resort to deus ex machina at every turn to get Merlin out of the binds he was flung into. Frakir was made sentient(mostly to serve as a means of railroading Merlin)...and then reverted to being mindless again, once railroading no longer served the plot. The Logrus-ghost-Jurt sacrifices his life to save Merlin...for some reason(I thought he hated Merlin). There was a cool fencing scene in there, but ultimately this book falls way short of every previous book in the series. I hope the last book is more like the majority of the series, and less like this one.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hien

    Even though books 6-10 are lumped in as part of the Chronicles of Amber, I feel that it's really a second series. It's about Merlin (Corwin's son). Merlin is from Chaos due to his mother being from there. One of the things I didn't like about the second series is that lots of people can shadow walk. It used to be only the princes and princesses of Amber can do it. Now it seems like everybody can. It's not so special after all. Even though books 6-10 are lumped in as part of the Chronicles of Amber, I feel that it's really a second series. It's about Merlin (Corwin's son). Merlin is from Chaos due to his mother being from there. One of the things I didn't like about the second series is that lots of people can shadow walk. It used to be only the princes and princesses of Amber can do it. Now it seems like everybody can. It's not so special after all.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    The nadir of the Amber chronicles.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Merlin confers with Jasra and Mandor after the assault on the Keep and finds out quite a bit more about what's been going on behind the scenes all these years. A rather fun scene takes place when Mandor is revealed to be a specialist in the sorcery of haute cuisine - he conjures up a wonderful meal on a veranda overlooking one of the realms at the Keep. It turns out that Jasra was responsible for training Merlin's ex, Julia, in the art of sorcery, and that Julia's natural talent caught her by su Merlin confers with Jasra and Mandor after the assault on the Keep and finds out quite a bit more about what's been going on behind the scenes all these years. A rather fun scene takes place when Mandor is revealed to be a specialist in the sorcery of haute cuisine - he conjures up a wonderful meal on a veranda overlooking one of the realms at the Keep. It turns out that Jasra was responsible for training Merlin's ex, Julia, in the art of sorcery, and that Julia's natural talent caught her by surprise, leaving her as a coat rack. Julia has allied with Merlin's brother, Jurt, who has had homicidal intentions towards Merlin for a long time, but which have gotten more intense recently as the struggle for succession in the Courts of Chaos has heated up due to the frailty of Sawall, Duke of Chaos. Julia and Jurt have performed a ritual which gives him amazing powers, that Brand (Jasra's husband of sorts) underwent long ago, explaining his near invincibility in the first Amber series at last. We got set up by Zelazny in the previous book for a shaggy dog type of pun or two here. The chaos demon that serially possesses people near Merlin, the ty'iga, turns out to be named for a specific purpose - so that Merlin can shout, "Hold that ty'iga" at one point and then shortly later, to have to choose between the lady or ty'iga. Groan. So, as we learned in the previous book that the Pattern is actually sentient, we might surmise that the Logrus (Chaos' version of the Pattern) is also sentient. It appears that they have been in a large scale conflict for ages, and they force Merlin to participate in one of their battles for dominance. He is spirited away to a place or state of being where none of his magic works, the Trumps are dead, and he can't manipulate shadows. There he faces a number of challenges and opponents. Some of these creatures are Pattern-ghosts or Logrus-ghosts. Whenever a person walks the Pattern (or Logrus) they are "recorded", and can later be reproduced by the Pattern or Logrus, in the same state they were the day they finished walking. So, Merlin is visited by Deirdre, slain by Brand in The Courts of Chaos, Oberon, dead in the same book, an earlier copy of his brother Jurt, his father Corwin (who may not actually be a ghost), Dworkin (thought to be dead) and several others on his quest. Merlin refuses steadfastly to take sides in the conflict, but is tricked into mostly championing the cause of the Pattern. This one gets pretty surreal for a while before dropping back into a more "normal" narrative. Eventually we get back to the main story, find out what Luke and Dalt have been up to, and solve a few more mysteries.

  27. 4 out of 5

    George Hipp

    This review it for The Chronicles of Amber Series, books 1-10. I had a good run of technical and management books and needed a break with some fun, fantastic reading. This series easily met the mark! It had been on my list of SciFi books to read for quite a while, but was waiting until all 10 were available. Luckily, they are all together for purchase now. The whole series is swashbuckling, swords, magic, politics, family drama, murder, alternative reality fun! It was like popcorn, finished them This review it for The Chronicles of Amber Series, books 1-10. I had a good run of technical and management books and needed a break with some fun, fantastic reading. This series easily met the mark! It had been on my list of SciFi books to read for quite a while, but was waiting until all 10 were available. Luckily, they are all together for purchase now. The whole series is swashbuckling, swords, magic, politics, family drama, murder, alternative reality fun! It was like popcorn, finished them all in about a month, without rushing and just enjoying the easy pacing. The books lead right into each other, without pause. There are great quotable lines, "Nobody steals books but your friends." and "Don't wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects.", which I had heard before, but now know where they come from. I enjoyed the universe and it's rules, the ideas behind shadow walking and the varied weapons with sword fights seemingly from Errol Flynn in Robin Hood, Danny Kaye in The Court Jester and Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride depending on the moment, or even all at the same time. The story was was complex enough to be interesting, but I did not need to keep notes to know what was going on and the cast of characters were filled in just enough to make them memorable. Overall, exactly what I needed, a good break from reality!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Merlin continues his....I don't even know what to call it any more. His nonstop, nonsensical adventure? His journey to discover yet another thing that doesn't matter? Obviously I didn't like this at all and Zelazny has finally hit dumpster fire status for me on this one. I about lost my damn mind when Frakir, the magical choking noose, started talking back to Merlin in some weird place where nothing of any sense happened. I about lost it again when the Logrus and Pattern took on personalities of Merlin continues his....I don't even know what to call it any more. His nonstop, nonsensical adventure? His journey to discover yet another thing that doesn't matter? Obviously I didn't like this at all and Zelazny has finally hit dumpster fire status for me on this one. I about lost my damn mind when Frakir, the magical choking noose, started talking back to Merlin in some weird place where nothing of any sense happened. I about lost it again when the Logrus and Pattern took on personalities of their own and engaged in some meaningless battle royale. This is inanity on a grand scale, which is all the more unfortunate because of how well done the Corwin stories were written and delivered. What Zelazny was able to do so well in that series has gone the other way: poor writing (way too many "I've" and "I'd" usage, Dana instead of Dara [a somewhat important character!!]), silly red herrings and detours, and a final "surprise" that felt so cheesy and so in the spirit of a cheap "gotcha" moment. Ugh. I will finish this series to see if I can make out what the heck Zelazny was thinking when he started this disaster, but save yourself the agony and stop at the end of Corwin's story if you do start the Amber Chronicles.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Feralucce Savage

    It is revealed that the pattern and it's counterpart in chaos (the logrus) are sentient entities that have been battling for control of reality for the whole of time. At the end of the patternfall war, when Corwin created his new pattern, the balance between order and chaos had been disturbed. These primal forces of the universe are using Merlin as a pawn in their battle to decide the fate of existence due to his mother being from Chaos and his father being from Amber. Merlin tells them both tha It is revealed that the pattern and it's counterpart in chaos (the logrus) are sentient entities that have been battling for control of reality for the whole of time. At the end of the patternfall war, when Corwin created his new pattern, the balance between order and chaos had been disturbed. These primal forces of the universe are using Merlin as a pawn in their battle to decide the fate of existence due to his mother being from Chaos and his father being from Amber. Merlin tells them both that he will not be manipulated. This book is the ninth in a series of 10 - 2 sets of five and is a classic of modern fantasy. Sensitive readers may wish to avoid the series due to sensitive subjects as gods, demons, violence, drugs, magic and a subversion of realistic perceptions. It is an easy read, and to less sensitive readers can be an exercise in family reading.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jefferson

    The centerpiece of Knight of Shadows is Merlin's journey between the Shadows, with a series of tasks as he is harassed by ghosts sent by the two guiding powers of Amber and Chaos: the Pattern and the Logrus. This mirrors his father's journey the length of Shadow in Courts of Chaos. There is intrigue, there are the twists and turns of the political infighting amongst the inhabitants of Amber and Chaos, and there are lots of imaginative frills and fringes to divert the reader. And this is the main The centerpiece of Knight of Shadows is Merlin's journey between the Shadows, with a series of tasks as he is harassed by ghosts sent by the two guiding powers of Amber and Chaos: the Pattern and the Logrus. This mirrors his father's journey the length of Shadow in Courts of Chaos. There is intrigue, there are the twists and turns of the political infighting amongst the inhabitants of Amber and Chaos, and there are lots of imaginative frills and fringes to divert the reader. And this is the main problem with the series: if the premise is that anything is possible in Shadow, then there is nothing to focus the plot. Every chapter reveals some new magical power or location or character, and it has reached a saturation point. A point of diminishing returns. Overall I enjoy it, but I am hard pressed to make sense of it.

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