Flashback Friday REWIND: Nine Princes in Amber

ffbutton2Flashback Friday is a weekly tradition started here at Bookshelf Fantasies, focusing on showing some love for the older books in our lives and on our shelves. If you’d like to join in, just pick a book published at least five years ago, post your Flashback Friday pick on your blog, and let us all know about that special book from your reading past and why it matters to you. Don’t forget to link up!

I’ll be traveling for a few weeks during the month of June, so rather than skipping Flashback Friday,  I thought I’d dig back into my FF archives and revisit some of my very first flashback books.

Going way back for this week’s Flashback Friday:

Nine Princes In Amber by Roger Zelazny

(published 1970)

Roger Zelazny’s Amber Chronicles simply astounded me when I first encountered them quite a while back (no, I will not disclose just how many decades ago that was or how old I was — suffice it to say that I was vibrant and youthful and wore clothes that my children would mock). These books were among my early forays into the world of science fiction and fantasy, an area of my reading history that was sorely lacking during my childhood and youth. I admit it now: I’d never read Narnia, had read The Hobbit but no other Tolkien (horrors! I’m ashamed of my younger self!), and had only recently been introduced to Dune. And then I met Amber, and it rocked my world.

From Goodreads:

Amber, the one real world, wherein all others, including our own Earth, are but Shadows. Amber burns in Corwin’s blood. Exiled on Shadow Earth for centuries, the prince is about to return to Amber to make a mad and desperate rush upon the throne. From Arden to the blood-slippery Stairway into the Sea, the air is electrified with the powers of Eric, Random, Bleys, Caine, and all the princes of Amber whom Corwin must overcome. Yet, his savage path is blocked and guarded by eerie structures beyond imaging impossible realities forged by demonic assassins and staggering horrors to challenge the might of Corwin’s superhuman fury.

I barely remember the details, but I do know that I loved this book and the ones that followed. The Amber Chronicles consist of ten books in all, although I believe I only made it through 6 or 7 of them. (Hey, it was the 80s — I was busy!). Still, I know I fell in love with the concept of the shadow worlds, the battle for the throne, and the labyrinth-like Pattern that the royal family members must walk in order to gain access to other worlds. It was epic and dramatic high fantasy, and I’d never encountered anything quite like it before.

Last year at a book sale, I picked up an all-in-one volume of the entire Amber Chronicles, and it’s been sitting on my shelf ever since. Maybe it’s time to dust it off and give it a whirl. It’s entirely possible that it will feel incredibly dated at this point — but somehow, I have a feeling that I’ll be drawn into Corwin’s story once again and won’t be able to let go until I reach the end.

If you’re a fan of today’s bestselling fantasy series, such as George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire or Patrick Rothfuss’s The Kingkiller Chronicle, why not go back in time and give Amber a try?


Thanks for sticking with me for three weeks of FLASHBACK FRIDAY REWIND! As of next week, I’ll be back with fresh picks for Flashback Friday.

What flashback book is on your mind this week?

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join in the Flashback Friday fun:

  • Grab the Flashback Friday button
  • Post your own Flashback Friday entry on your blog (and mention Bookshelf Fantasies as the host of the meme, if you please!)
  • Leave your link in the comments below
  • Check out other FF posts… and discover some terrific hidden gems to add to your TBR piles!


Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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