“…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 here
[schema type=”book” name=”The Courts of Chaos (The Chronicles of Amber Volume 5)” publisher=”Sphere Books Limited” isbn=”0722194412″ ]