In Nine Princes in Amber, Corwin went from having no memories to learning he was a Prince of Amber, to trying to wrest the throne from his brother Eric–only to be blinded and thrown into prison.
In , Corwin escapes off the Avalon in order to use jewelers’ supplies to make guns to take back the throne from Eric–only to end up having to save Amber rather than attack it.
In , things really start getting weird…
On one hand, we end up getting a much stronger sense for exactly who in Amber’s ruling family is working with whom and what all they’ve done thus far. It turns out that Corwin and his brothers and sisters really are a bunch of conniving bastards (in some cases literally). It’s the first time we’ve really seen all (or at least most) of them all in one place at the same time, which leads to a much different sort of book. It’s interesting.
On the other hand, not that much actually happens. We’re learning a lot more about the world(s), but mostly only answering questions from the previous two books. I want to know more about what’s going on with that Black Road. Perhaps in ?
Still worth finishing, but I’m starting to long for more.
Random aside, the book went rather amusingly meta at one point:
“Yes,” he said. “But I wonder . . . I’ve a peculiar feeling that I may never see you again. It is as if I were one of those minor characters in a melodrama who gets shuffled offstage without ever learning how things turn out.”
“I can appreciate the feeling,” I said. “My own role sometimes makes me want to strangle the author. But look at it this way: inside stories seldom live up to one’s expectations. Usually they are grubby little things, reducing down to the basest of motives when all is known. Conjectures and illusions are often the better possessions.”