Author: Roger Zelazny
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: Chronicles of Amber Book Three
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(Spoilers for the first two Chronicles of Amber are below).
Eric has died, and the Jewel of Judgment is now Corwin's. As regent of Amber, it appears Corwin has succeeded in finally achieving his goal, but shortly after Caine is murdered and Corwin's framed for the deed. In an effort to find out who framed him, Corwin decides it's time to find out what happened to his brother Brand, whether he's alive or dead.
Even though Sign of the Unicorn follows the same formula as the previous two Amber books, it still feels quite a bit different. A lot of this has to do with the introspective nature of the book, and the revisiting of past plots that were left pretty open. And it doesn't take long for that to begin.
Random goes through a pretty in depth explanation for why he was being pursued at the beginning of Nine Princes of Amber. From there it's a lot of backstory, as Corwin's other siblings begin to fill him in on their doings while he was suffering from amnesia on Earth. More details about the wreck that brought Corwin to the hospital, are also revealed.
And then of course there is Brand. The last living, and missing, of Corwin's brothers and sisters. Known as a schemer, and someone who's a lot more familiar with the fabric that makes up Amber, his persona and whereabouts are the enigma that drive this plot forward.
But despite the interest in Brand's past, and these new revelations from Corwin's siblings, some of which are pretty interesting, there's not a whole lot of plot here. It almost feels like very little happens, and for a group of stories that have been written about fast-paced events, this introspective exploration kind of throws off the "fun aspect" that made the previous two Amber books a pleasure to read.
As Sign of the Unicorn was beginning to wrap up, even Zelazny's expected cliffhanger plot twist ending turned out to be pretty 'meh'. It's very much an ending that opens a lot of new possibilities, so that's exciting, but it's nowhere near as satisfying as what's come before.