Monday, August 21, 2017

The Guns of Avalon Book Review

by The Wanderer 

Author: Roger Zelazny
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: Chronicles of Amber Book Two
Pages: 180

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Corwin has escaped the dungeons of Amber after failing to overthrow Eric and stop his coronation as ruler. But in his defeat, Corwin also laid a curse on Amber allowing creatures of darkness to pour into all the different Shadow worlds. Now on the run, Corwin wishes to return the Shadow world of Avalon where he believes he can find the necessary weapons to defeat the evil he has brought upon everyone, and of course to avenge his defeat by Eric.

Guns of Avalon has a much slower start than its predecessor. After spending five years suffering in Eric's dungeon, Corwin has weakened greatly. A lot of the early portions of the novel are spent in Lorraine, where Corwin can heal himself up, and rediscover more of his past. 

Character development and character motivations are lacking, especially since nearly every character you meet is new. In Lorraine, Corwin finds himself trying to make an ally of it's king, Ganelon, who once loyally served Corwin until he betrayed him and was exiled. Ganelon seems to be able to quickly turn from dangerous enemy to loyal friend in a mere span of pages. I guess with this new found, or re-found, relationship the reader is supposed to suspend their disbelief, but I had a real hard time doing so. 

There's Dara, the first female character that's been introduced that has some promise for further development. Eager to learn, and very crafty, there is more than meets the eye here, and Zelazny works her into the plot in a way that I would imagine would have shocked people on an original reading. And finally one of Corwin's missing brothers also makes an appearance as a fairly important character, too.

While the first two acts move at quite a slow pace, Guns of Avalon only really comes together in its final chapter where Zelazny can once again prove that he still has the ability to defy plot expectations. If it weren't for that last chapter, I probably would have been fairly disappointed by this book, but fortunately that wasn't the case. This is a solid sequel that opens a lot of new possibilities for the direction of the plot and the future of Amber.

Score: 7.0

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