I thought Zelazny really stepped it up on this one.The previous book in the series, Trumps Of Doom, featured a new character as the protagonist/narrator; Merlin, the son of Corwin of Amber, who narrated the first five books In Trumps, Merlin failed to live up to his father's sheer coolness, and thus that book excited me less than the first five In fact, the Merlin we meet in Trumps came across as a bit of a chump, and we still see some of that in Blood Of Amber as well(seriously, he can't figure out that the oneeyed, oneeared wolf that hates him and wants to kill him is actually his oneeyed, oneeared shapeshifter brother who hates him and wants to kill him?) However, Merlin decides to try to take control of his own destiny in this book, and in my mind this makes his flaws much easier to deal with, and also helps move the action along at quite a good clip By the end of the book, it seemed that Zelazny had really hit his stride, and things were happening so quickly and furiously that I could barely put the book down.I can't wait to read the next one and figure out what the hell happened with the completely bizzare Alice In Wonderland ending. This was my favorite one of the series, and I loved the ending Can't wait to see if Merlin and Renaldo make it back up the rabbit hole! Alternate cover for ISBN Pursued by a fiendish enemy, Merle must battle through an intricate web of vengeance and murder that threatens than the San Francisco Bay area For Merle Corey of California is also Merlin, son of Corwin, vanished Prince of Amber; and the forces, seeking to destroy the royal house, have unleashed sorceries that can strike anywhere, especially at the very heart of Amber My rating 4.5I could write a lot about this book, but a lot has already been written Mostly Merlin, as in previous books, discovers new enemies, old enemies come back, former enemies change, and you can expect a lot and be sure it isn't everything it looks like. One thing I noticed early on in the series that I've failed to mention is that when Zelazny moves his character through shadow it reads almost like poetry, not the forced trying to be like Tolkien poetry that once fantasy writer seemed to have to insert to have a proper fantasy The descriptions aren't formatted like poetry it just sounds like a very poetic movement. Blood of Amber is such a brilliant novel It is well written, extremely eventful and interesting In other words, a fine addition to the series By introducing clever plot twists, this book creates not only fascinating mysteries and questions but it also does a great job of adding depth to the characters I enjoyed it immensely and read on with great interest Merlin in the first book wasn't easy to relate (for some reason), but once he find himself neck deep in problems, it's hard not to feel sympathy for him.As I said, I like how different Merlin is from Corwin Merlin speaks and even thinks differently, and that's good because it keeps the reader on his/her toes If I remember well, Blood of Amber opens with Merlin trying to escape his imprisonment It's quite a ride from there There are many iconic episodes in this one, and found myself warming up to Merlinthan I did in the first one The poor guy just can't catch a break “Life is full of doors that don't open when you knock, equally spaced amid those that open when don't want them to.” I felt like this book was focusingon thickening plots rather than action itself, and although it doesn't end with any kind of closure, it is my favorite book in the series so far Just like the first 5 books, the plot progresses at a fascinating pace, you never really know who's a friend and who's the enemy, except this time there are twice as many characters to suspect, and a few who seem to be just sitting back and waiting to step into the action some time later What I love most about these books is that there's no ultimate evil entity, in the end pretty much every character has a good and a bad side, everyone has their own vendettas and ambitions, most of them understandable.I feel that the author hasn't wasted a single line with irrelevant conversation in this book, every chapter in the plot thickens, and every little remark, flashback or picture on a trump is important to the story and will eventually come back The family also seems to be growing each chapter.I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that Merlin seems MUCHpowerful than Corwin I mean, he can summon any object he wants out of Shadow, he can create Trumps at any time, he can go invisible, and he can destroy anything he wants with the power of his mind by using the Logrus I don't think he's as good with a sword as Corwin, but who needs that when you're a sorcerer and got amazing killer spells My hopes for the next books are that Corwin will show up soon (and not completely mad), that we'll know a bitabout Dara and Merlin's brothers at the Courts, and that Luke will actually turn out to be a good guy. This is the seventh Amber novel by Zelazny, and the second in the followup fivebook sequence about Corwin's son Merlin In this book, Merlin, also called Merle, escapes the prison where his 'friend' Luke stowed him at the end of previous book, Luke was revealed to be the son of Brand, the psychotic Amberite who tried to destroy the others in the original series He is seeking revenge for his father, who the others had no choice but to kill, but it seems he's mixedup because although he was responsible for the first few assassination attempts against Merle, committed every 30th April over about 8 years, he apparently stopped and someone else, possibly his mother, took over later Merle discovers in this volume that various odd characters who approached him in book 1 are actually people who have been possessed by an entity who claims to want to protect him That entity finally breaks cover and agrees to an exchange of information, but as Merlin insists on a quid pro quo, the sequence where they laboriously trade snippets is very tedious.The plot of the present volume is rambling in the extreme Zelazny could obviously write I loved a section of description where Merlin walks down by the docks en route to a restaurant but seemed here to be going through the motions plotwise A lot happens including blowbyblow fight sequences which I found confusing and also unconvincingly detailed for someone caught up in the adrenaline of a fight, various people try to kill Merle and he spends a lot of time discussing who this could be and also refusing to confide in people, including his uncle Random, now King of Amber, who might be able to help him Yet he naively trusts Luke who has admitted to making attempts on his life and appears to continue to have his own agenda A lot of characters arrive and depart, almost on a revolving door basis, and don't add much to the story, andare introduced in passing e.g twosiblings of his fathers turn up in the form of Trumps (the cards the royal family use to contact each other) whom I believe were mentioned in the first series as being thought dead long before Corwin was born and I would guess these characters probably feature in later volumes There are sudden rather jarring flashbacks to Merlin's upbringing at the Courts of Chaos where he had terrible fights with a person who hated him for no apparent reason (view spoiler)[his brother and it seems pretty obvious that the shapeshifting sorcerer who trails him in this volume and eventually attacks him must be that person, yet he doesn't draw the obvious inference even when he thinks back to how this person behaved Instead he is unable to work out who might be trying to kill him, despite the fact that this person tried at least twice when they were growing up, once by trying to shoot him in the back.It is also far too 'easy' for Merle compared to his father in the earlier story, Corwin was enough of a superhero: he had the ability to travel through Shadow, that is, from world to world, was a master swordsman, had above human healing powers, an extended lifespan (when banished to our Earth, he lived there for hundreds of our years), and could use the Trumps special cards developed by his grandfather some of these abilities developed through walking the Pattern, an energy grid used to bring the worlds into being originally All these powers were shared with his siblings and made his family powerful enough, in my opinion But Merlin also inherits powers from his mother Dara who is one of the Chaos party, so he can use something called the Logrus to create spells including an invisibility one, and he can shapeshift into other forms including that of an apparently fearsome beast (he uses this ability to best a demon at one point though it isn't shown as the chapter ends and the next one switches to after he has done so) He can also reach into Shadow and pull out new clothes whenever he needs them or a sword or just about anything else he needs Frankly, this makes him far too boring a character and his general naive stupidity doesn't endear him to the reader either The book ends as its predecessor did Merlin is now a prisoner somewhere, this time in a very surreal place(view spoiler)[Lewis Carroll's Wonderland With the lack of real character development or a halfdecent plot, I can't believe it would be worth the bother of tracking down the final three volumes of this (I have only the first two) as there is no real incentive to read on (hide spoiler)] Picking up where Trumps of Doom left off, Merle continues trying to figure out who's trying to kill him Along the way, he discoversabout his friend Luke Raynard, saves the family from being killed at the funeral of one of their own, learns of previously unknown members of the royal family, and discovers he has an ally of sorts that can switch bodies But can he figure out how these clues fit together before he is killed and Amber is destroyedBlood of Amber hasthan its share of twists I had an idea who Luke was but I was a little off Dalt's identity was muchof a surprise I'm still not sure who the bodyswapper really is or what he/she has in store for Merle I have a feeling Merle will meet up with Corwin before the series is over.On to the next volume! Well, that took forever.Merlin is boring His life is boring; his problems are boring And now he's in Wonderland WTF Zelazny? How's the LSD?Seriously I will keep reading the series, because potential And completion But I miss Corwin I thinkthan Merlin does I like the potential of sorcery, but I really think this thing is being dragged out for no damn reason Why were the first five books so muchengaging and fantastical? Even the 900th trip through Shadow held my interest better than this.Well, not everything can be perfect Carry on.