The Guns of Avalon

Roger Zelazny
The Guns of Avalon Cover

Great Character Voice, But Mostly Setup for Next Books


The Guns of Avalon has to be the greatest title for a SF novel ever. Seriously. It's like a four-word SF story right there. It also happens to encapsulate the overall concept of the novel, so it kept me excited throughout the majority of this book.

What I love about the Amber books so far (having read only two) is Corwin's voice. He's such a fascinating, witty, sometimes infuriating character, and Zelazny gives him one of the most unique voices in all SF. "I trusted him like a sibling, which is to say not at all." How great is that?! And so, I read through Guns of Avalon quickly, enjoying everything, even though overall not much really happens.

Yeah, there's the business of guns that involve a trip to the mythical Avalon. But mostly there's a lot of traveling through Shadows, which involves weird changing landscapes. There's also a fair bit of family business, which is always great to read. You can really feel for these siblings' ancient conflicts and brotherly ties, and they have this level of mistrust and honesty that speak of millennial rivalries. Benedict of Amber is a great character, and it was fantastic to watch Corwin interact with him.

When reviewing Nine Princes in Amber, I noted that my biggest problem with Corwin was that his obsession with the throne of Amber was never truly explained. That has not changed, but the events of Nine Princes have raised the stakes, and we can now fully understand Corwin's motivations, and even empathize with him.

What brings down the book's appeal is that it's essentially a setup for the next books. There's a bit of transitioning of antagonists going on, and there isn't much of a payoff yet. That's the problem with reviewing a book that is essentially one big chapter in a larger work. I'm intrigued, definitely hooked, but I can't claim absolute brilliance just yet. But there's hope, that's for certain.