Reader comments on ROGER ZELAZNY'S THE DAWN OF AMBER by John Gregory Bethancourt
BOOK ONE OF THE NEW AMBER TRILOGY
Reader comment from Stuart Sims
ibooks, September 2002
When Star Wars, Episode I was releasaed, I flocked to the theater as did millions of others of my generation who had been waiting decades for the fist installments of the holy trilogy. I sat through the movie with a sickly feeling in my gut. I left the theater feeling angry and insulted. Cheated. I finished Dawn of Amber about 5 minutes ago, and I find my feelings about this book reminicent of the Star Wars betrayel.
John Gregory Betancourt. The story-line of Dawn of Amber is fine. I think he takes liberties with some of Zelazny's inferances about the nature of the universe. He disregards the fact that shadow is the result of waves of reality bouncing between Amber and Chaos. It is stated clearly, several times in the Amber novels, that shadow did not exist before Dworkin drew his new pattern. It is the beautiful polarity of this idea that gave his universe such believability. We do, after all, live in a universe of extreems -- hot cold, light dark, up and down, good and evil. This simplicity is intrinsic to the flavor and honesty of the Amber series. Aside from this and several other liberties Betancourt takes in fashioning his story, Dawn of Amber has a solid if not simplistic and uninspired story-line. The real inpoverished aspect of his book is the characters.
His characters have no continuity. They are as two dimentional as a reflection. Oberon is a mighty warrior, abandoned by his wizard father and left to find his own path to greatness on a shadow world. Yet this mighty warrior who has led men into battle, does not even have the sense to inform his father or anyone else about an attempted assasination in his own quarters the same day he arrives. Obviously there is a traitor in the palace. It makes no sense strategically that he would keep this information to himself. It is a blundering attempt of the writer to give the story the same flavor of intrigue found in the Zelazny's Amber. It comes off as weak and disorganized and without any substantiation in reality. This trend prevades the entire book -- an attempt to use Zelazny's devices to infuse life into the story. He fumbles with the characters and their diologue like a drunken child. He insults the memory of a science fiction master with his perocial descriptions and unbelievable interactions.
In my estimation, Dawn of Amber would not sell a single copy if it had not hi-jacked the name and imagination of a real writer. I will not read the next two books in the series, and I am so incensed with Batencourt's inept machinations that I am considering writing my own prequel to Amber. To all Amber fans out there, I say to you: Look away my friends. Look away.
Reader comment 10/31/03
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