• The Courts of Chaos

  • The Chronicles of Amber, Book 5
  • By: Roger Zelazny
  • Narrated by: Alessandro Juliani
  • Length: 4 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (1,649 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $14.95

Buy for $14.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

The Courts of Chaos is the fifth book of The Chronicles of Amber; an epic fantasy series written by six-time Hugo Award winning and three-time Nebula Award winning author, Roger Zelazny.

The ten books that make up the series are told in two story arcs: The Corwin Cycle and the Merlin Cycle.

In book five, 2012 Audie Award nominee Alessandro Juliani completes his reading of the Corwin Cycle, expertly narrating the first five novels of the series and bringing the world of Amber to life.

As the first cycle is brought to a close, Corwin finds his world dissolving around him when his father Oberon, disguised as Corwin's friend, steals the Jewel of Judgment so that he may defeat the evil Brand.

©1978 Roger Zelazny (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Courts of Chaos

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,127
  • 4 Stars
    384
  • 3 Stars
    114
  • 2 Stars
    22
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,118
  • 4 Stars
    271
  • 3 Stars
    72
  • 2 Stars
    15
  • 1 Stars
    9
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,042
  • 4 Stars
    323
  • 3 Stars
    109
  • 2 Stars
    20
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

The dancer and the dance.

"Sometimes it's damned hard to tell the dancer from the dance."
- Roger Zelazny, Coruts of Chaos

So, this isn't the bottom of the first five books in the 'Chronicles of Amber'. Actually, of the five books that make up the Corwin cycle (Books 1-5), it might be my favorite (so 3.5 ✷?). I haven't been impressed by the five enough to rush soon into the Merlin cycle (Books 6-10). I'll probably get there. I own all ten (The Great Book of Amber), but other books from other favorite authors remain unread and unless there is a sign, symbol, or signal somewhere that suggest that these later books will suddenly jump higher in my esteem, I'm finished for 2017 with Zelazny.

The Courts of Chaos did produce a couple items I did enjoy, sort of:

1. A Zen, futilitarianst crow saying such things as: "You see, we are hatched and we drift on the surface of events. Sometimes, we feel like we actually influence things, and this gives rise to striving. This is a big mistake, because it creates desires and builds up a false ego when just being should be enough." Da FA?

2. Courtly dancers, treading to the slow measures of invisible musicians, that appear to be an allusion to the painting Dance to the Music of Time by Nicolas Poussin: "They dance to celebrate your passage. They are not mortals but the spirits of Time. They began this foolish show when you entered the valley." Um, OK?

Anyway, the things I just gently mocked above are also probably WHY I give this an extra 1/2 ✷. That might make sense, or may not. I'm not going to strive to hard to explain.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Fizzled out

Now I recall why I have no memory of this final installment to an otherwise memorable series: this could have been condensed to10 pages and been appended to The Hand of Oberon. Literally nothing revealed or added to further the story. I still have my original copies of all 5 books! So much great material: trumps, shadow, Amber, Pattern, political intrigue, twists and turns.

Save your money, when done with Oberon, just ask, and I will tell you in under a minute how it ends!

Narrator was great!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Corwin's psychedelic hellride

Originally posted at FanLit.

The Courts of Chaos is the very short last installment of the CORWIN CYCLE of THE CHRONICLES OF AMBER and the fifth volume of the entire series. If you haven’t read the previous books, you’ve got no business here — go away. I don’t want to ruin it for you. Go read the first book, Nine Princes in Amber, and continue on from there.

OK. So Oberon is back and we learn that he’s been manipulating events all along. Now he’s on the throne, which is fine with Corwin because after Eric’s death he’s decided he doesn’t want to sit there anyway. Corwin’s concern is with repairing the pattern that Brand destroyed when he let the forces of Chaos into Amber. To heal the land, someone must sacrifice himself and Corwin is willing, but Oberon insists on making the decisions. He wants Corwin to take the Jewel of Judgment through Shadow so it will be ready to help them during the battle with Chaos. Meanwhile, Oberon intends to fix the pattern himself.

Corwin’s psychedelic hellride through Shadow is long and sometimes tedious as Corwin vividly describes the surreal landscape, reminisces about the past, and becomes introspective as he ponders how he, and his relationship with his family members, has changed. After the constant plot twists in the last few books, some readers may be glad for the leisurely pace, but I eventually became bored with metallic trees and zebra-stripe skies. Short but welcome action segments occur when Corwin encounters murderous leprechauns, a gallant knight, a seductive woman, a talking tree, a philosophical raven, and a treacherous jackal. When he finally reaches the Courts of Chaos, the last battle with a nebulous enemy ensues. Compared to all that’s gone on before, these final scenes are a bit anticlimactic and even start to feel like a bad soap opera when the unicorn shows up to crown the next ruler and a sibling who’s supposed to be dead reappears.

I didn’t enjoy The Courts of Chaos as much as I enjoyed the earlier AMBER novels, mainly because of the long surreal hellride, but it’s a short book that concludes Corwin’s story, so it’s kind of a must-read for anyone who’s read this far in this immensely popular old SFF series. As with previous AMBER novels, Roger Zelazny throws several literary and mythological allusions into this installment. The next five AMBER books make up the MERLIN CYCLE which is narrated by Corwin’s son Merlin. I read them many years ago and only recall that they weren’t as good as the CORWIN CYCLE. I’m not sure if I’ll read them again, though I probably will if I see them on sale at Audible. These have been very nice productions.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great series

the use of falsetto for female voices is not recommended. but this is done in many books. has to be a better way.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The best of the first five

Kinda reminds me of someone I once knew. I love the whole series and wish someone had the wherewithal to make movies based upon them.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

simply amazing.

great series. The way everything comes together is beautiful.

The best narrator of all time. His work blew my mind along with the story and really it come alive for me

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The excellence of Roger Zelazney

Alessandro Juliani is a masterful performer. He made the first 5 books of Amber come alive for me in a different and eloquent manner. Bravo sir!
This in no way is meant to diminishes the printed version. Mr. Zelazny’s poetic and philosophical genius makes him one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.
I give my highest recommendation for all of this remarkable author’s works.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

WONDERFUL BOOK!!!

The the never-ending story -- but not in a bad way. At two or three points it could have ended making a great short story. Then it continued making great overall audio book. Can't wait to hear the one in the series!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Corwin manages to offload responsibliities

The Courts of Chaos is the fifth installment in Roger Zelazny's Chronicle in Amber series. Corwin begins conflicted about his, as well as, Amber's situation. While his father has returned, there is little he offers in terms of clearing things up and Amber itself is still a mess. Corwin ends up on a quest like journey where he continually encounters problems. He eventually manages to set things right in terms of the Pattern and Amber. Also in the end, he learns that he has a son as well. Random is left running the show.

Zelazny goes to great lengths to tie up all the loose ends and still manages to through in some oddball adventures, such as the horse stealing, murderous leprechauns. Corwin doesn't achieve closure so much, as he seems to clear off his desk before heading out for a well earned two week vacation. At least he'll be available for future adventures and not tied down with the responsibilities of running a kingdom.

The narration is the best part of the audiobook with excellent character distinction and brisk pacing for what is actually a short listen.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Over Priced.

Great series. Pick up all 10 for 20$ total. But on audible they are 10$ a book… Way over priced, they are only 5-6 hours long each. So a 20$ paper back that contains all 10 books are about 100$ on here. Book 5 stars, audible pricing 0 stars

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Christopher
  • Christopher
  • 06-10-15

I loved it!


Story – 5/5

A great ending to the Corwin cycle of books. A very imaginative, complex and absorbing world was created here, and is not like anything I have come across before. This book is action packed, fast paced and full of brilliant conclusions to the overall story arc of saving Amber.

It was enough of an ending for me not to rush into the latter 5 books in the series (which are based on Corwin’s son; Merlin), but I will definitely be returning to complete the series very soon.

The stories may seem very short, and therefore not worth the credits, but I personally found them worth it. You will probably make your own decision on it, but if you are on the fence like I was, give the first one a try – you can always return it if you didn’t feel it was worth it.


Performance – 5/5

These are an extremely well narrated series of books, and you can tell a lot of effort has gone into it to create the best experience for the listener. The first person voice suited Corwin’s character perfectly and the other characters all had distinctive and suitably acted voices too. Alessandro’s fast reading style added to the pace and excitement of the story very nicely.


Overall – 5/5

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ross H
  • Ross H
  • 08-01-18

Good oldie

Finally we get to the crux of things here and you realise that the other books have been about character growth rather than action

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for DragonSlayer
  • DragonSlayer
  • 05-14-13

FANTASTIC FANTASY

I can only reiterate my review of Nine Princes in Amber. This is part of a quintology and, I feel, needs to be read or heard as one book as the story arc starts with Book 1 and finishes with Book 5. I read this book and also the subsequent four books years ago and was totally enthralled by them. I've been waiting a long time to get them on audio. The story is still brilliant but feel the performance could be improved upon. Alessandro Juliani does a good job but I feel audio books would really benefit from having a narrator and a different actors for the different characters. There is a limit to what one person can do by way of changing voices and it is sometimes difficult for a male to replicate a female voice and vice versa. However, having said the above, I really enjoyed the experience of Nine Princes in Amber and the subsequent four books of the quintology in audio.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Simon Toppin
  • Simon Toppin
  • 04-13-22

A lacklustre finish

The final book in one of the most originally conceived fantasy stories ever does not sustain the brilliance of the middle sections. Too much Freud, too rushed, too much philosophical rambling in place of action.

Nevertheless, if you've made it this far, you have no choice but to finish it and draw your own conclusions.