This series was probably the longest series I read in middle school, having given up on Xanth with Ogre, Ogre (I couldn’t get past trying to read from an Ogre’s point of view. Too much “Me smash. Me drink. Thirsty.” type talk.)
The series is definitely old school fantasy, complete with the stereotypes and tropes of the times (this book was first published in 1970), but the world building in it was very developed for such short books. The first book is a mere 175 pages–something almost unheard of in modern-day fantasy.
The idea that our own planet is a shadow and Amber is the real world fascinated me. In some ways, people have compared it to how a deity would feel having created a world and seeing people trying to emulate his/her creation.
Zelazny wasn’t the first one to explore these themes (nor will he be the last), but reading it made me think about what other worlds would look like. I pondered what life would be like as a god that could create entire solar systems.
Pretty heady stuff for a 7th grader.
Being concise has never been my strong point. As a writer, it takes a dozen or more revisions for me to trim out all the “fat” from my books, something Zelazny obviously didn’t struggle with.
I envy writers who can mince their words the right way. If only because I wish I could stop hearing my husband say “Get to the point.” 😉