Roger Zelazny – The Hand Of Oberon

More than the previous books is The Hand Of Oberon (1976) a direct continuation of the previous book, Sign Of The Unicorn, and in that way the main story arc of the first series of the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny. As the first few books were still able to be read as a standalone, that is not possible here.

Although in the early part there is still some normal movement of the story we quickly move into the ending stages of the main story arc. What marks this book mostly is that there is a lot of explanation going on to understand the complexity of the story and all the events that happened in between, including explanations that that look at the truth in different perspectives. We also get to learn more about the true nature of the universe of Amber.

The Hand Of Oberon contains some classic Amber events, but overall it is not as exhilarating as the previous books. Of the five books of the series The Hand Of Oberon is the weakest one. It is more of a conclusion to Sign Of The Unicorn as the two seem to form a more whole story together than apart. The complexity of the events becomes less and more linear in structure. Still it contains many elements that make the Amber series so great, including a clever finale. In a way it is remarkable that so many mysteries get resolved in this book already. The Hand Of Oberon is a book of disclosure. Most writers would leave it for the actual ending or explanation afterwards. Instead Zelazny is clearly setting the stage for the final book of the first series, The Courts Of Chaos. Doing a lot of explanations at the end is not what he wants. Most of the disclosures fit within the flow of events. Some are added extra as adding them at the end would probably have looked awkward. In this book it doesn’t fall out of place.

It is always troublesome to compare books within a series that contains several great books. The other books are still good, but in the review they seem less then as you mainly notice what is less good while overall its still way better than average.

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