I’m having one of those days.  One of those days where I feel like I need to write about something, I actually really want to write about something, but the idea of undertaking the writing completely overwhelms me.  So rather than doing a proper write-up, like something I might put on the website, I will now use this space to gather my thoughts in hopes of unburying myself from this mental avalanche. 

Yesterday, the world lost an icon.  I’ll go so far as to say we were robbed.  I’m sure most of you already know this, and while it pains me to repeat it, we must come to terms with the fact that Ronnie James Dio is gone.  I thought flipping on the iPod and rocking out this morning would be appropriate, and it is, but it makes me rather melancholy.  I’m not one to get upset over death, especially of someone I don’t know personally, and I guess there’s a hundred reasons why this particular loss affects me so.  Maybe because his music played such a big part in shaping me into the person I am today.  Maybe it was the unexpected nature of it.  I guess the reasons aren’t as important as the fact that this person touched my life and countless others, and he will be sorely missed.  I like to think that he ran into Frank Frazetta on the way up to the clouds, and the two of them are riding saber-tooth tigers through the sky and weilding battle axes and are ready to kick the shit out of the afterlife.  And any time someone throws metal, we’ll think of Dio.

But enough sadness.  For about a week I’ve been wanting to write about the book I just finished.  It’s the first in a series of five, and now that I’ve moved on to the second book, I figure I should write about the first before it falls too far out of mind.  The series: The Chronicles of Amber, by Roger Zelazny.  Book one, Nine Princes In Amber, is IMHO effing brilliant.  I don’t think I’ll ruin it by giving you the premise, so here it is: a guy wakes up from a coma after a car accident with no memory, but a really bad feeling that his crash was no accident and that some nasty shit is going down.  He then must piece together bits of his identity and determine not only who he is, but who is out to get him, why, and what the hell he is gonna do about it.  Since this isn’t an official review I’ll try to be brief, but here’s a few tidbits I think are great:

1. The main character: Corwin, our “hero”, may not have an identity but he has a hell of a personality.  Even in doubt he manages to come across as very sure of himself, and his luck is astounding yet completely believable.  Some of the initial exchanges he has with his sister are priceless.  And for being a hero and a prince (oops, spoiler. kinda.), he’s incredibly relatable, completely endearing, and impeccably normal somehow.  Which ties into…

2. The tone: written from a firsthand perspective, every word we read is Corwin’s.  Part of the beauty of the way that it’s written is in his language.  He starts off very casual, very normal (for lack of a better word), and as he learns more about himself we see him leaning more and more toward formal speech, regal speech.  But the brilliance is in the way that Zelazny weaves the two together, and it really sets Corwin apart from the rest of the characters who wholly enhabit the world of Amber.  It serves as a constant reminder that he is not like them, that he is different.  And in the end, it’s that little bit of difference that gives him the edge against all others. 

Ok, that wasn’t even as brief as I wanted to be, and since I plan to expand on these for a full-fledged CMDS article, I’ll save the rest for that.  Consider this a teaser.  BWAHAHA.  And here’s the cheesiest book cover I could find:  

 

So I’ll leave you with that for the moment, as I feel this review is going to take a while.  Ahhh, book reviews.  Feels like I’m in college again.  As long as this doesn’t turn into a 15-page paper on the use of language as identity (and it might!), we should be alright. 

Be excellent to each other, little ones.  Love you, mean it.