It probably doesn’t bode well for my enjoyment of the rest of this series to be earnestly relieved that this fifth book marks the end of the first phase of the series. I possess all the others, which generally means that I will stick it out, or at least have a hard time removing it from my to read pile, but alas. This fifth book does tie a bow on the Corwin section of the series, with the closing of his pursuit of throne of Amber. A lot has happened and a lot more does happen, but the main points here involve Corwin finding out that someone he long thought was gone has actually been there all along. And we finally have someone ascend to the throne.
What emerges from especially this book is one, a sense of mythopoeia. The more loose references to myths and stories from other series and legends becomes quite a bit more obvious, especially with naming devices. Second, the concept of ambition and leadership take the forefront. The obvious motivation in the beginning was to stop the corrupt older brother from ascending to the throne as a naked power grab. But as that threat fades, more concerns arise. One being that the world is in a kind of balance similar (with some obvious reference as well) to Midgard/Argard and the other worlds from Norse mythology. So if the naked power grab aspect of things is no longer a threat, it’s just a matter then of putting the person who stopped it in charge, so much as looking for how to creating the right and necessary balance of the worlds.