Lord of Light ★★☆☆½

lordoflight (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Lord of Light
Series: ———-
Author: Roger Zelazny
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 304
Format: Digital Edition



Humanity has made it through the stars and to a new planet. At least, one spaceship did. But on this planet, they found it inhabited by incorporeal demonic beings, other sentient beings of various powers and the crew of the ship all gained mutant powers. Combining these powers with their technology, they became veritable gods and began the conquest of the world.

They conquered. They rule. They live in heaven while the rest of humanity starts the cycle of civilization all over again.

One of the gods, the Buddha, Sam, opposes them at every turn. He starts new religions, he tries to jump start innovations. Sam is killed, many times, is sent to Nirvanna, goes into hiding and eventually weakens them enough that humanity can begin remembering its heritage.

This is the story of the Lord of Light throughout the ages as he opposes the gods in many different ways.


My Thoughts:

I’ve never been a big fan of Zelazny. I was introduced to him in my early teens through the Amber books. I was too young and didn’t understand them and stopped at book 2. When I read the whole series again decades later, I was very underwhelmed. So I wanted to try one more of his books to double check my opinion. Yep, Zelazny is not for me, at all.

While I was reading this I felt like I was reading a combination of John Wright’s Count to the Eschaton series and Dave Duncan’s Seventh Swordsman. Both of those obviously came much later but since I had read them first, well, the punch from this was gone.

Zelazny was obviously in love with Buddhism when he wrote this and it miasmates from almost every word. No, “miasmate” is not a real word, but I’m having the problem of getting across the bone deep stench that permeates a dead corpse and somehow applying it to this story.

There was nothing technically wrong here. I just don’t like Zelazny’s style and his choice of conveying a Science Fiction story was sideways instead of being told straight forward. So I can now say with 100% certainty that I don’t like Zelazny’s writings and I’ll never read another again.

If you’ve never read any of his stuff, this might be a good place to start. It is a standalone and showcases his style to the tee. With the Amber you’re potentially committing to 10 (albeit very short ones) books. Chances are if you like this you’ll like his other stuff. My experience also leads me to think that if you don’t like this,you won’t like his other stuff as well.





49 thoughts on “Lord of Light ★★☆☆½

    1. Wow, you are a real weirdo then!

      And that is a perfect example of why no one book review will always be accurate. That’s why I follow the people I do and get a combined feel for a book 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have always wanted to read his Ambers series – but I’m too suprised you weren’t the biggest fan of those books or this one either. From personal experience, I find that a lot of these “classic” SF/F authors, the style in which they write (everything from prose, to pace, and actually storytelling) I am just not used to it and have not grown to like it :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you want to broaden your SFF foundation, then Amber is a good one to get under your belt.
      I read them individually instead of in the big huge omnibus I’ve seen kicking around, and since they’re so short, you can blow through one quickly and then take a break.
      But if you’re reading purely for enjoyment, then you might want to take a hard look before diving in 🙂


  2. Heh, one of my favourite writers, and, after Amber and A Night in Lonesome…, one of my favourite works by him 🙂 One day, after a re-read, I’ll review it, now I’ll only point out that it can easily be seen as more s/f than you make it sound, with demonic beings being the original inhabitants (I don’t remember them as incorporeal, but it was long ago…) and the crew of colonization ship re-enacting Hindu myths in real-life thanks to technological superiority over the rest of the population. Now, I don’t remember much about the writing, and Zelazny had his worse days in that regard – personally I didn’t like Creatures of Light and Darkness – but for me it’s a very clever novel you can easily fall in love with. Heck, you inspired me to finally order an English version today for said re-read 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, the SF side of things is so cloaked in mystical hokum that it took me quite a while to even figure out what was going on.

      But a re-read on your part, especially since you like him, is always a good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I think I might have enjoyed this more if the SF side of things were more prominent. If Zelazny had explored their rise to power, the mutations as they occurred, that type of thing. Their rise to godhood sounds fascinating. But here we get a lot of philosophical and theological stuff that is already fully formed. I want to see the blueprints, the foundation, see the building being built. Not just watch as one man tears it all down.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I tried to read the Amber series. It was in an omnibus so I am not sure how far I got. I remember a car, a seemingly never ending climb up stairs, and a rather cool prison stay. But I so didn’t get the appeal. It was mostly just like readin’ something written while on acid. I was mostly just confused. His writing doesn’t seem to be me thing.
    x The Captain

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah that’s the problem. I haven’t done acid either. Not a fun trip judging by the times me mates did so and I was there to witness. Goin’ pass on doing acid and reading any more of this author’s work. Arrrr!
        x The Captain

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been tempted with grabbing the Amber anthology at my local used book store, but after reading your review I’m going to await my own reading of Lord of Light later this year *fingers crossed*

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love Amber 1-5 and Lord of Light is one of my favorite SF books ever 😉 Zelazny is as much a SF/fantasy writer as a poet – so “mystical hokum” and throwing the reader in the middle of it all without a word of explanation are kind of his thing 😉
    But I understand your point of view – Zelazny’s ideas in the field of fantasy/SF were groundbreaking in the 60’s and 70’s, but not any longer – there are many later day authors who use his ideas freely today.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think someone above expressed the same, but I really liked the first half of the Amber books (haven’t gone back to the second half yet). Still, parts were really weird and trippy, which I wasn’t so crazy about. I have a couple other books of his on my shelf (not this one, I don’t think), so I’ll have to see what I think of him on the macro…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My only encounter with Zelazny’s works was through “Damnation Alley”, and my memory of it is somewhat sketchy considering the long time (close to 40 years, I believe) since then, but this novel sounds quite different from “Damnation Alley”, and I’m not sure I would enjoy it…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I read some Zelazny short story collections when I was young, and I vaguely seem to remember mostly liking them. I may pick one up again later this year and see what I think now.

    I was definitely too young for that one short story with necrophilia, though. Come to think of it, I’m still too young for it. Nobody under the age of 150 should be allowed to read that story.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I sort of quickly fell in love with the word “miasmates” and then you crushed my dreams by revealing it wasn’t a word…. 😦 Having a Neil Gaiman quote on the cover is pretty alluring though. Maybe I’ll give this a shot someday and see what’s up with his writing style. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have Nine Princes in Amber in my TBR already. That has to be your doing. 🤣 I had to add Lord of Light because of how it seemed more “modern” based on the cover hahah I only just realized it was just the edition that was new. The author isn’t even among us anymore.

        Liked by 1 person

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