Merlin is still a bit of a putz.
There were a number of times in this novel where I was thinking "No, you idiot, don't trust that person and tell them all your plans...oh, great, you already did it. And they took advantage of you. Way to go." But in a way, it's pretty cool that, despite the similarities due to the first-person narrative, Merlin is quite a different character than his father was/is(I'm convinced Corwin is still alive out there). He acts quite a bit differently, and reacts to things differently. Corwin was more of a badass conniving Amberite, whereas Merlin... is a bit of a hippie... magician/shapeshifter/Chaos Lord.
I also have to take a moment to praise Zelazny's action sequences. This man is a master of writing combat. As someone who has trained in several different martial arts and also with the sword, I can say definitively that this man knows what he's writing about when it comes to fighting. There is a school of thought that says that you shouldn't write combat in too much detail, that the detail obscures the flow of the scene. Bollocks. The only time I don't mind an author skimping on combat detail is when the POV character who is witnessing the battle knows nothing about combat. If the character is a fighter, however, then narrative of the fights need to contain the level of understanding of combat that a fighter would have. Zelazny, obviously well-versed in swordplay and unarmed combat himself, does this perfectly.
Looking forward to the next one!