I am a big Xanth fan, but I hadn't gotten any new episodes for over 10 years, because of becoming a very busy working mother. My brother-in-law got me this one after I had recently re-read all my old ones. The kids having finally gotten interested in Xanth got me going on my re-reading project.
I don't think this one measures up. It doesn't flow like the others and you don't get into the story. Maybe it's because there are too many main characters, so that none of them can be developed very well. They all run off in different directions and it's hard to keep track of what is going on or what the characters are like.
Maybe it's because, while the earlier stories were essentially cheery, this one has an underlying gloominess throughout.
When certain ones of the characters are announced to be in love, it seems like sort of an afterthought. You just don't get inside anyone's head enough to really empathize with them, so there's not enough buildup that would justify the characters' feelings.
The puns don't seem to be as good as they used to be either.
I don't think I'm just becoming jaded, because I was reading the earlier ones again to my kids at the same time I was reading this one and the earlier ones just seem better.