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4.6 out of 5 stars
A Spell for Chameleon
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I started reading Piers Anthony at a young age and I read this particular book about 8 or 9 years ago. I picked the book up at the book store and decided to re-read it. I couldn't have been happier about my decision. At the time, I did not appreciate all the humor and splendor in this book. Piers Anthony is my favorite author and I'm so glad this book reminded me of it! He is a spectacular writer who makes reading his books the most satisfying experience who could imagine. He has a wonderful imagination and the book pulls you right into Xanth. You genuinely not only feel for the characters, you feel as though you're there with them. His humor is subtle and wonderful and he ties up all loose ends so nicely, you know he was born just to bring joy to people like me by writing his wonderful books. I hope since you're reading this, that you spend the $7.00 for this magnificent book. It's one you'll want to hold on to for your children. I'm trying to collect the whole series to do just that. I hope you buy this book, you'll enjoy every bit of it!
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on February 8, 2001
One day I was looking through the science fantasy fiction isle... I wanted to know how to tell if I would like a certain book of this type or not. Not knowing anything about science fantasy fiction, but looking for something creatively entertaining...I came upon Piers Anthony novels, and wasn't sure what caught my eye to his novels...maybe the cover, but there were lots of neat covers on all these books. I think when I looked at all the books this man has written it gave me hope that he must be good, and that the copyright was in the 70's, and that he's still going strong. I took a chance and have to say I'm hooked and have started the second book in the series of Xanth. It's magical and creatively imaginable. I loved the Harry Potter books and found much of the inventiveness in these books as well. I enjoy going on these adventures with Bink and his cronies...it is truly enjoyable. All I have to do is open the book and feel that I'm a part of the story's journey...he makes his characters very likeable and interesting. I would recommend these books by this author.
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on December 26, 2000
I read my first Xanth book when I was 12, I am now less than a month away from 16. I was going through my school library about 2 weeks before Christmas vacation and found four books about Xanth. I liked Demons Don't Dream and understood many of the puns, I am actually quite mature for my age so I understand quite a bit. Most at my age hates to read but all I know that has picked up a book by Piers Anthony found it quite interesting. This book in paticular was exactly that, I will have to admit there is quite a bit of sexual referances to women but I myself didn't find them offensive in the least bit and I know for sure I am definately female. The book was full of adventure, fantasy, and romance... and let's not forget the silly puns. I guess you would have to have a good imagination and sense of humor to be interested in this book and I hope a lot of adults have as big an imagination as Piers Anthony. He did an absolute wonderful job on this book. I am now on the third book from the Vale of the Vole trilogy (I skipped a bunch of the books, library didn't have them all) and all of those I also reccomend.
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on November 24, 2000
I first read this book when I was 12 or 13. It was great. I recently have re-read it, at age 33, and it is still a good read. A Spell for Chameleon is one of Mr. Anthony's best books even after 20 years as a writer and well worth the read for anyone interesting in magic or fantasy.
In particular, the story centers on a young man named "Bink." In any other world, Bink would have it made. He is young, strong, a good fighter, and good looking. He has a beautiful girl and a good family.
Unfortunately, Bink lives in Xanth, a land of magic. In Xanth magic is so common that those without it seems strange. Indeed to be a human without magic, is to be a human who eventually will be expelled from Xanth. Bink does have magic, he just doesn't know what it is. As such, he is to be expelled from Xanth to a mundane world without magic.
In his adventures, he comes across a magician who controls the weather, another who can transform people to any creature at any time, and still another who is a master of illusions. He fights with dragons and giant worms, flees from hungry plants, and eventually comes entangled in a plot to overthown the current king. Along the way, he makes friends, falls in love, and, eventually, learns what his magic talent is.
A Spell for Chameleon is everything a fantasy book should be. It has adventure, romance, irony, and monsters. It is light hearted and a pleasant read. I enjoyed it very much and, if you like fantasy books, I think you will too.
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on July 21, 2000
I have been reading A Spell For Chameleon for the past couple days and I felt compelled to write what a marvelous book this is. Not only is this the my favorite Xanth novel, but one of my favorite novels ever. This book is brilliant, and the next 6 or so were good too. I don't even know where the puns get to be too much. I look back and think, "How did I get through those books). The brilliance of this book, the first book, got me to read the first 18 or so of the Xanth novels. I bought, Geis of the Gargoyle, or Harpy Thyme in hardcover (I can't remember which), read the first three chapters or so and quit because the puns got WAY too annoying. Some people may like them, but I feel they get in the way of good story telling. Maybe Mr. Anthony should write a seperate pun book and then get back to the Xanth series.
A Spell for Chameleon is AWESOME, and is worth anyone's time. But unless you can put up with puns, stay away from the last 7 or so novels. I even felt like a pervert the more I got into the series because the topics became less adult, but more juvenile in nature. Yes, I mean it. I felt LESS an adult by reading all the panty talk. It got to be ridiculous, and I felt it was a waste of my time. Thank you for your time.
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on July 12, 2000
You tend to see polarized reactions to Xanth. People either love it, or hate it. I think thats because the Xanth series has a limited appeal (mainly to boys between the ages of 11 and 14).
You see, I have been in both positions. In my pre and early teens I read just about every Xanth book there was, by my late teens I wouldn't get near any of Anthony's work. At the grand old age of 22 I can look back and see why I enjoyed it when I enjoyed it.
Anthony does the entire sword and sorcery thing and adroitly mixes in lots of sexual tension and innuendo. The later is what makes it so appealing to teenage boys. Young guys swimming with hormones just eat it up. However, once you get out of the initial stages of adolesence, Xanth, with its puns and predictable plot line, becomes very boring.
You'll gobble this book up, as well as its subsequent sequels, if you're in the aforementioned demographic, but probably won't like it if you aren't (although I have talked to a few women in their 20's and early 30's who like it). When it comes down to it Xanth is like one of those teeny-bopper rock groups, you really dig it for a short time, and then throw it away with disgust.
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on March 25, 2000
What makes Xanth so wonderful is that even though it's magic, and even though anything can happen, it is written in such a way that we can see the experiences of the characters happening to us. We can put ourselves into the story. When we can put ourselves into the story, we want to find out what happens to us, quite naturally. I found myself empathizing with Bink, repsecting Trent and Humfrey, pitying Iris for her narrow-mindedness, etc. The world is fantasy, but the characters are QUITE real. Things happen in the story, but Piers makes sure that everything that happens in the story serves to tell us more about the characters. Piers seems to have written this book as if he were convinced it took place on Earth. He was able to explain the nuances of the fantasy world through the thoughts and reflections of realistic characters, thus making the world more realisitc and less pointlessly silly, as it seems in later novels. But this is a classic; I couldn't put it down. It was both entertaining and rich in insight. Castle Roogna and Ogre, Ogre were that way too. Great adventures, great theme. Must read.
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on April 10, 1999
I have read all 22 Xanth novels. Six of them really stand out as good stories: Good, moral, heroic main characters, cool talents and magical abilities, good storyline. They get pretty serious, and it almost seems that Piers is trying to teach young readers through the good, moral, honorable, heroic characters, how to act in real life. But most of them get so congested with puns that there's really nothing going on, and it just gets corny. The six good ones are A Spell for Chameleon#1 Castle Roogna#3 Ogre, Ogre#5 Crewel Lye: A Caustic Yarn#8 Heaven Cent#11 and Question Quest#14. Faun & Games#21 had an OK character named Atilla the Pun. The puns get on my nerves. I like puns, I just don't like Piers Anthony's puns. When he started this series he wrote for young men. Now he writes for troublesome adolescents, it seems. He can't go a book without mentioning breasts and panties. Yes, there is a romance in virtually every Xanth book, but still, the sexual inuendos don't fit; they're out of context. I guess Piers just ran out of cool magic talents for his characters. Because let's face it: that's what made the series. When it had magicians with interesting talents that one could base an entire story on the ramifications of them, it was a good series. It isn't anymore. Read the first 14 and then stop.
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on January 3, 1998
Definately the best novel of the sci-fi genre, and quite possibly the best novel ever written! It has everything! You'll find humor, action, romance, drama, fantasy, plain, honest fun, and much, MUCH MORE! Hmmm... It's too bad the grading scale doesn't go above 10. It deserves at least a 72 on this scale! This is the book that started it all, and although it's true, the Xanth novels DO get a little weaker as they progress along the 21 (so far) volume set, in NO WAY do they become anywhere NEAR boring or trying. This book is sure to envelop and enrapture you, and plant the seeds of your addiction to Xanth if you give it a try! Mr. Anthony is the GREATEST!!!! Never has there been a more delightfully realistic, yet captivatingly fictional place as Xanth, and Anthony brings it to life in such a way that you will SWEAR that Xanth really exists. No other author could ever create a more splendid and felicitous story as A Spell for Chameleon, try as they may...
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on May 12, 2000
Be warned: if you fall in love with this book, you'll want to read the 2,000 sequels, and after three or four of them, you'll realise your mistake. They're much, much inferior.
This is by far the best of the Xanth series--a terrific little book, funny, exciting, with a perfect twist of an ending. Anthony's excesses are even somewhat charming when encountered for the first time (sexism, puns, billions of uninteresting supporting characters., etc.). It really is worth the read.
Xanth is a marvellous place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. Everybody has a magical talent of lesser or greater degree, but our hero seems to lack one, and heads for exile and adventure.
Note: a 3 star ranking from me is actually pretty good; I reserve 4 stars for really original works, and 5 only for the rare few that are or ought to be classic; unfortunately most books published are 2 or less.
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