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on November 14, 2003
I am not a fantasy reader. I never have been, until I read this book. It seems to me that all of the other fantasy novels include such ridiculus names that you can't seem to remember who is who which really frustrated me, so I never took a liking to them. Well, at least that was how it was with me! But with this book, the characters that Piers Anthony portrays is a whole different story. You come to form a bond between them. You learn about their families, their lives and follow them throughout their adventures and trials of love and challenges. They aren't much different from us except that they harvest pies from trees in their backyard and everybody has a magical talent! I was very skeptical at first when my friend gave it to me to read. I opened it up and read the first 10 pages and I was like Noooo way! This is crazy! What are all these puns doing in here and WHY? But, my friend just told me to keep reading. That was 2 1/2 years ago! I am STILL reading the Xanth novels today. So far I am on book 21. But, I have to say the original characters, Bink, Chameleon, Trent, Iris, and their children Dor and Irene, Old Magician Humphrey, and the centaurs Chet and Chem are still my favorite today. I miss those old characters! And what is really wonderful is that they age right along with you! Every book is (in Xanth) about 3 years apart to keep things moving. But old Binker is still my favorite! So...if your not a Fantasy lover currently, just pick up this book and give it a good read. I think you will change your mind. I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud or (Shhhh) sniffled, or was on the edge of my seat!
This whole series is very light-hearted, easy to read and just a lot of fun to ecsape from reality with.
But, I must say if you do start reading this series I strongly recommend not skipping any books (unless you absolutely must).
Just have fun with it and don't take it too seriously.
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on July 30, 2001
Piers Anthony is a very uneven writer, and this book shows that more so than anything else I have read. The problem with Xanth is that you need to read the bad books to understand what is going on in the good books. And this is one of the worst books he has written.
The ideas are terrific in this book. He really did create a terrific plot full of delicious characters with interesting motivations. But the dialogue is wooden, unbelievable, and just plain poorly written.
However, one thing Mr. Anthony does well is create characters that are unusual and different. Trent is one of the most engaging villains I have ever read, because his motivations are so non-villainous. Piers Anthony lets us play with concepts of Good and Evil in this book, and he lets us decide morality for ourselves. This is refreshing, since most fantasy novels hit you over the head with the morality. The guy in the black robes who laughs as he tortures his minions is evil, the knight with the white robes and blond hair is good. Piers Anthony gives no such simple motivations and actions.
However, I wish that he had come up with the ideas, then given the book to someone else (say, James Blaylock) to write. It would have read much better.
For the next few novels, particularly The Source of Magic and Castle Roogna, Mr. Anthony's style improves, and he discards the wooden, exposition-heavy, idiotic dialogue for a more natural, conversational tone. Those books are much more enjoyable to read. But this book is the painful tooth-pulling we must go through before we are allowed to have the good stuff. It's like being forced to do your homework before you can watch Invader Zim.
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on April 23, 2001
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 April 21, 2002
I have read many a Xanth book and the trick is DO NOT TAKE IT TO SERIOUSLY! Xanth book are fun. The puns are helarious and i would recommend this book to anyone that doesn't mind a few(try a million) cheesy jokes. Now i have heard some say that Mr. Anthony doesn't really portray women in a good light but like i said above, don't take the books to seriously. It all fun, and as far as i'm concerned thats what books are for; entertainment. If your not entertained then what is the point?
This book is about a guy named Bink who doesn't seem to have a magical talent and is very near being kicked out of Xanth and into Mundania, our world completely devoid of magic. So of course he goes to the Good Magician Humfrey who sends him on a Quest. On the way he meets Chameleon whom on their third meeting begins to like her. He then gets caught up in another quest of Evil Magician Trents, who was banished many a year ago becuase obviously he was evil. And in the process he discovers he does have a magic talent! but for some reason i don't think the king will believe him...
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on February 11, 2004
I passed by these books everytime I went to the book store. I didn't think I would enjoy these novels, they looked too childish. I finally ran out of other fiction to read, so I picked the first book up in a used book store. Boy was I surprised. I enjoyed it so much I decided to buy the whole series. This series definitely has a quirky side to it. However it is a very enjoyable fantasy series. Full of excellent imagery, characters and storylines. Mr. Anthony is constantly coming up with interesting new stories for this series. The puns don't destroy the fantasy element. They add an enjoyable sidenote. These novels took me through a variety of emotions (most of which either had me chuckling or laughing outloud). "Question Quest" (book #14) is the last book in the series that I have read so far. I definitely plan on reading the rest though.
I have read more than 450 fantasy novels in the past 15+ years, so I am always trying to find something a little new and entertaining. Xanth definitely fills this requirement. I highly recommend these novels for a quick light read.
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on May 7, 2003
I couldn't decide whether to keep puzzling over this book or just laugh myself silly, its that good.
Young Bink is in trouble. Unless he can prove to the senile old king that he has a magical talent al his own, out he goes. Only the magical may stay in Xanth, and facing life in the outside world, Mundania (you guesses it, here), is more than Bink can take, particularly since it means parting from the girl he loves. So, he sets out on a quest to find his talent, and his place in the world.
The book has its fair share of bad puns and clever lines, but most of the humour comes from the ridiculous situations that can happen only in Xanth. Imagine a world where everything is magical to some degree. Than imagine a world where everything is completely weird. Than ad the fact that every tiny little problem always escalates to a huge catastrophe. Multiply by ten. Than you have Xanth.
If you like Terry Pratchets Discworld, you will probably like Xanth too. Give it a try. And have fun!
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on April 14, 2004
Lately, have you run into any carnivorous Tangler trees? Haw about the gigantic, Roc bird, or a Manticore (shown on the cover of the book). Do you get your shoes of a ripe shoe tree. If so, you're living in Piers Anthony's magical land of Xanth!
Introducing the average, Earth dwelling human to this fantasy world could prove to be difficult. But Anthony mastered this with wit, extraordinary word choice, and well formed characters. He begins this mystical series with 'A Spell for Chameleon'. Bink of the North Village has no magic talent. Every citizen in Xanth is born with a talent, even if it's what is called "spot on the wall" magic; a useless talent. If a citizen of Xanth does not have apparent magic by age 25, they would be banished. All the kids in North Village taunted him about his seemingly lack of magic, they would laugh and call him the "Talentless Wonder", and harassed him with dim -witted logic and what Anthony calls 'garden variety' magic. They would never be further off in assuming Bink had no magic within him!
Bink, although he was a supposed talentless wonder, was no weakling, in intellect nor body. If the other children were to race him, Bink always won. Well he won according to "Mundane" (no magic) rules. But when magic interfered some cheap kid who could create an illusionary hole, or run through hills, generally won. Still , Bink grew p to be a fine mane, and held no hindrance to magic itself. In fact, Bink was quite curious about it. But curiosity does not help you find a magic talent, and in a couple of weeks Bink would be banished to Mundania, a world with no magic, otherwise known as "Earth".
Apparently having no magic in a magical land is bad enough, but there is more to it. There would be no exception made for Bink, unless he had a visible talent, and he would be banished not long after his 25th birthday. The decrepit Storm King, Xanth's current king, enforced this law wholly. The only thing Bink could think to do is go to the Good Magician Humfrey, who has all the answers. Also, Humfrey charges one years service per answer, and Bink would have to stay and fulfill his payment before he was banished.
Bink is sent on a journey that would discover some amazing secrets, and repeal all accusations. along the way, he would meet many friends and magical creatures, as well as the previous Evil Magician Trent, who has definitely changed his scene.
A Spell for Chameleon is a definite must-read for any fantasy fan, and any other book fan at that! If you enjoy a witty, clever, creative and fun book, I would recommend any Piers Anthony book!
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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 February 17, 2004
I have been always reading fantasy books such as Harry Potter for my entire life. But this book was extremely good, no other fantasy books can ever compare with this book! Just a few months ago, a friend of mine lent me this book to read over the winter, which a teacher introduced her to read. As usual, I took this book casually as though I read this many times and took it without notice. However, as I started reading, I was immediately emerging into the book. It did not seem like any other original fantasy as I have read before like Harry Potter; talking about magic and casting spells! This book, took me into magical worlds where I could never have imagined and the description makes me feel like I¡¦m watching the characters doing things first-hand.
There is one unique way in how Mr. Anthony writes, which I really admire. Each character he describes is really different from each other and unusual. I¡¦m using the word unusual is because one of the characters he described was known as a villain however this villain turned out not doing any villainous action. Basically, he misleaded us and surprised us!
In this book, each person/character obtains a skill, where each individual has his or her own magic. However, the main character Bink was forced to lead a magical journey and duels with the most evil wizard known in his magical world. If one likes to read books about magic, adventure, and fantasy this is a must read book!
Also, since I have started this fantasy, I have never stopped reading, up till now; I have read the first three series of Xanth (the name this magical world Bink and the other characters dwell in). I¡¦m going to continue and finish the rest of the series about Xanth since this book is really good!
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