Read A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony Online


Xanth was the enchanted land where magic ruled - where every citizen had a special spell only he could cast. It was a land of centaurs and dragons and basilisks.For Bink of North Village, however, Xanth was no fairy tale. He alone had no magic. And unless he got some - and got some fast! - he would be exiled. Forever!But the Good Magician Humfrey was convinced that Bink diXanth was the enchanted land where magic ruled - where every citizen had a special spell only he could cast. It was a land of centaurs and dragons and basilisks.For Bink of North Village, however, Xanth was no fairy tale. He alone had no magic. And unless he got some - and got some fast! - he would be exiled. Forever!But the Good Magician Humfrey was convinced that Bink did indeed have magic. In fact, both Beauregard the genie and the magic wall chart insisted that Bink had magic. Magic as powerful as any possessed by the King or by Good Magician Humfrey - or even by the Evil Magician TrentBe that as it may, no one could fathom the nature of Bink's very special magic. Bink was in despair. This was even worse than having no magic at all..and he would still be exiled!...

Title : A Spell for Chameleon
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345258557
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 344 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Spell for Chameleon Reviews

  • Renee
    2019-02-25 02:45

    I saw A Spell for Chameleon on a shelving cart the other day and realized two things. First, that I'd read it before and enjoyed it, but had forgotten it completely. Second, that the author was Piers Anthony, who's been described as an outrageous sexist even among sci-fi/fantasy writers. So I picked up a copy, for nostalgia's sake but also to see if Anthony was so bad (he couldn't be, right? I mean, I liked this before...). And after reading it again, all I can say is...HOW DID I MISS THIS? HOW?On the second page--second. page.--we get this:"Bink looked at the girl beside him as she stepped through the slanting sunbeam. He was no plant, but he too had needs, and even the most casual inspection of her made him aware of this. Sabrina was absolutely beautiful--and her beauty was completely natural. Other girls managed to enhance their appearance by cosmetics or padding or specialized spells, but beside Sabrina all other females looked somewhat artificial. She was no enemy!"Atrocious writing aside ("absolutely beautiful"--damn it, man, at least TRY), the whole thing oozes creepy pervert syndrome. A female introduced by referring to her effect on the protagonist's penis? Check. The emphasis on "natural" beauty, as if it was some sort of personal accomplishment and not just the luck of the draw? Check. Reference to undesirable women (i.e., those who've put on make-up/padding/whatever, aka artifices taken on to please men, how dare they) as the "enemy"? Check.And that's just page 2. Without spoiling anything, Chameleon's entire character presents problems. A lady centaur's recital of Xanth's history is interrupted with infantile comments about her boobies. Aforementioned Sabrina will not give up everything she knows & loves to follow Bink into exile, and therefore she doesn't love him enough (another example of childishness, but it also shows how Anthony views women as less than people, more like accessories). Every married woman is either a shrew or a dried-up husk. Says protagonist Bink,"...the Sorceress Iris seemed beautiful, but I met others who weren't. Once they get old or married, they--" [...:]"'Women don't have to get ugly when they marry,' Fanchon said. [...:] 'Some start out that way.'" Got that? Married = ugly (applies to women only, of course). Wow.But that's not the worst moment. No. The worst thing about this book is that Anthony has, for no visible plot-related purpose, inserted a fake rape trial into his book so he can dismiss the idea of date rape. As the judge explains the "not guilty" verdict:"'Then I presume she would have fled him at the outset, had she disliked him--and that he would not have forced her if she trusted him.'"*emits primal scream*Everything's couched in such artless language, too, which just makes it worse. It's all "needs" "urges" "absolutely beautiful" "me tarzan, you jane." Even born mouth-breathers can write well (see: Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller), so what gives?The only reason I can figure for my earlier positive impression (aside from being 12 at the time & clueless) is that I was taken in by Anthony's imaginative world-building & skillful plotting. Because--I'll give him this--he has entertaining ideas (e.g., tangle trees, conscious landscapes & buildings). I also, despite loathing Bink, remained curious about his particular power--Anthony strongly hints at it throughout the book without giving it away. There's enough good in this book that I wish Anthony was a better writer/thinker/person. But he's not.

  • Azz Lunatic
    2019-03-06 02:58

    It took several years for what exactly made me maddest about this book to sink in. I finally figured it out. When our narrator and Chameleon (in ugly phase) were imprisoned together, Chameleon asked for a curtain for some privacy for the chamber pot. Our narrator nodded wisely to himself: a beautiful girl does not mind being looked at, but an ugly girl wants to hide herself from the eyes of everyone. In the absence of being able to pitch the narrator across the room, I settled for the book.

  • Lyn
    2019-02-21 23:54

    Very original and with good storytelling, this is a good fantasy by an excellent writer. Bink is at first banished from Xanth for apparently not having a magical talent until it is revealed that he does have a very unique magical quality.The element of this book that I still remember today ( I read this in HS more than 25 years ago) is the magical characteristics of Chameleon. Her beauty and charisma runs inversely to her intelligence, similar to a menstrual cycle. So as the month goes on, she gets more and more attractive while she gets less and less intelligent. Then, the cycle reverses, her IQ waxes as her beauty wanes, until she is a near genius hag! Only a man would think of that and then could pull it off, I still laugh thinking about it.

  • Dirk Grobbelaar
    2019-03-22 06:05

    Xanth. Where nothing is quite as it seems, and even inanimate objects can cast spells; where even puns aren’t so much puns, as something else…He remembered the wild oats he had planted as an adolescent. Sea oats were restless, but their cousins the wild oats were hyperactive. They had fought him savagely, their stems slashing across his wrists as he tried to harvest a ripe ear.Despite the lightheartedness of the story there is a perilous undertone. Xanth is a magical place, but it can be pretty dangerous too, since it is extremely unpredictable. It’s a place where walking off into the woods at night is almost sure to get you killed, and the method of demise can be as inane as “death by peacefulness” (which essentially boils down to losing all interest in living).Bizarre dialogue interlude"May we stop for a drink?" "Not here! Anyone who drinks from that water becomes a fish.""A fish? Why?""The river is trying to restock itself.”So, the first half of the book is undoubtedly silly. So what? In fact, it’s more than silly, it’s often frankly bizarre and most likely best enjoyed with your hallucinogen of choice close at hand.The book is also written in episodic format. I’m not sure whether it was originally intended to be, or published separately as, a short story collection. I did seem to detect echoes of Jack Vance’s Dying Earth saga in here.Whenever I rate a book I try to bear in mind when it was written. That’s to say, what may have been relevant in 1977 (when A Spell For Chameleon was published), may not be relevant today, but should not by default disqualify the book. Or, for example, if the book was written for a younger audience, I should not be rating it down for being immature, because it may be exceptionally suited to its target audience. The book was well received, at any rate, and it won the August Derleth award.Only a phenomenal series of coincidences had saved his skin. He knew that coincidence was an untrustworthy ally.The ridiculousness of the book is its own reward. It’s (almost) impossible to take it seriously. This is particularly true for the first half of the story, but the tone changes somewhat in the second half. The latter sequences deal with themes like the nature of the magic of Xanth, its relation to the “real” (mundane) world and the Xanth gene pool. Also: redemption, haunted castles and zombie crocodiles.Despite its apparent flaws, there are some genuinely touching moments, however fleeting. Perhaps, at its heart this is just a love story, perhaps not, but the essence of the book is really captured by the following line: It was dangerous to play with magic unless the precise nature of the spell was understood.I totally expected to dislike it (from reading the reviews here), but it was a fun read and rather different to some of the other stuff around. [read: guilty pleasure]3.5 starsA spell for Chameleon. What an astonishing enchantment.

  • Kevin
    2019-03-19 04:06

    I wish I could give this book a higher review. The storytelling is tight, the magic is interesting, and it can be occasionally funny. But the characters are mostly two-dimensional, with maybe an extra half dimension added to The Evil Magician Trent and to Chameleon of the book's title. And oh my god is this thing sexist. Chameleon herself could be a truly great character if Anthony had much interest in watch she thinks of her condition, of how her thinking changes as she changes, or in any other aspect of her as a person. But no, she's just Teh Hottie reward for our annoying hero, Bink, who as a stand-in for the author (and why not presume as much) is a whining douchebag. He's supposed to be 25 years old? Really? I've met 12 year old boys with more maturity.

  • Jill
    2019-03-17 03:59

    This book follows Bink as he undertakes an Odyssey-like series of adventures in a search to discover his magical talent. It's set in the land of Xanth, a Florida-shaped land of magic and literal puns reminiscent of Wonderland, or Oz perhaps. I thought Xanth was a pretty fun, quirky world. I particularly liked the history and Anthony's unique take on magic as being an evolutionary biological trait. Really, I would have enjoyed the book thoroughly (even in spite of Anthony's weird love affair with the word balk and all its forms).Except this book is too darn sexist.Now, don't get me wrong. It's not the fact that this book can't pass the Bechdel test, or that only women are ever shown doing domestic duties. It's not that female characters are typically either beautiful but evil or stupid or else smart but ugly or nagging. It's not statements like this odd bit: "Chameleon, like most girls, had to answer calls of nature frequently, particularly when she was excited" (p. 311). I mean, what? Whatever, Piers Anthony. It's not even the weird prevalence of nudity, especially female nudity. None of those things really do more than annoy me. At most, I'd take off two stars for them. And really, it's often hard to tell if Anthony himself is at all chauvinistic. But a couple of things were just bad.This was the WORST moment (minor spoilerage):(view spoiler)[Not too far into the book, Bink finds himself an accidental participant in a strange rape trial. The trial is meant to be private and anonymous so as to protect the identity of the victim and the accused, which is an interesting and somewhat commendable thing to try. Except you can't really get anywhere in a trial and still keep everyone truly anonymous, and sure enough, this trial goes nowhere. The way it's done is three men, only one of which is the true accused (and one is Bink), act in tandem as the accused, so nobody knows which one it really is. Same for the victim side. Three women act in tandem as the victim and only one is the true victim. Only the bailiff knows who is really whom, and he's not revealing it per the court's effort to keep things anonymous. And this is what happens:(excerpt from p. 57)Now the judge spoke. "Was it close to a house?""'Bout a hundred feet," the bailiff said."Then why did she not scream?""He said he'd push her off the brink if she made a sound," the bailiff replied. "She was frozen in terror. Right girls?"They nodded--and each looked momentarily terrified. Bink wondered which of the three had actually been raped. Then he corrected his thought hastily: which one had made the accusation? He hoped it wasn't the one opposite him."Were the two known to each other prior to the occasion?""Yes, Your Honor.""Then I presume she would have fled him at the outset, had she disliked him--and that he would not have forced her if she trusted him. In a small community like this, people get to know each other very well, and there are few actual surprises. This is not conclusive, but it strongly suggests she had no strong aversion to contact with him, and may have tempted him with consequence she later regretted. I would probably, were this case to come up in formal court, find the man not guilty of the charge, by virtue of reasonable doubt."The three men relaxed. Bink became aware of a trickle of sweat on his forehead, generated while he listed to the judge's potential decision."Okay, you have the judge's ifso," said the bailiff. "You girls still want to bring it to open trial?"Grim-faced, looking betrayed, the three girls shook their heads, no. Bink felt sorry for his opposite. How could she avoid being seductive? She was a creature constructed for no other visible purpose than ra--than love."Then take off," the bailiff said. "Remember--no talking outside, or we'll have a real trial, for contempt of court." (hide spoiler)]....No.No, no.No, no, no.No.No.And no.And also no.And let us conclude with a very firm: NO....NOOOOOOOO!!!Really I have no other words for that scene. There is just nothing right in that scene and everything wrong. And it wasn't even remotely necessary to the plot!! And it DOES read as though Anthony endorses THIS kind of horrifying sexism. It's just horrendous. It makes me that special kind of angry where you want to cry. Utterly repulsive.The second real issue I had was not quite so offensive (not hard to be less offensive than that scene), but it did still rub me the wrong way (VERY spoilery spoilerage).(view spoiler)[The titular Chameleon is a young woman whose magic talent is a bit of a problem: She transforms throughout the month (on schedule with the female cycle, she explains >_>) from a stunningly beautiful but astonishingly stupid woman, to a woman average in looks and intellect, to a stunningly ugly but astonishingly brilliant woman. Then she swings back in the opposite order, back and forth. She wishes to find a spell to halt her transformations, so that she will never be either of her two extremes but just her average self. In the end she gives up this quest, because Bink has fallen in love with her--first her average form, and then all of her, every form. He appreciates all three of her forms and thinks she's perfect the way she is. This would be a really lovely thing.Except it is very clearly stated that Bink loves her not just because he appreciates all her forms, but because HE WOULD GET BORED WITH JUST ONE TYPE OF WOMAN. He wants a beautiful woman sometimes, but he doesn't want a beautiful, smart woman because he distrusts beautiful, smart women (WHAT?). And he wants a smart woman, but again, she can't be beautiful, so he likes her smart but ugly phase. And of course, her average phase is just average, and he's fine with it coming around sometimes. Just...what? Really? To top it off, soon after he realizes that Chameleon is the only woman who can really satisfy his need for variety and that he loves her, the two have sex....but it's while she's in her beautiful but stupid phase. That bothered me, because when she's in her stupid phase, she is really, really stupid, to the point that I question whether she can really consent while stupid. I mean, the girl gets really stupid. Does she really understand how she feels about him or how her other versions will feel about that later? At an earlier point in the book, her stupid phase is shown to be dangerously trusting and willing to give up sex indiscriminately, so I'm really genuinely not sure. I don't know, it was just a little unsettling. (hide spoiler)]Due to the combined power of the sexist parts, especially THAT scene, I just could not say that I liked this book. I really would have liked this book. It had so much fun stuff to offer, and I thought the story was delivered really well. But this was not to be. I'm just glad I didn't pay money for this book.Surprisingly though, I AM going to continue with the series. This is not my first Xanth book. I read one of them in high school, and I remember enjoying it. I do remember Anthony having a liking for dirty jokes and boobs, but I don't recall it being sexist to this level. Maybe I was just oblivious then. But really, the rest of the book was good enough, and my memory of the other book is good enough, that I do want to continue. If it stays this bad, I'll quit. But otherwise, I hope to be able to enjoy some more of the series.

  • mark monday
    2019-03-06 00:51

    read this in junior high while staying at my aunt's house. read it on an ugly couch covered in plastic. read it cover to cover, realized I loved it, then read it again. jacked off to it too. my aunt's house was next to a smelly sewage plant so it was sort of a struggle at that. but I soldiered on! read it a third time years later but the magic was gone. years after that, when I was living in a punk rock flophouse, the couch was donated to us. oh the memories on that couch.

  • Benedict Jones
    2019-03-25 06:55

    A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony, first in the Xanth series, was to be my quickie 49th book on my list. It proceeded to keep me delayed for days.This book is toxic.From a scene where it's explained how horrible it is for men to be convicted of rape and how women make up accusations, to two scenes where the main character is sexually attracted to fourteen year olds, and the fact that the main character could not think or look at a woman without thinking about their fuckability factor, the creepshow going on in this book was unending.The worst, however, is near the end, where he's with a woman who for reasons I won't explain currently had the intellect of a very stupid child where he thinks 'no, I won't tell her what sex is, her mind is too young' and then proceeds to have sex with her in the next paragraph. Seriously. This is what's going on.Looking up Piers Anthony, I found his preoccupation with teenage or younger and the intellectually challenged being molested was a big thing with him. From ages five and up, with the child being the 'instigator'.I do not recommend this book. It's the first one to get an F on my list.Why did I read it? When I was a preteen, I was majorly into the Xanth books after reading Dragon On a Pedestal in the school library. I stopped reading as a teenager when he wrote the ridiculously stupid The Color Of Her Panties, so I thought I'd revisit my childhood. Instead I spent most of it sick and disgusted.On a side note, if Piers Anthony could have turned off the badtouch for at least a few chapters, there was actually an interesting story going on in the book. Unfortunately he ruined it by writing with his dick, not his hands.

  • Scurra
    2019-03-24 01:45

    This is a stand-in for the entire Xanth sequence, since it is currently running at 30-odd books and counting. And I love all of them. Ultimately, this is a series that you either "get" or you don't. And if you don't, then nothing I (or anyone else!) can say here will make any difference.I don't like them for the writing quality. Even after all this time, Anthony still has trouble putting a sentence together, or making his dialogue sparkle or creating a convincing character (either male or female!) Not even for the puns, although they are rarely a disappointment (although lately he has taken to shoe-horning entire paragraphs of them together as though he wants to get them out of the way.) And when he uses one for a title, it's always a doozy: who else would dare to call a novel Stork Naked?!It's for the ideas and the structures. One Xanth novel often contains more ideas than some novelists manage in an entire career. He plays with multiple character viewpoints in subtle patterns. He slips in forward and backward references to other novels let alone the current plot. He creates huge plot-holes for himself and then delights in tidying up the loose ends and inconsistencies further down the line. The list goes on. There are few authors who can write more than 30 books in one series (and this is probably only half of Antony's total output) and still find ways to surprise the audience.

  • Julien V
    2019-02-26 05:41

    So, Piers Anthony is a pervert, a sexist pervert. That this particular book was written in 1977 is no excuse. That out of the way, what we have here is a classic light fantasy full of nice ideas and concepts. But the story lacks direction, a bit like a badly planned Dungeon and Dragons session: "an encounter! another encounter! a fight! you fall in a hole! Oh, look, a dragon! a sexy babe! another fight!" What also annoyed me was the constant rationalization. Characters talk all the time about their motives, fill the plot holes by ad hoc explanations, etc. Rule number 1, Piers: Show, Don't Tell. Final argument for why this book sucks: rape apology. Yeah, that's right. There is actually a rape trial in this book. (Spoiler alert: rapist gets scot-free, of course). Let's look at a couple extracts: "Bink felt sorry for his opposite. How could she avoid being seductive? She was a creature constructed for no visible purpose other than ra- than love". " 'Your opposite, the one you almost raped'. The bailiff smiled, making a signal with one hand (...) 'Not that I blame you' ". At that point, there's just nothing left to say. I finished the damn book... and I doubt I'll read anything else by Anthony in the near future.PS: Breasts breasts breasts getting married is what you should do breasts let's get married.

  • Jim
    2019-02-23 06:54

    I got book 2 of this series first, read it a couple of times before I finally got the first. I think the first 4 books are well worth reading - a must read for anyone into fantasy books. I think the series is up in the 20 odd count somewhere now. The first 3 or 4 are excellent. After that, I just couldn't get too into it any more. Might just be me. When this came out, it was unlike any series before it AND was funny on top of that. Humor in this sort of fiction is hard to pull off, but Anthony did it very well.

  • Stephen
    2019-03-09 02:43

    2.5 stars. First in the Xanth series of books. Took me a while to get around to reading this as it has been on my "to read" list for a while. A decently written, fun book with a good system of magic and interesting world-building. Definitely on the lighter side, but I enjoyed the puns and the tone of the book. Not as good as some of Anthony's other books (most notably On a Pale Horse), but still a good read.

  • Catt
    2019-03-18 03:02

    Wow.i began reading the Xanth series somewhere around the 15th or 16th book many years ago. It was filled with light-hearted drama, action and puns that made me laugh out loud.But this first book was such an original idea & filled with an amazing amount of tension, thoughts, morals, as well as the drama & etc. that will come to follow.Bink not only takes an amazing journey through Xanth, into Mundania & back, but also inside & outside himself."How many people similarly spent their lives searching for their own spells- some gratitous benefit such as a silver tree or political power or undeserved acclaim- when all they really needed was to be satified with what they already had?"Well, i'm satisfied with this first step back into the realm of Xanth. To begin at the beginning was very rewarding & i am eager to resume my Quest. =0)

  • Jesse
    2019-03-06 23:00

    The land of Xanth is a land of magic. Everyone has a magical talent, even some of the animals of the forest. Everyone, that is, except for Bink. And now that he's approaching adulthood, he has to find his magic...or face exile.I struggled with this one, but I read the first sixty pages before I finally gave up. The writing is entertaining, and the descriptions are vivid. At first, all the thinly-veiled innuendo was amusing, but it quickly went from amusing to annoying. When it began to seem like an Austin Powers movie, meaning that the protagonist becomes enamored with the next girl he sees, and ignored everything else...until he sees another girl who captures his attention...and repeat...and repeat. I finally just couldn't take it anymore. I don't mind some innuendo or "adult" situations in stories, but when the protagonist is basically a prisoner of his sex drive and his thoughts are usually rating all of the women in his immediate vicinity on a scale of how attractive they are, it just gets downright dull.I remember reading some of Piers Anthony's other books way back in middle school, and I enjoyed them quite a bit...but maybe that was because half of the innuendo flew right over my head back then. Either way, this was a challenge to read.The other thing I couldn't get into is the "everybody has one magic skill and that's it" thing - and many of the skills were unexceptional or useless at best. It seems so limiting, that I also found it annoying.But the last straw was the blatant sexism. Yeah yeah, I know, this book was written a few decades ago, but that is no excuse. The rape trial thing was so insanely offensive, I was sure I was reading it wrong...and I quite honestly don't like the message the author was trying to get across. In any of it.

  • Stanley Townsend
    2019-03-05 23:53

    This 1st Xanth book held my interest. I was reluctant to get into the series based on the many charges of sexism raised by reviewers. A female friend discounted these and I jumped in. Glad I did. Lots of themes in this one pertaining to characteristics and traits of the female gender - intrinsic to the plot - but this did not strike me as denigration. I'm sure some zealot could quote me line and verse in attempt to prove me wrong. I just don't see it. I thought the ending was a bit weak - like he was trying to wrap up loose ends in a hurry - but it won't stop me from continuing in the series.

  • R.S. Merritt
    2019-03-23 03:57

    One of the first series that really got me hooked on reading. i had to buy every one of these as soon as they came out (showing my age!) I recommend to anyone who enjoys reading Fantasy and is amused by PUNS.

  • Wanda
    2019-03-16 23:03

    Am I alone in finding Piers Anthony's work more than a little creepy? This is an adult man writing really adolescent stuff, obsessed with women's breasts (his characters notice them even in life-and-death situations) and really emotionally shallow. I really dislike his portrayal of female characters--to me they all just seem like assemblies of body parts that speak. Its all about how attractive they are or aren't. I find that odd, since I believe the author has daughters and no sons. You would think he would want to help create a better, less-sexist world for his children, if not for society in general. Its a shame, since he does create a semi-interesting world and comes up with some interesting plot twists. I'll continue reading a few more in the series because that's part of my project, but wow, I never want to meet this guy in person--I don't think he sees women as real people.

  • DNF with Jack Mack
    2019-03-06 00:09

    Surely one of the most despised books of all time. I could bash it for hours, so I'll try instead to say some nice things. I commend the author's bravery for sticking to his vision. At times it does portray the less than ideal state of male adolescence. It has lots of fantasy monsters. I abandoned this several times since middle school, and my instincts were correct: for most people it is best avoided. This listening was twenty years in the making, and only possible due to a cassette transferred to Youtube and listened to at high speed. What a mess.

  • Maggie Dore
    2019-03-01 02:56

    Oh no, no, no..... this could not be it! WHY?! Why was this so bad? Oh, god. This review is GONNA BE TOUGH. This book was SO bad, I forgot I even read the thing! I believe that in every book, there is at least ONE thing that I enjoy, no matter what the rating. So, I will start this review with the (few) things I enjoyed in this before bombarding the review with everything that has gone SO DARN WRONG. So, I liked the cover. Yeah, I know, it is not really part of the story, but hey, at least one thing in this book was ok, right? The cover was pretty cool, I guess. The title too. "A Spell for Chameleon". Ooh, such a "cool" title. Anyhow, I also enjoyed the one part in the beginning about the chameleon. Or wait- was is a lizard? I don't remember. I liked that little paragraph about the little reptile. That had absolutely (well almost) nothing to do with the story. I liked how the author chose the number of pages this book was written on. Yes. 344 pages. Not more, not less. At least it wasn't THAT long! I could not take it any longer!OK. Here is the best part of this review...... (drum roll).... all my hates!So, dear reader, if you enjoyed this book quite a bit, please do not read on, this is going to get nasty.1. I was outraged at the style of writing. Like, what the heck?! Was this author drinking or something? (no offense) I found the writing quite.... umm.... (how to say this kindly?!) interesting.....OK. NO. It was horrible. Probably the worst writing style I have ever encountered. Like GOSH!2. The story itself. Ok, sure, the idea about having a cool super power was not so bad, but I find that I have already read SO MANY BOOKS ABOUT THE SAME THING!!!! It felt like either it was a copy, or just a ton of other books copied it. I don't know. I just did not enjoy the fact that the main character, had a hard time finding his little itsy bitsy power, and GUESS WHAT THE POWER ENDS UP TO BE?! **SPOILER ALERT** He turns out to be a freakin' magician immune to all magical harm. Blah blah BLAH. Is it just me, or that is PLAIN BORING? Ok, I guess its just me.3. The main character. Eww. The main character of this book was T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E. He just *gags* has the kind of snobby-stuck-up-but-doesn't-want-to-show-it kind of personality. Its the kind of person, that I would not like to be friends with. Eww. 4. Xanth. Xanth. What kind of stupid name is that?! Like oh my, out of all the cool names you could name a place, Piers Anthony names it XANTH. Its the kind of name that some person (quite desperate person) tries to find a "cool" "elfique" kind of name. But BOOM, that name just makes me cringe. I think that is all I can say and express towards this piece of garbage. You, dear reader is probably already sick of me hatin' and hatin' this book. At least I was honest, eh?

  • Chris
    2019-02-26 06:45

    Piers Anthony is an author who is more conceptually innovative than literary. His writing is like puff pastry and not very substantive, but his characters are likable and the plots engaging. He has moments of preachiness mixed in, and sometimes a puerile sense of humor, but if you don't mind these things (or indeed, revel in them) you should give him a try. None of Anthony's books takes long to read, and you'll be able to tell by the first 100 pages of a series whether you're into his concept.Xanth is a great series about a world of magic where humans each have one magical ability--give or take--of varying potency, and almost everything in nature is a pun on a concept in Mundania (our world). The books lost steam as the series continued, but it was fun in the early going (the first eight books?) as the history and politics were fun to watch resolve, and you got attached to the characters.

  • V.
    2019-03-24 22:41

    Despite what people say about the author's sexism, his fondness for puns (a greater crime in some people's eyes) and the juvenile nature of some of the storytelling, this book has many good qualities, most of which reviewers haven't really talked about.The central premise here is this: which is preferable, a very beautiful, very dumb woman, or a super smart, wise but ugly woman? You can probably tell from this that a) the book is aimed at young men, and b) women might find the question, never mind the answer, to be offensive.And I don't deny that some of his conclusions, even though they are wrapped up inside a lighthearted fantasy story, are a bit chauvinistic, but that isn't the point.The fact that he would attempt to deal with these issues in this setting (and not in a sneaky, subtle way but right out in the open) is something to be lauded. I'm not saying he's right, although he certainly isn't the only guy to think women who are both very beautiful and intelligent generally aren't very nice people. What I'm saying is Fantasy as a genre is often reduced to wish fulfillment, and that is by far the more juvenile approach.The 'not all that attractive but plucky' farm girl who the prince falls madly in love with for no apparent reason is more sexist and offensive, in my mind, than anything in this book.And for young guys to consider the themes here, even if they end up agreeing with som eof the author's rather wayward thinking, is a much healthier thing (at least they have the opportunity to disagree with him) than a young woman reading a sad 'one day my prince will come' piece of pseudo-erotica.That said, this is an early book in the writer's career. It's a little episodic and characters aren't as well developed as they might have been. The way he brings things together and how he keeps the theme present though gives a glimpse of a writer operating well above the norm.

  • Marvin
    2019-03-14 01:53

    This was a re-read. I originally read it around 1980. I remembered it being a lot of fun and read about 6 more in the series. After that, they started to feel like they were factory manufactured. Someone told me there are now about 30 books in the series. On this second read of the first Xanth book, I still thought they were fun but the puns didn't seem as clever as when I was younger. I was also more annoyed with the author's obvious sexism. But hey! A Spell for Chameleon is still cute and worth the read.

  • Michael
    2019-03-24 23:45

    Within the book's original context of the late seventies, perhaps this seemed more clever than it does now. But, now we have Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, who are much funnier. And don't rely on the cheapest possible puns, and don't write stories geared toward horny middle-school boys. One of the strangest phenomenons in fantasy, and perhaps in all of reality, is that Piers Anthony still sells tons of books. If anyone can shed some light on why, I'd love to hear it.

  • Jillian
    2019-02-22 22:41

    I turned to the Xanth series because I wanted an enjoyable summer read that would remind me of my childhood instead of my thesis. Though I'd somehow never read him, I assumed Piers Anthony would be an excellent choice, what with all of the praise and awards lavished on him, but I must say I'm somewhat disappointed. He certainly creates an intriguing alternate world and is an undeniably clever writer, especially skilled at word games and puns. (I imagine he would be an ideal video game writer, though I don't know much about that career field.) But aside from chuckling at his creative Xanth flora and fauna (such as "ambushes": shrubbery that are invisible until you least suspect to see them) I didn't find much here to captivate even my fantasy-obsessed inner child. The main protagonist was rather muddled and irritating, the other characters were only slightly more interesting, Anthony's general writing style was unimpressive, and the pace felt incredibly slow, probably because I could usually see what was coming a mile away. I understand that Anthony was going for amusing rather than epic fantasy, but at times situations became so transparent, and their solutions so corny and convenient, that I could barely read on. Major props for the entertaining wordplay, as Anthony is clearly having a lot of fun, but as an entire book it simply doesn't work for me. I'll have to find a new means of procrastinating on my thesis because I'll never be able to continue the series.

  • Andrew Crawford
    2019-02-25 01:00

    I have to credit this book as being the book that really introduced me to reading as a fun pastime. I originally read this in my early preteen years and I loved the way it awakened my imagination. I was able to immerse myself in the land of Xanth. I found it to be a good easy read that had colorful characters and an extremely well put together world of magic that I have never seen duplicated. Now I've read all the reviews about Anthony being sexist, but I've found that I have to put this in perspective. I think Anthony knows his target audience is mostly adolescent young men in their early teens. Guess what teen boys think about non stop? BOOBS! There is only one part in any of the Xanth series that I find to be distasteful and that is the infamous rape trial in A Spell For Chameleon, as I think most people do. I would also be willing to bet If he had to write the story over again that would probably be omitted. So in my opinion before people go raking Piers Anthony over the coals for having attractive female characters that the male characters want to hook up with because of their physical attributes, I'd suggest turning your focus elsewhere and boycotting the smut novel genre, which by the way is predominately popular with women who don't find anything wrong with women being portrayed in a sexual way.

  • Hannah
    2019-03-23 01:07

    Awesome read, and so much fun!I loved the main characters; they were all so quirky in their own ways, intelligent and straightforward without being whiny and know-it-all. Bink made a great lead; for once, a fantasy hero who isn't invincible OR a whiny, angsty loser! He's tall, young and good-looking, but he's also flawed. He has issues with them, but then he faces them head-on and deals with them with minimal fuss. Same goes for Trent and Chameleon, and the three make an extremely likeable trio who is sensible and refeshingly laidback. Brilliant.The whole world of Xanth and the idea of it existing somewhere in the "real world" is not exactly revolutionary, but Piers Anthony manages to make it feel new and interesting. I found the concept of everyone having one particular magic a rather fascinating concept, in fact. Bink's one is pretty complex, and so is Chameleon's, although hers is easy to guess after a while. Anthony's light sense of humour that pervades the book made it a fun read and perfect for fans of light fantasy, although loyal readers of epic fantasy might find the world-building aspect of Xanth very much lacking. If you're sick of fantasy series which incorporates heavy loads of violence, angst and character angst, then try this. You'll definitely like it.

  • deilann
    2019-03-16 02:11

    Originally posted on SpecFic Junkie.Usually I love ripping apart the books I hate. But no, I've been avoiding writing this review. Why? This is the most sexist fantasy book I've ever read. That's saying something. Merely thinking about this book makes my skin crawl. Below the cut, you'll hear more, there will be spoilers, there will be a lot of gross talk about rape culture, and a shitton of sexism will be unveiled.So, there's a story behind why I read this book. One of my friends went with me to the library (as all good friends ought to do) and we were rifling through the SFF section and my friend comes back with this book. They tell me that it's funny, it has a ton of puns, and no really, it's a good book. And I was side-eyeing it like whoa, but figured I'd give it a shot.I start reading the book, and I immediately have legitimate questions. We have the whole standard "we don't need to know what the men look like, but if we don't know the cup size of the female characters, she's not described well enough" situation. We have the "25-year-old" protagonist acting like a horny 12-year-old boy at best. We have a "boys will be boys" scene where his father laughs it off that Bink tried to "sew wild oats" which would have bound a nymph to him as the "fertilizer figure" (because he watered them with his own urine) so he could use her as a sex toy.His mother is kind of upset about this, but see, it's not because the whole idea is disgusting. It's because she's jealous that his father did it at one point, but screwed up and the nymph "got away."Oh, but then his father tells Bink that it's not what he wanted anyway, because he doesn't want a mindless sex toy. That's not enough of a challenge. But then goes on to dehumanize women in telling Bink how he'd be bored with a beautiful woman with no mind.Blah, blah, blah, Bink is about to go see the wizard because his hot girlfriend really hopes he has magic so he won't get exiled but it's hard because epic quests have to be, and he meets a centaur. We hear a lot from Bink about how hot this centaur would be if she weren't a centaur. She then explains to him about how pretty much every human in Xanth descends from a series of awful rapes as one group took over the next.There's a point where she jumps over a crevasse and he grabs her boobs. He apologizes, sure, but then laughs about it later when a guy asks him "where he held on." Oh, and he questions later whether he did it on purpose or not.Oh, and the next scene.Bink gets to a town and a guy agrees to help him as long as he'll get some help in return. See, he needs to take care of some unpleasant business.A rape trial.Oh, no, wait, this is a mock-trial where we have 3 women and 3 men get together. No one (except the victim and the rapist) know who is actually the victim and the rapist, so it saves everyone from the messy fallout of having raped someone. After all, she would be ruined if someone found out she had been raped. And it's just so hard if all your neighbors know you're a rapist.At the end, everyone agrees that it's best to just not deal with this, to save everyone involved. Oh, and if they ever talk about it again, they'll be tried with contempt of court. Yay! Nothing like shutting up the survivor who was pressured into being silent with the treat of legal action if she ever speaks up again!But the trial itself isn't even the skeeviest part.Bink's opposite (the girl who is sitting across from him) is quite lovely. So lovely, that Bink describes her as thus:"Grim-faced, looking betrayed, the three girls shook their heads, no. Bink felt sorry for his opposite. How could she avoid being seductive? She was a creature constructed for no other visible purpose than ra—than love." That was the point at which I messaged my friend, saying "Uh, when was the last time you read this book?"They weren't sure, but were pretty sure they were a teenager. I then sent them that quote, and they basically had the same reaction I had. And then realized that oh, no, it wasn't the Xanth novels they were remembering. It was the Myth Adventures series by Robert Asprin. All of this pain for nothing. Nothing.During this pause, I went to go look at other reviews. And I was shocked that the above quote didn't make it into most reviews, even reviews talking about rape culture. And then I discovered that they released an edited version in 2012 to "simplify" it. And by simplify, they meant "get rid of the worst of it." Although, "the worst of it" still means a hella gross book.Later, the bailiff refers to the her as "the girl you almost raped... not that I'd blame you."I think someone has serious issues with women. I just don't understand how anyone can say Piers Anthony himself isn't sexist. Say all you want that he just isn't good at writing women (although that on its own is a sign...); the problem here is that he doesn't think women are people. He clearly has a fixation with rape and possession that's not healthy.And at this point, this review is making me physically ill. So I'll get to the end:The love interest's magical power? She has magical PMS. On her "lunar cycle" which is referred to as "the feminine cycle" in the same breath, she goes from being incredibly dumb but well, so pretty you can't help but rape her according to all this, to ordinary and average, to incredibly ugly and incredibly smart.So she's perfect for the protag because due to ... women burning him? ... he's come to the idea that he can't trust women who are both beautiful and smart. A lot of people have put it this way: in this book, women can be beautiful, smart, or good. Choose two.There's also some weird stuff about a guy who says he'd fuck his dog if she were a beautiful woman, the protag being hot and bothered by the body of a fourteen-year-old, and just a whole bunch of shit.Do not read this book.

  • Irishgirl1247
    2019-03-10 01:11

    I like many other reviewers read these books when I was rather young.My dad started me on them when I was about 11 and was breezing through children books so fast it was damaging his credit card with trips to borders and gas to the library. I loved them. As a child a read horse books, Nancy Drew and a few fairy tales, but this opened up a whole new world to me. What I find most interesting is how the sexism/sex went completely over my head. I actually kinda of worked out nicely, my brain simply ignored the sex and my child's humor found all the panty jokes funny. Would I like them now? probably not so much. (I'm slightly distraught over this, part of me really wants to re-read them but I know my adult mind will not overlook the sexism the second time around and I don't want to ruin my memory of them.) So why 5 stars? Because this series introduced me to the joys of fantasy. Without it I might never had ventured near the like of Garth Nix, Tamora Pierce, J.R.R. Tolken or even jumped on the Harry Potter bandwagon while it was just a little red wagon.

  • Seizure Romero
    2019-03-14 00:02

    I read this when I was 15-16 years old, which I now think is the target market for Anthony (at least with this series). I think it's easy for teenagers to identify with Bink: he's an outcast, he doesn't fit in. But then there comes a point where actual plot is required-- writing entire novels around puns just isn't enough to maintain my interest. I enjoyed The Source of Magic as well, but I was unable to finish Castle Roogna.

  • Jim Razinha
    2019-02-22 04:48

    I read, and remember liking, this back when it came out. While Anthony is an anachronism today, he was one even when this was published in 1977. His sexism is pervasive - integral to the story? no; seems he just like being perverse. Some is couched: on page 53 of the paperback, he has a farmer laughing about the main character accidentally groping a female centaur and then he says that farmers had "an earthy sense of humor". "Earthy"? "Lecherous" or "vulgar" is correct in the context he created. Constant references to females growing "shrewish", or losing their looks... And some is not couched. Only 3 pages after the "earthy" commentary, he describes a date rape surrogate trial (to protect innocent parties) with the outcome that would make a good ol' boy, or a billionaire golf course owner, smirk. And two pages after that, a bit character, talking to the main character about an attractive female participant in the acted out trial: "Better have Wynne show you." "Wynne?" "Your opposite. The one you almost raped." [Note, the main character was conscripted to play a role, and the outcome, as noted, was in the favor of the male players...] "Not that I blame you." Yes, he went there. And that is a theme/attitude common throughout the first third of this book. Do we dismiss Anthony's deplorable references for culturally relative reasons, or do we hold him accountable? I regret introducing Xanth to my third son, who read nearly all of the series (I stopped after four - and the fourth was pushing it too far.) As a teen, I seemed to have been largely oblivious to Anthony's sexism, but it bothered me as an adult when I read some of his other series.Now...there's actually a decent story in here, despite Anthony. [Yes, I know...because of Anthony]. I will probably reread the other two of this trilogy to see if Anthony's style - intriguing first novel of a trilogy, weak filler middle novel, sometimes okay conclusion - fits my memory. Now, I know that this particular series went beyond three...he's still writing these things... It's almost as if he's in competition with himself to see how many inane stretches of wordplay he can work into every page. And they often get in the way of a potentially good story.