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Well-Tempered Clavicle (Xanth #35)

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  678 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
For an animated skeleton, kept alive by the Magic of Xanth, Picka Bones has lived a fairly uneventful life. The high points of his day consist of patrolling graveyards with his sister, Joy’nt, and picking out tunes on his ribs with his own collar bones.

All that changes, however, when three curious creatures, a dog called Woofer, a bird called Tweeter, and a cat known as Mi
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 22nd 2011 by Tor Books (first published October 11th 2011)
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May 15, 2012 Jim rated it did not like it
Decades ago, I read a lot of Piers Anthony. Most of his books were fast-paced and didn't take themselves too seriously, which I appreciated. I haven't read his stuff in years, but when I received a review copy of his latest book Well-Tempered Clavicle, the thirty-fifth Xanth book, I decided to check it out. I figured it would be a fun trip to a fantasy world I hadn't visited in a while.

I couldn't finish the book. Heavy-handed puns, constant descriptions of panties, breast gropes, and a "comical"
Jan 12, 2012 Aviva rated it it was ok
I guess I've outgrown Piers Anthony. This book was not the pleasurable fun romp that I remember from his earlier books.
Apr 18, 2012 Kate rated it liked it
Felt like the premise was wearing thin. Lots of random encounters that stretched out the story.
Laura Martinelli
DNF AT PAGE 104. I am shocked and disappointed in myself for not getting a lighter and setting my copy on fire after the first encounter with Attila the Pun.

I was actually very excited to get into this. The back copy sounded interesting, it looked fun and light. Talking skeletons! Quests! And then I get to the first chapter and bad visual puns and this is gonna be fun. And then the book turned into a fantasy harem anime. I gave this a fair shot. But given that every single female character flash
A Xanth novel...felt like he wasn't really trying, and then I read the author's note and realized he admitted that it was off. The puns weren't the problem; more the recaps to everyone they met being included, almost in full, every time and then the continuing distinctions between skeletons and humans, especially near the end mentioning the eating and ablutions during the camping. Also, it was a bit choppy with characters being introduced and then dealt with in less than half a chapter or even j ...more
David Marshall
Apr 05, 2012 David Marshall rated it did not like it
It was a terrible mistake on my part to give into curiosity to see whether Piers Anthony could still write anything worth reading. This is dire. Unless, of course, you're a fan. In which case, this is another brilliant addition to the Xanth series.
Feb 28, 2012 Renae rated it really liked it
The Xanth series is such a fun little bit of nonsense that still manages to sneak in a moral lesson. They're all quick, amusing reads. A fast vacation in Xanth is good for the soul.
Mar 23, 2012 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: xanth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christi Thomas
May 07, 2012 Christi Thomas rated it liked it
To be quite frank, I stopped in the middle. I guess I outgrew them. I was so excited to see a new book in the Xanth series. Done with the pun.
Lin Clark
Mar 04, 2017 Lin Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Many many puns but the story was good as always.
David Caldwell
This is the 35th Xanth book. It follows the basic formula for the other Xanth books. A group of characters come together by chance to go on a quest. They start by visiting the good magician Humfrey. They travel all over Xanth encountering puns and adventures. One (usually more) member of the party will find romance along the way. Some people might think that since all of the books follow this formula, that the books aren't that enjoyable. But when you think about it, a lot of TV shows that we wa ...more
Mar 11, 2012 Monica rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one; It's boring
First off, let me say that this is the first Anthony book I've ever read-- perhaps starting with the latest(?) book in the series has something to do with the result of my reading it.

Secondly, I didn't finish the book. I'm not afraid to stop reading a book if I'm not enjoying it, and this was such a case. I did get about 2/3 the way through, however, and only read that long because I persisted in my thinking that things *had* to get better. They didn't.

**Spoilers Ahead!**

Well, as one may tell b
May 09, 2013 Kirsti rated it it was amazing
I've had this book on my to-read list for a long time, while I hunted down a copy. Piers Anthony's books aren't exactly common in Australia, and I live in a small town with one bookstore that sells new books, one second hand bookstore, and four general purpose Op Shops, none of which focus very well on their book areas. The secondhand store is overpriced, badly organized and out of the way. The new bookstore has a few nice staff that go out of their way, but also puts books ordered in specifical ...more
Dec 02, 2011 Julie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Xanth lovers
I liked Well-Tempered Clavicle better than the last Xanth novel, Knot Gneiss. The characters where a little obscure. I miss the original core characters, Bink (although he does make a brief appearance), and Magician Trent. The tension in the earlier novels is missing here. The danger of failure wasn't as great. Where in previous adventures all of Xanth was in peril here the worst that could happen was a Princess had to marry a handsome man whom she did not love although he had a good job, integr ...more
Feb 21, 2014 Jenn rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Barbi Faye (The Book Fae)
Jan 26, 2013 Barbi Faye (The Book Fae) rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fantasy readers
Recommended to Barbi Faye (The Book Fae) by: genre, author
The master of puntastic fantasy pens another home run. Piers Anthony's 35th Xanth novel touches all the bases, and brings it home. His punny books will ALWAYS make me laugh! So, in this adventure in a land that looks an awful lot like mundane Florida, Picka Bones and his sister Joy’nt are off to seek an epic quest with three creatures newly arrived from Mundania, Earth to the lay person...! They turn out to be not what you might have expected!
Please more Xanth novels, Piers! Always five and a h
Lesli Nelson
Jan 11, 2012 Lesli Nelson rated it really liked it
I think it was a great read. I liked all the characters in the book. I liked how all the characters were friends in the past and reaquitted themselves again in Dawn's quest that the king made her go on to find herself and the pundora box to save the kingdom from the puns. She ran into people she knew that wanted to do her in. I liked where her and Picka fell in love with each other at the end of the book and were happy. I liked where the pets were with them and helped them along the journey and ...more
Apr 29, 2014 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, a superb addition to the Chronicles of Xanth, with its attendant wordplay. I particularly liked "Attila the Pun", "Pundora's Box", and the Demon Pundit (of course there would be a demon of puns!).

The climactic musical duel between Picka Bone and Piper the Monster was well done, and Picka demonstrated his worthiness to wed Princess Dawn by showing mercy to his arch-rival.
Apr 14, 2012 Stewart rated it really liked it
Another very satisfying Xanth novel. It's Dawn's turn to get hitched, and the story was a delightful, quick read. I especially enjoyed the brief appearance of some old (the oldest?) friends. While the story did little to set it apart from other books in the series, the author's note at the end, where he writes of his daughter's death was quite touching and sad. You're in my thoughts, Mr. Anthony.
May 20, 2013 Ricki rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of Piers Anthony for many years now and this book was a great read. I liked all the characters in the book. I liked how all the characters were friends in the past and reaquainted themselves again in Dawn's quest to find the pundora box and save the kingdom from the puns. She falls in love with her old childhood friend, Picka Bone, by the end of the book,and hopefuly live happily every after...or maybe not!
Tara Bates
Sep 18, 2015 Tara Bates rated it really liked it
Typical Xanth novel, filled with magic, puns and whimsy. I do occasionally tire of the obvious form of these books, but the world of Xanth is one I cannot resist. I will read them as long as Piers Anthony continues to write them. This marked the 8th in my 2015 ultimate reading challenge "a book with a love triangle" despite one of the three being a poisonous organ creature ;)
Mia Darien
Feb 23, 2012 Mia Darien rated it really liked it
What can I say? It was another fun Xanth romp, though I couldn't help but be quite sad reading it, knowing that Anthony's daughter died while he was writing it. (There is a dedication at the front of the book and he touches briefly on it in his Author's Note.) Still, it was another light breezy read and just what I needed.
Vicki G
Mar 16, 2012 Vicki G rated it it was amazing
I've felt a lot better about rating his stories since I decided to follow the advice of a friend but, in this case, I would have given it five stars anyway b/c of how imaginative the story was. It really was.
Ben Stoker
Mar 06, 2014 Ben Stoker rated it it was ok
A little too obsessive with the sexuality, even for a Xanth novel. Struggled with the story the entire time, just had a hard time getting into it. The whole premise seems to be a little forced, but it does set up the next book, Luck of the Draw, and I enjoyed that one much better.
Apr 16, 2015 Marisa rated it liked it
Not the best in the Xanth series, but still cute and entertaining- then I read that his daughter died while writing this book, and my respect for the man has grown even more. Worth the read to escape into Xanth for a little while!
Jeremiah Johnson
Jan 18, 2015 Jeremiah Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book more than most others in the series. The music battles were different and fun. It wasn't completely overrun by useless puns, there were just a smattering thrown in much like the early books.
Fredrick Danysh
Aug 04, 2014 Fredrick Danysh rated it it was ok
In search of adventure and personal talents, two skeletons, a dog, a cat, and a parakeet travel through Hades and across Xanth accompanied by a princess in search of her idea mate. Highly loaded with pun inspired characters which does make the story difficult to flow at times.
Dec 30, 2011 Lee rated it it was amazing
This is my first Xanth book and I loved it! I fully intend to read the rest! I found Mr Anthony by his Anthology years ago at a book sale. Found this one on new arrivals at library. Highly recommend him!
Oct 27, 2012 Srfletcher rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was a fun little typical Xanth romp. It didn't do a lot so far as advancing the series, and it was far from the best I've read from Anthony, but it was a fun light read and considering the circumstances while he was writing it, I think it came out well.
Another standard Xanth novel, if you enjoyed the last 10 or so of this series then you will enjoy this one too. Was a bit disappointed in the editing, quite a few instances of wrong name for characters and other editing errors in the Kindle edition of this.
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Though he spent the first four years of his life in England, Piers never returned to live in his country of birth after moving to Spain and immigrated to America at age six. After graduating with a B.A. from Goddard College, he married one of his fellow students and and spent fifteen years in an assortment of professions before he began writing fiction full-time.

Piers is a self-proclaimed environm
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Other Books in the Series

Xanth (1 - 10 of 41 books)
  • A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth #1)
  • The Source of Magic (Xanth, #2)
  • Castle Roogna (Xanth, #3)
  • Centaur Aisle (Xanth, #4)
  • Ogre, Ogre (Xanth #5)
  • Night Mare (Xanth, #6)
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  • Crewel Lye (Xanth #8)
  • Golem in the Gears (Xanth, #9)
  • Vale of the Vole (Xanth #10)

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