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Bearing an Hourglass (Incarnations of Immortality #2)

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  18,759 Ratings  ·  389 Reviews
When life seems pointless to Norton, he accepts the position of Incarnation of Time. With the other incarnations - Death, Fate, War, and Nature - already distracting him, Satan springs a cunning trap.

Listening Length: 13 hours and 53 minutes
Audible Audio, 14 pages
Published July 29th 2007 by Recorded Books (first published August 1984)
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May 12, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second in Piers Anthony incantations of immortality series, this was as imaginative as On a Pale Horse, maybe even more thought went into the story, but it seemed bogged down by the time travel eccentricities.

I have since found that most time travel stories fall quickly into complicated storytelling but this one was especially convoluted. It could be that Anthony was ambitious in his design, but I think the story would have been improved by a more linear approach.

3.5 stars. A good sequel to the excellent On a Pale Horse. I love the premise of this series and I thought the first book was original, well written and a lot of fun. This book, while not up to the level of the first is still pretty good and I will certainly read more of the series at some point.
Sep 19, 2011 Sabrina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As a fan of the Fantasy and Sci-Fi genres, I felt an obligation to like Piers Anthony's novels. I have tried time and time again with this book, Wielding a Red Sword, Isle of Woman, and the Xanth series. In every book, I keep coming back to feeling like I'm reading a dirty old man's wildest fantasy.

Xanth is the most lighthearted and easiest to read of the Anthony books I've read. At least I'm not as offended at the shallowness of the characters as I am in Anthony's other books.

Isle of Woman re
Dec 31, 2008 Dj rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars really. Unsatisfying ending. Sections are standalone short stories with the main character, but unrelated to overall plot in every but the vaguest sense. These sections are bad sci-fi, extremely shallow and fun. The meat of the book is mediocre. Overall a forgettable book. The shining light are several 30 page stretches of shallow fun. This being the second book of his I've read, I now am saddened by the thought that adolescents (and please not adults) would become introspective by Pie ...more
Matt Guion
Aug 23, 2013 Matt Guion rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Book two in the Incarnations of Immortality series is about the Incarnation of Time. Now, if you know me, you know that I love stories about time and time travel. My favorite book is The Time Traveler’s Wife, my favorite movie is Back to the Future. This storytelling idea holds a great deal of fascination for me. Bearing an Hourglass features the Incarnation of Time, someone who can travel to any point in time, can bend time to his will, and who freaking lives backwards. This should be a book of ...more
Sarah Jane
Feb 16, 2011 Sarah Jane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mythology
Despite my indifference (and at times annoyance) with On a Pale Horse, I went ahead and plowed through Bearing an Hourglass. I won't rant at length about this one, but suffice it to say that I'm equally unimpressed. I'll reiterate, for the sake of those I know who swear by this series, that I probably would have enjoyed it when I was younger (read: less discerning). Piers Anthony's writing is just...well...not great. I think this series suffers from a flaw I've found in many fantasy books: when ...more
Apr 15, 2012 Sarabeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in Middle School and thought it was amazing. I just had the chance to re-read this and found myself asking, "What was I thinking?!"

Norton's story was interesting at first, but then somehow the story goes to hell! He ends up in a space western, then randomly in a fantasy thread, all of which take pages and pages that just seem like filler. There is no relation between these "adventures" and the main plot line of the story. When the plot DOES decide to make an appearance, it proce
Jan 03, 2011 Chak rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of fantasy looking for a vacation book
Recommended to Chak by: YMCA share-a-book shelf
Bearing an Hourglass was a disappointment. On a Pale Horse was a hard act to follow. Hourglass was off to a quick and compelling start, but once Norton became so downtrodden that he was easy to manipulate into accepting the Office of The Incarnation of TIme, the book started to unravel for me. He was a well-developed protagonist who was easy to root for, and the idea of Time living his life backward was a good one (in fact, it was this idea that got me to pick up the first three books of this se ...more
An Odd1
Feb 22, 2014 An Odd1 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"They sure don't make Heroes like they used to" p 174. With the help of Death 'Thanatos' and girlfriend Luna (why no marriage?), three aspects of Fate Clothos, Atropos, and whoever, Satan's trickery is out-manoeuvred. Fun bits, Bat, Bem, Femme, in overall yawn. Inch-by-inch quasi-science blather makes time travel boring.

Worst is 'climax'. Fate says human safety hinges on one moment. But, for same reason, universes cannot split into parallel alternates, number of small decisions in chain is unco
Charlotte English
Dec 21, 2011 Charlotte English rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The underlying premise of this series is that concepts such as Death, Time, Nature, Fate and War each have an immortal incarnation: a mortal man or woman who takes on the role for a given period of time, and whose job is to take care of all worldly matters pertaining to that concept.

The first story introduced Death to us. Bearing an Hourglass is the second book, and as might be guessed from the title it’s about Time. Norton is an ordinary man who agrees to take on the role of Time after a series
Juan Valera
Jul 30, 2015 Juan Valera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time is a complicated concept. Humans have known this ever since we first began to entertain the idea of time travel and of paradox. So it should come as no surprise that "Bearing an Hourglass" is a seriously complex novel, with storylines crisscrossing each other at every opportunity. I mean this in a good way; "Hourglass" is a great book if you're looking for a plot that begins as an indecipherable mass of intrigue and slowly (Very. Slowly.) introduces the reader to it, even as the plot itself ...more
Apr 09, 2012 Mike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: A Sadist.
Poor George Guidall is such a great voice actor that he's often hired to read horrible novels. But even a rose growing out of shit is still a shitty rose.

I own maybe 4 books in this series and have owned them for about ten years. I keep trying to get into Book 1 but I just cannot. So this attempt was via Audio and with one of my favorite narrators George Guidall.

More than halfway complete but I cannot continue. I really like the characters, i just hate this story! This novel is contaminated wit
Mar 16, 2012 Melissainau rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NOBODY!
Shelves: sff, books-i-loathed
OK, I'm giving up. I'm about 1/3 of the way through, maybe a little more, and this book is so unutterably horrible that it sucks the joy out of reading. All I feel is guilt that I am not finishing it and a sense of dread at having to return to it. I might try the next book in the series but I am genuinely surprised that I remembered this series with any fondness at all, and mortified that I ordered 5 of the books (only had 2 of my own) to complete the set, with a view to recommending them to the ...more
Sep 22, 2007 Barry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: probably
This book's unusual concept of the main character living his life backward in time is interesting and makes the book worth reading as a learning experience if nothing else. Being the second book in the series, it could stand alone though I wouldn't recommend reading it without reading On a Pale Horse first. Sometimes the character's interactions with others are hard to follow, but it is an enjoyable book.
Aug 07, 2007 Jeremy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: most
Shelves: fiction-fantasy
Slightly more adult writing from Mr. Anthony. In this series he reveals the incarnations (Time, Death, War) to be real offices people can enter or vacate. This series allows him much more room for social and moral commentary while still being fun and escapist reading.
Sep 04, 2010 Jaimey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Book two in the Incarnations of Immortality series is about the Incarnation of Time, someone who can travel to any point in time, can bend time to his will, and who lives backwards while "in office". This should have been an interesting book, full of endless fascination, but it wasn't. In fact, this book bored the crap out of me.

Even as a kid, when I first read these books, this one was my least favorite. Each time I read this story, I read because it is part of the series and I feel like I had
Going into this, I was very worried that a story involving a lord of time might get convoluted as time travel does. Fortunately Anthony kept that aspect to a perfect level for me, only straying to a dizzying nature a few times. During these times, even the main character was appropriately confused which kept me involved. The duties and gadgets of Chronos were less interesting to me than Thanatos', but Norton was an interesting character and the ideas behind his powers and their effects were intr ...more
M Strawberry
Out of all the Incarnations, the office of Time seems to be the most baffling one, since Chronos has to live backwards in time. But having power over spacetime (and being able to travel anywhere within) seems to be a more than adequate compensation for having to live backward and seeing everyone move forward. It seems that Mr. Anthony had a LOT of fun writing this book, playing around with the ideas of paradox, time travel, alternate realities, terrene and contraterrene worlds, space travel, and ...more
Time Warp for your brain: This is the second book in an increasingly complex twist of plots. In itself it can stand alone as a good read, but is better read in sequence. Piers does a good job of trying to explain the complexities of living backwards to the normal space-time continuum, although you need to re-read these explanations to fully understand it. The characters in this and other stories are very believable as you recognize yourself in them to a certian degree. It is worth reading the au ...more
Aug 17, 2010 Larry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was very excited to read this book because the first in the series (On a Pale Horse) was so difficult to put down. Unfortunately, I almost gave up reading at chapter 7 because it wasn't until then that the story really started. I think Piers Anthony spent waaaaaay too much time trying to give the reader every possible shred of information about the main character's life and eventual plunge into incarnation.

I don't like the main character. He is not the kind of guy I relate to. This makes it d
Feb 03, 2008 Monica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second book in the Incantations of Immorality series. This book describes Norton and his life before and after he assumes the office of Time, and becomes Chronos and battles Satan. This book was more sci-fi and dealth with math and science and physics. The first one, On a Pale Horse, dealth with the office of Death and was more philosophical. Defintely more than a few spelling and grammar errors. I've been noticing that in my books lately. Odd.
Dale Pearl
Apr 24, 2012 Dale Pearl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: terrible
Piers Anthony is one of my favorite authors but this is one of the worst books that I have ever read. Predictable, bad plot, poorly developed main character, rushed story line, uninteresting climax of events; a complete failure and waste of reading time. I will read incarnations of immortality 3 but if it is half as bad as this I will discontinue the series. Sorry Pier's this one book of yours that would better serve the readers of the world as toilet paper, you missed the mark on this one.
Jennifer Troike
Sep 21, 2007 Jennifer Troike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys fantasy
The 2nd book in the Incarnations series, while I love books that deal with Time, this isn't as good as the Death book, but I still love it.

And though it's nice to have read book 1, it's not required. These are independant stories until you get up closer to book 4 or 5, and even then you won't be that confused.
Penny Tan
Of all the Incarnations, I think this must be the most difficult to adjust to. Imagine living backward while everyone else lives forward. Knowing the future and yet not knowing what happened yesterday for everyone else.
Kylara Jensen
Oh the days, where I had so much time to read that it didn't even matter if I enjoyed what I read.
Jul 08, 2012 Melanie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
freak'n sucked and had someone fill me in on what actually happened.
I've read this book a few times over the years, and I'll state the same thing at the beginning of reviewing all the I of I books: this is a re-read, and the first time reviewing the books. I'm reviewing all of the books after I finished re-reading the entire series, which I don't normally do & didn't do deliberately this time, either...

I do believe this is one of Anthony's better series, but there's a lot of promise to the series, and for some of the books, a lot of promise and not a lot of
Nov 26, 2016 Scycer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr Anthony Piers may I bow down and congratulate you on your amazing writing. Half the time I wonder was he on LSD or some other drugs and half the time I feel like I am on a chair with a psychiatrist showing me weird pictures asking me how I feel.

I am blown away and find it amazing that Piers can make the illogical tie up with the logical.

I read the first Immortals series a long time back on a PDF document while in college and since I have set myself on an adventure to find these classics fro
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • On a Pale Horse (Incarnations of Immortality, #4)
  • Vengeance of the Dancing Gods (Dancing Gods, #3)
  • The One Tree (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, #2)
  • Myth Directions (Myth Adventures, #3)
  • The Bastard Prince (Heirs of Saint Camber, #3)
  • Wizard at Large (Magic Kingdom of Landover, #3)
  • Spellsinger (Spellsinger, #1)
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
More about Piers Anthony...

Other Books in the Series

Incarnations of Immortality (8 books)
  • On a Pale Horse (Incarnations of Immortality, #1)
  • With a Tangled Skein (Incarnations of Immortality, #3)
  • Wielding a Red Sword (Incarnations of Immortality, #4)
  • Being a Green Mother (Incarnations of Immortality, #5)
  • For Love of Evil (Incarnations of Immortality, #6)
  • And Eternity (Incarnations of Immortality, #7)
  • Under a Velvet Cloak (Incarnations of Immortality, #8)

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“Every person professes to love good and hate evil, but in his actions his real preferences emerges.” 28 likes
“Evil can never touch the person who refuses to accept it.” 12 likes
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