A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth, #1)
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A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth #1)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  23,683 ratings  ·  889 reviews
Xanth was the enchanted land where magic ruled--where every citizen had a special spell only he could cast. That is, except for Bink of North Village. He was sure he possessed no magic, and knew that if he didn't find some soon, he would be exiled. According to the Good Magician Humfrey, the charts said that Bink was as powerful as the King or even the Evil Magician Trent....more
Mass Market Paperback, 344 pages
Published February 12th 1977 by Del Rey (first published 1976)
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Renee
The other day, I saw A Spell for Chameleon on a shelving cart and realized two things. First, that I'd read it before and despite enjoying it, had forgotten it completely. Second, that the author was Piers Anthony, who's been described as an outrageous sexist even amongst sci-fi/fantasy writers. So I picked it up again, for nostalgia's sake but also to see if Anthony was really 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...more
Scurra
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...more
Kevin
Jun 23, 2008 Kevin rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody.
Shelves: fantasy, ya-fiction
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...more
Azz Lunatic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephen
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.
Jim
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 d...more
Jill
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...more
Julien V
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 th...more
Catt
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 thei...more
mark monday
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.
Chris
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.

Xa...more
Stanley Townsend
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 h...more
V.
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 mi...more
Irishgirl1247
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...more
Marvin
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 wort...more
Hannah
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...more
Jillian
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, th...more
Kat
Apr 18, 2008 Kat rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy
I have read more of these books than I'm currently willing to admit. The first few were interesting; all the puns were amusing to my middle-school brain. By the time I reached high school, though, I got really bored with the formulaic plots and puns that were really getting stretched thin. Plus there's the RAMPANT sexism in the series. This book was interesting, and not as sexist as the others. The main character's predicament was quite unique and he was a sympathetic character. I'd definitely r...more
Lyn
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 talent.

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...more
Steph
3.5★

Bink is in danger of being exiled from his homeland, Xanth, b/c he has no magic talent. Xanth is a land where magic is the norm, and the King requires that every citizen have a magic talent. Naturally Bink wants to discover his talent so he can stay in his homeland and marry his girlfriend, so he heads off to the Good Magician for help.

Definitely a nice change from the horror & PNR I've been reading recently, but I don't think I'll read all 30 books of this series. I get committed to the...more
Seizure Romero
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.
Jeremy
I love the Xanth series, until the later ones. This one starts them all, and it is by far the best.
Jesse
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...more
Aniruddha-isb
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dan Debono
This was/is one of my favorite fantasy books of all time. I sued to live in Michigan and moved to Florida in 1993. Much to my surprise, I moved a few miles from Piers (near Inverness, Florida)!

I started a brief stint as a feature writer and columnist at the newspaper his daughter later worked at. So, I figured I had an "in" (and I later turned out to be right!), so I wrote him. We started a many-year, very occasional letter-writing relationship. At the time, I was mainly writing comics and short...more
Andrew Crawford
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 pers...more
Cyberpope
My review of the 100+ books in the Xanth series(Yes, I've read them all)

This is, by far, the best of all of them.

Xanth is a magical land(seems to be in Florida somewhere) where every citizen, by law, must have some sort of msgic talent.

In this first one we're introduced to the main character, Bink, appears to have no magic talent, so is about to be exiled.

There's more to his seeming lack of talent than first appears.

Along the way we meet a few more characters who will be central to the whole se...more
Swankivy
The magical Land of Xanth is a clever idea, and the early part of this series--though already pun-filled--is not as insufferably chock full of silly internal references and whole scenes that exist to reveal a punch line as the later books are. This is the story of Bink, who of all the people of Xanth appears to have no magical talent. Everyone's got one! But not Bink! So he's got to go see the good magician Humfrey (this is the plot of perhaps half the books--go see the wizard, outsmart the trap...more
Jeffrey Somogyi
Ugh.

It starts out being written like a simple children's book. There are even a lot of exclamation points in it! ("And the trees could MOVE!", etc) So you get this childish feeling from it and settle down to have a fun, innocent time... and then Anthony starts talking about rape! (EXCLAMATION POINT!)

Also: For the most part, it's one of those "questing fantasy" books that I tend to detest. I don't really like seeing how a character deals with different things they find "along the way" (I'm also...more
Tom
Sep 01, 2012 Tom rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy

This is the first in a series of fantasy novels by Piers Anthony set in the mythical world of Xanth where everyone has a magical power, except Bink.

When I read this as a teenage boy I loved the fantasy world Anthony created and the nature of Bink and his rival, Magician Trent.

The story begins with Bink ostracized by his village because he has no magical power and follows him on his quest to discover said power. He traverses the dangerous landscape of Xanth encountering a number of powerful foes

...more
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Xanth series 27 120 Aug 06, 2014 06:20PM  
  • Another Fine Myth (Myth Adventures, #1)
  • The Complete Book of Swords (Books of Swords, #1-3)
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  • The Elric Saga Part I (Elric Saga, #1-3)
  • Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold (Magic Kingdom of Landover, #1)
  • The Hour of the Gate (Spellsinger, #2)
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8516
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
More about Piers Anthony...
On a Pale Horse (Incarnations of Immortality, #1) Castle Roogna (Xanth, #3) Bearing An Hourglass (Incarnations of Immortality, #2) The Source of Magic (Xanth, #2) With a Tangled Skein (Incarnations of Immortality, #3)

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“One day you'll discover that the opinions of worthless people are worthless.” 16 likes
“Bink knew the dolphin only from old pictures; it was a kind of magic fish that breathed air instead of water.” 6 likes
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