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The Source Of Magic (Xanth #2)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  18,350 ratings  ·  271 reviews
Ordered by King Trent to determine the source of Xanth's magic, Bink and his companions were harried by an unseen enemy determined to thwart them. When even their protector turned against them, Blink still managed to reach his goal and carry out the King's orders...but the king did not expect Blink's next act--to destroy utterly the magic of Xanth!
Mass Market Paperback, 326 pages
Published January 12th 1979 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1979)
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Zack Oliver well...misogyny is a hatred of women. And I can't say that Piers hates women from the handful of his books I've read. If he hates women at all in any…morewell...misogyny is a hatred of women. And I can't say that Piers hates women from the handful of his books I've read. If he hates women at all in any capacity, its just certain types (weak, tempting, airheady, girly girl type women..and from what I can tell that's no different from women who hate certain types of men), and the types he loves are actually quite in line with today's definition of a strong independent woman (intelligent, 'fierce,' independent, strong, capable, having agency, full of feeling and womanness, etc.). He even incorporates gender fluidity into this one during various sections. I think he gets criticism when readers assume that we are supposed to think Bink is an idealized man, and the author's avatar. I think that to some degrees that's true, but also I believe that Piers allows things to spin a bit sexist for a comic pulpy attitude that's meant to be entertaining and ironically crass. I think this is well in line with some of his other tropes, like the puns and quirky imagination. I think quirky is the word--Piers is a smart, albeit quirky, guy who likes to mess around with readers and their tastes in characters. He makes you walk the line of taste, always asking yourself, 'is this okay or not?' kinda like most successful comedians. If you take it too seriously, you're missing the joke. But to avoid criticism, I will add that if you or anyone else don't like Piers and think he is misogynistic, then that's a perfectly suitable interpretation which fits a great deal of the evidence here. He definitely does an awful lot male characters characterizing female characters in outdated modes. I prefer to contextualize this in a favorable light, but then again I enjoy what I've read so far from him (Xanth 1-2, Apprentice Adept 1-3). (less)
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Community Reviews

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This story takes up where A Spell for Chameleon left off.

Like the Incarnations of Immortality series, it seemed that Anthony had a great idea to begin with and then the originality, and quality, dropped off exponentially. This book was saved by Anthony's unique gift and talent as a writer, but I never read any more of the series.

For pure fantasy fans.

The sexist attitudes prevented me from at all enjoying the whimsy.
Sarah Lu
I tried, I really tried. The way that my sister was talking about this book, it sounded like so much fun, and there was so much potential. But... I just can't like this book.

First off, I think that it could have been so much shorter. It takes so much time, trying to sound more important than it really is, that it just sucks pages into bizarre explanations.

Secondly, I can only take so much of reading about nymph's pert little butts, their supple arms, and how female they are. And pretty much th
Hmmm... it's a strange thing to read your childhood favourites as an adult - except with Harry Potter, which for me is timeless. I will never stop enjoying them.

I quite enjoyed 'The Source of Magic', though reading it now, a few things strike me. Firstly an obvious one - the prose are not nearly as good as I remember. But that is to be expected - nobody writes like Ian McEwan when they're writing young adult fiction.

Also, this book in particular (I have yet to see whether the others will follo
If you loved the first book you may like this one.
I couldn't ignore the commentary on women because it never stops, ever. I don't know if Piers Anthony was bitter but that makes it not worth reading for me.
Also, the continuous lusting descriptions of the centaurs ass. No one needs to read from the inner mind of a man who seems to think a horse's hind end is the most beautiful thing he sees.
Profundus Librum
Régen volt, mikor utoljára humoros fantasyt olvastam – leszámítva az első részt – és felhőtlenül élveztem is. Régen a Skandar Graun-os könyveket imádtam (gondolom azok még ma is tetszenének), de aztán beleuntam kicsit – a nyíltan főleg humoros írásokat, Herry Kóklert és társait meg hagyjuk is inkább! – és nyilván azokban az időkben a Pratchett-könyvek is nagyon tetszettek, de azokba még hamarabb fáradtam bele.
Piers Anthony Xanth-sorozata nem ilyen fárasztó. Teli vannak bődületes ökörségekk
The first three novels of Xanth are classic fantasy novels. In A Spell for Chameleon, we are introduced to a world where everyone has a magic Talent. Some can point unerringly at trouble, others can change their appearance. In order to become a citizen of Xanth, a person must display the talent or they are exiled to Mundania (where we live). In Spell, Bink is revealed to have a talent, but the talent itself is reluctant to be revealed – as Bink’s talent, tries to thwart evidence of its existence ...more
Oct 15, 2011 Shane rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
My 12 year-old really liked -A Spell for Chameleon- so now we're on to the next book (can't say I'm all that excited).

So my reaction to this book is the same as my reaction to the re-read of A Spell for Chameleon. Too much sexual innuendo for kids. Too much "theory" for kids. Not serious enough for adults. Not funny enough for adults. Every woman is defined by her looks and made to be either a sexual object or basically "not a woman".

So again I ask who are these books written for? If I at age 41
Plot: C
Writing: F
Vocabulary: D
Level: Easy
Rating: R (sexism, adultery, demons, scatological humor, lascivious descriptions of women as objects only)
Worldview: Do what you want to do.

The first of the Xanth novels was somewhat witty, did a decent job of world-building, and established the protagonist as a upright if slightly immature young man. This second novel is a ridiculous bodice-ripper lacking a cohesive plot. All the characters are one-dimensional, and many are written contrary to their orig
David Sarkies
Jul 25, 2014 David Sarkies rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody really
Recommended to David by: A friend at the library
Shelves: fantasy
The second Xanth book is obviously a sequal
24 September 2011

This book doesn't actually seem to be much at all. It is a sequel to Spell for Cameleon and the second in the Xanth series. It appears that the Xanth series probably should be read in order because, unlike Discworld, it appears that it moves around the same characters (though considering that this is only the second book in the series that is probably a pretty tough call). In this book Bink has discovered his magical power, which is de
Eh. Nope.

This one is another series of mini adventures in the course of a larger quest undertaken by Bink, Chester, Crombie, Humphrey, and Grundy to find out the source of magic in Xanth. I was really hoping it would be less sexist than the first one, but it's not. I mean, there was no infuriating rape trial here, but otherwise it was just as bad.

Every woman in Xanth is described and, to at least some extent, valued in terms of her attractiveness. You get a description of almost every female cha
Piers Anthony really knows his audience, doesn't he? I consider myself a fantasy fan, but it has not escaped my notice that most fantasy fans are men and boys. This book speaks directly to them most of the time, and even though I kind of liked some of the silly ideas that Anthony planted in Xanth, I got tired of the constant running description of every single female that appeared. Men would have their talents and attitudes emphasized, but women were described physically (and, usually, lusted af ...more
Oct 01, 2007 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: humorous fantasy fans
The Source of Magic is the second book in Piers Anthony's Xanth series. This series is usually well known for it's heavy use of puns and the resemblance of the land of Xanth to a certain North American peninsula with an oversized rodent infestation (i.e. Florida).
Bink, a Magician class Talent in a society where everyone has magic, is searching for the sourch of magic in the land of Xanth. He is escorted by two of his friends through the dangers and perils of a magical, but not at all friendly w
3.5 stars. Just finishing re-reading this one, and found that it's not nearly as memorable as the first book in the series. I had forgotten nearly everything about this book.

It's not as well-written as the first book in the series either, but it's not as bad as some would have you believe. And the sexist attitudes are certainly prevalent everywhere, but perhaps they are intended to be part of the humor.

To me, this novel was Pier Anthony's attempt at worldbuilding. While not necessarily lacking
I liked this series as a child and having read the first one recently, and found it not too bad, I wanted to read the second one to see if he developed as a writer and if he managed to improve on the problems I had with the first one.

Sadly this one is a little worse than the first. It sticks to the same episodic template and jumps around all over the place, a book of ideas more than a strong narrative. I can see why I would have liked it as a child, but in terms of story it tended to be full of
Like its predecessor, A Spell for Chameleon, this book is a very pleasant diversion from the mediocrity of daily life. Anthony has a special gift for creating characters who in some way go against fantasy stereotypes in the way they act, look, and think. The Xanth books are short enough that you can dive in and get a good sense of the unfolding story within the first chapter. I do wish more attention had been given to the characters of Chameleon and Millie the Ghost, both of whom are largely sid ...more
Eric Moreno
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris Evans
I dislike the entire series a great deal. In fact, I've started using Xanth as a measurement for how bad other book series are.

I managed to get through 5 Xanth books before I couldn't bring myself to continue any more. 5 books before I would rather listen to nothing while driving than be subjected to Piers Anthony's writing any more.

It isn't the worst series I've ever read, I only managed 4 Maze Runner books, and 3 Divergent.

In truth, it was the Ogre being propelled like a rocket by vomiting Bl
I think I liked this book even more than the first one in the series. Piers Anthony gives us our first look at some of the REALLY strange places (and people) in Xanth. It's also a swashbuckling boys-only adventure, (at least until the last quarter of the book) with very little of the moping that went on in "A Spell for Chameleon". At least until near the end when the main character does something unbelievably reckless that you have to admire him for. And also? There's some cute puns, but not to ...more
Zack Oliver
Piers does it again!

Bink is a great character and I'm sorry he won't be the main character past this book. I love Piers' creativity and also the moral problems he makes the characters face. This is a much different kind of adventure tale: Bink must grapple with forces on both an elemental and universal scale, and make choices which affect not just him, and not just his friends, but all of Xanth!

I really enjoy Piers' quirky attitudes towards women and all of his descriptions of female physical c
Leila Anani
This is the second novel in Piers Anthony's epic comedy fantasy series. As with the early books it is far more fantasy than comedy which is no bad thing.

Bink frustrated at home with Chameleon, his heavily pregnant wife who is currently in her ugly phase, sets out on a quest to find the source of magic in Xanth. He is aided by Chester the centaur, Crombie the soldier who has been transformed into a griffin, good magician Humfrey and a golem named Grundy.

The majority of the novel is standard quest
Julie Decker
Bink is frustrated and overwhelmed by the constant demands and criticism from his pregnant wife, so he's willing to do something, anything, to get himself out of the house. So he decides to investigate an age-old mystery: Why does the Magical Land of Xanth have magic, anyway? Well, watch out, Bink. Not only is the source of magic something beyond your imagination, but once you know the story, you might be tempted to do something to change it. . . .

In this book we get to meet some fun new charac
The second of the Xanth novels, and the second book to focus on Bink. In this book he discovers the source of magic in Xanth, and learns more about the land he calls home. I love the adventure in the early novels, they aren't the standard boy meets girl formula (although boys do still meet girls, it just isn't the central quest) A fun read, I can't remember even say how many times I've read this one but I always enjoy it. On to the third!
The Source of Magic has been on my to-read list for a good while. Having read several Xanth stories over the the years I have always wanted to know how Xanth had magic. Sadly of all the Xanth stories I have read I like The Source of Magic the least.

Bink having figured out his magical talent is married to Chameleon and a bit restless with life. Due to the nature of his talent King Trent orders Bink to find the source of Xanth's magic. Eager to get out and experience a quest once again Bink sets o
Elisa Kay
My partner pulled this book off the shelf for me to read. I did not want to give him the satisfaction of knowing it was good, every time he asked how it was going - I'd reply "boring". So he'd ask hows's that boring book going.

Well now I want the next book in the series and find out more about his son.
Fabulous and innocent fantasy series. Xanth was my first experience into a magical world of fantasy years ago. Anthony uses puns and clever wordplays as part of the magical charm of the land of Xanth. This whole series makes our life here in "Mundania" seem so... well... mundane.
I loved these books as a young adult and I'm considering introducing them to my son who is 11. I read the first 7 or 8 but soon got tired of Anthony shoehorning bad puns into everything. Or maybe I just grew up a bit. Good light fantasy.
Bill Meehan
A psychedelic, politically incorrect, comical, fantasy world filled with magical adventures.
Xanth is an interesting place, silly fantasy for adults, I'll definitely return for book 3.
The first book in the Xanth series, A Spell for Chameleon, was good enough to get me to read the second... but I'm honestly not sure the second was good enough to make me want to read the third. I feel like the quality of the writing was mediocre, the plot was muddled, and the characters became less enjoyable. In addition, the perspectives voiced by the protagonist and most main characters were not only incredibly sexist but also incredibly self-centered (the protagonist leaves his 39-week pregn ...more
John Devlin
A great effort. Bink most uncover the source of magic, test his honor, and show once again its character that wins through.
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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
More about Piers Anthony...

Other Books in the Series

Xanth (1 - 10 of 39 books)
  • A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth, #1)
  • Castle Roogna (Xanth, #3)
  • Centaur Aisle (Xanth, #4)
  • Ogre, Ogre (Xanth, #5)
  • Night Mare (Xanth, #6)
  • Dragon on a Pedestal (Xanth, #7)
  • Crewel Lye (Xanth, #8)
  • Golem in the Gears (Xanth, #9)
  • Vale of the Vole (Xanth, #10)
  • Heaven Cent (Xanth, #11)

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