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Heaven Cent

(Xanth #11)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  10,018 ratings  ·  93 reviews
In the mind of Xanth's precious shapeshifting Prince Dolph, the perfect was to see the world is to search for the missing sorcerer, Humfrey. Setting off with his faithfuls companion, Marrow, an enchanted skeleton, Dolph will penetrate an island of illusion, escape a goblin kingdom, outwit a husband-hungry mermaid, save marrow from bone-starved harpies, and find romance wit ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published October 1st 1988 by Avon Books (first published 1988)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,018 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Start your review of Heaven Cent (Xanth, #11)
Feb 13, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the Xanth series, and of humorous fantasy in general
Shelves: fantasy
Note, May 23, 2016: I've just edited this review to correct a couple of typos, and simplify a sentence.

I first encountered the Xanth series years ago with Dragon on a Pedestal, which I read out loud to my wife. We both liked it, which encouraged us later to read several more books in the series.

Anthony is a profoundly morally-grounded writer; his main characters are all fundamentally decent persons who want to do the right thing, and his plots tend to feature various large and small ethical choi
Dec 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
After a long period away from the Xanth series, I came across Heaven Cent and couldn’t remember reading it. I hadn’t and I had evidently missed several episodes since the last one I consumed. If puns are the lowest form of humor, the Xanth books are the lowest form of fantasy. I don’t happen to believe that. I believe these pun-filled stories are like ice cream and candy—delightful in moderation, sickening in over-indulgence. Today, as I read Heaven Cent, I still groaned at the familiar puns lik ...more
David Sarkies
Dec 30, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
An the Xanth series continues
30 December 2011

It is fascinating read what other people's opinions on the various books on Goodreads, particularly those that I myself have read. A lot of the reviews suggest that these later Xanth books where the first that they read, and there is obviously the extensive use of puns. I never really found the puns hugely funny, and it was something that I put up with in the books.
I noticed as I read one of the reviews of this book that Anthony had borrowed from a
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a continuation of the Xanth series. It's fun and frivolous. The only reason for four stars is that in my opinion, it ends abruptly. This book is a tale of young Prince Dolph and the search for the Heaven Cent. The search leads him to Mundania (where we live) and some interesting discussions about how our technology could be viewed as magic since that is common place on Xanth.
Julie Decker
Dolph, Ivy's brother, wants to see the world, so he goes off to look for the Magician Humfrey--who's still missing. He's got a sentient skeleton to help him, and feels pretty safe; he can shapeshift into any animal, so he's unlikely to get into trouble. That is, unless you count lady trouble. He is faced with rescuing not one but two women, and must also escape evil ladies who want to marry him or devour him. But when unavoidable affairs leave Dolph betrothed to two women, what will he do to res ...more
Stephen Herfst
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Piers, Piers, Piers. You are such a guilty pleasure.

I love the Xanth books because you do what you do so well. No mindless exposition and no dreary descriptions. The 'only' thing you give us is a clearly-defined 'save the princess' and a set of obstacles that the hero needs to negotiate. Oh, and a mountain of puns and creative animals / plants.

I could use this to describe almost all your books - they're cookie cutter, but my god are they addictive. I'm not sure if I were to re-read them now they
Grunion Guy
Jun 13, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When I first read Heaven Cent as a teenager, I don't know if I found it disturbingly weird that the book is about a naked nine year old boy wandering around the wilderness being hit on by naked older women but I do know teenage me purchased four more Xanth books after it. Of course, that's the least gross thing I did as a teenager so I'll give myself a pass on that one. Hell, I give myself a pass on all the other gross things too because who was that idiot who actually enjoyed these books?! I me ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars

Heaven Cent is the eleventh book in the Xanth series by Piers Anthony. This story follows Prince Dolph, a shapeshifter, as he sets off to find Humphrey, and discover the world. His companion on the journey is an enchanted skeleton named Marrow. Their adventure takes them to the Island of Illusion, and the Goblin Kingdom. Meeting mermaids, harpies, and a snake princess along the way.
The Xanth Series is quite a really long series that has spanned many decades. I remember reading the first
Heaven Cent is a decently enjoyable entry in the Xanth series. It concerns nine year old Prince Dolph, who goes on a quest, along with his adult, skeletal companion Marrow Bones, to find the still missing Magician Humphrey. He meets a number of highly interesting and entertaining characters along the way, encounters a fair number of pun-ishingly named creatures and personages, and even manages to discover, for the reader, additional history for some characters from the earlier books... (view spo ...more
Briane Pagel
Piers Anthony's books hold a strange appeal for me. They have a strange sort of inartfulness, a juvenile feel to them that nonetheless hides a fair share of headier intellectual stuff.

It's not that Anthony's a great writer; he has some really very good ideas -- the Apprentice Adept series remain a high point of fantasy/scifi -- but they're presented in a kind of clunky writing style that's reminiscent of 9th grade literary efforts.

Take Heaven Cent. The protagonist is Dolph, a 9 year old shape-ch
Isaac S
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heaven Cent is the eleventh book in the Xanth series, and has a great plot and many adventures in it. In the story the main character was Prince Dolph, who was the son of King Dor and had the ability to change from his natural form to the form of any other living creature. He went on an adventure to find the missing Magician Humphrey, who had disappeared a few years before, and with him he brought the living skeleton Marrow. On the adventure he learned that he needed to locate an object called ...more
Michael Drakich
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is no other way to describe a Xanth novel than hilarious. Sure, they all have a standard theme. The main character goes on some mission, encounters all kinds of weird monsters, magic, and people and must survive countless challenges along the way. Throw in a handful of misdirections, intentional word plays, and you have the standard Xanth plot. This one is more of the same.
Having read them all, you would think I would be bored of the same old trick pony. Wrong. If anything, it's the author
Anderson Rearick III
Piers Anthony's protagonist in this work does grow emotionally as the novel progresses. For example he eventually learns that the older sister he thought he disdains is actually a loving sibling. He also makes a number of adult choices by the end. But the role of women is difficult to judge since a lot of the story is told through a boy's eyes who likes being hugged by full figured girls and yet does not like "mushy stuff." (I don't think any of the women in Xanth are smaller than a D cup except ...more
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I keep saying that I'll stop reading the Xanth series, and after this book I may well actually do it. Woolly writing for much of the book, and the plot meanders in a way which is quite hard to follow. Plus elements that are absolutely done to death as the series goes on ("the adult conspiracy" for example). Thankfully it picks up towards the end, where Dolph and Grace'l are on trial - this is handled very cleverly, and the final scene in the garden of roses is quite moving. However, the only thi ...more
Kate H
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Xanth books by Piers Anthony were some of the first SciFi/Fantasy books I ever read. I love puns so I have always enjoyed them. Upon re-reading them I can see that they have some weaknesses but overall they stand the test of time. They are a fun and fast read that keeps me amused without any deep thinking required.
D.G. Post
Aug 29, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the earlier books of this series. After about book 6 or so, they began a gradual decline, in my opinion, and then an even sharper one in this book and the previous one in the series. This one I could not even finish. Sorry! I am sure some people love it, and that’s fine; it just was not my cup of tea :-)
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
According to my notes, I haven't read a book by this author in 29 years. After reading this one I remember why. I enjoyed the first 3 or 4 in the series but then they slowly changed into silly young-adult stories that just don't do anything for me. There are a few fun moments but that is about it.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened
Another one down. Unfortunately I skipped the 10th book. I'll have to take a step back and then catch up. As usual, about half way through the book I thought it could be done.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this one many times but I think this will always be one of my favourites
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This one is easier to read, fewer puns. The boy learns a lot on his quest and will grow up to be a very nice man.
Amir Roth
Winding down. I think this was the last one I read. Only 36 more to go!
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first Xanth novel. I ever read. Prince Dolph is the best
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
This as an enjoyable book. I look forward to seeing what happens in the next one.
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Good Magician is still missing, and Ivy's younger brother Dolph decides it's his turn to go on a silly quest. He's pretty young, though, so the King and Queen assign him a skeleton companion. Both Dolph and the skeleton--Marrow Bones--can shapeshift; Dolph can turn into animals, and Marrow can turn into any arrangement of his bones once he's kicked. (Weird.)

So off they go on their quest, but of course something else happens and Dolph has to save women. (That's what they're for!) First he sav
Mar 26, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, fantasy
As an introduction to Piers Anthony works, "Heaven Cent" offers quite a delightful foray into Xanth as well as a glimpse of its populace, from the creatures of the gourd who create dreams (e.g. the skeletons who abhor flesh, the nightmares who carry bad dreams, and the formidable White Stallion), the domain of the merpeople, dragons and all manners of winged beings, and an assortment of other creatures commonly found in fantasy literature.

The story itself, that of a young royal shapeshifter nam
Sarah J
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Xanth is a fantasy novel that is based almost entirely on wordplay, specifically puns. The series occupies a strange space between silly and weird. Anthony has some odd opinions on themes, such as sex, racism, prejudice, growing up, and the use of magic in everyday life. The writing vacillates between heavy-handed condescending to extended analysis of magic, science, and the application of the rules of Xanth. Some love it, some hate it; I personally thought it was a strange read but harmless, al ...more
J Austill
Heaven Cent is the 11th book of the Xanth series and one of those that I liked the least when I read them (back in the 6th grade). It has a few flaws:

- The protagonist's talent is much too powerful and he is never really in danger. This destroys any real suspense. Ultimately, it is a bit of a Superman problem where Kryptonite (reverse wood) needs to be introduced and appear randomly in order to create any danger at all.

- The protagonist has no real investment in the quest (he was just bored, rea
Don LaFountaine
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book 11 of the Xanth series focuses on Prince Dolph. Determined to have an adventure, he decides that the best adventure he could go on would be to find Good Magician Humphrey, who has been missing for 3 years. He takes Marrow Bones along with him as his adult guardian, though that was not quite his plan. Going to the Good Magician's castle, he find a clue that says "Skeleton key to Heaven Cent". From there, the adventure takes off. He meets Mela Merwoman, Nada Naga, goes into Mundania, and defe ...more
Sebastian Savaric
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quest
Everyone wants to marry Dolph in this one even though he's only nine years old. Now that all the first main characters have kids and grandchildren, the stories are pretty heavy on the kids, but they're not even so much interesting kids like in South Park or Bob's Burgers. The skeleton dude reminds me of Grim from Billy and Mandy so I give him a Jamaican voice in my head. I compare it to cartoon shows because these Xanth stories are much like cartoon animation. I just realized that the Dolph didn ...more
Kristen (belles_bookshelves)
"Love is greater than death when it is strong and new."


We're introduced to Dolph (young shapeshifting son of Dor and Irene), who goes on a quest to find the still missing Good Magician Humphrey. I like this tale of Xanth, because Dolph is young, so we get a equal amount of situations where he's out of his depth, and situations where adults are out of their depth and he perseveres in the situation by looking at it in a new angle. We do get a very annoying love triangle out of this, but I like how
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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

Other books in the series

Xanth (1 - 10 of 43 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)
  • Dragon on a Pedestal (Xanth, #7)
  • Crewel Lye: A Caustic Yarn (Xanth #8)
  • Golem in the Gears (Xanth, #9)
  • Vale of the Vole (Xanth #10)

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