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Vale of the Vole (Xanth #10)

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  9,248 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
When Esk, a young ogre-nymph-human, began his pilgrimage to the Good Magician Humfrey to rid himself of a seductive demoness, little did he know it would become a mission of mercy. A running river paradise and its harmless inhabitants were perishing in the wrathful wake of a greedy demon horde. Now it is up to Esk and his companions--a beautiful winged centaur named Chex a ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 15th 2000 by Tor Fantasy (first published 1987)
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Community Reviews

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Rating details
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Dec 25, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, humor
I hope that this represents the low-water mark for the Xanth series, and that the remaining books cannot possibly be worse.

This book was still readable, but numbingly repetitive and lacking in urgency or "danger". That is, there is no palpable immediacy to the quest, and thus no imminent peril, and the book suffers as a result of nearly negligable suspense.

The story involves so many treks across Xanth that it seems it's no longer dangerous to travel here and there in Xanth - there's little refle
Will Howell
Mar 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
OK. This was my first book that I've read of the Xanth series. I had heard of Xanth, found a used copy at a real bargain, so I went for it. What the...? I was expecting something more along the lines of the Apprentice Adept series (which I thoroughly enjoyed), but I was instead assaulted by simple puns, inane dialogue, and amazingly-over-accepting-of-each-other strangers. The "speech impediment" of the voles was also somewhat annoying. I could probably go on some more about the negatives I found ...more
David Sarkies
Dec 30, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Harry Potter fans looking for something different
Recommended to David by: Stewart Wymer
Shelves: fantasy
This is probably the last Xanth novel that I read
30 December 2011

I guess that I am getting to the point where my memory of the Xanth novels are beginning to fade. This was written in 1987 and I suspect that I read it a couple of years later, possibly in the early 90s (though the exact date I am unable to remember). I remember this because it was when my friend first introduced me to the series, and I pretty much read everything thing that he had written up to that point, and a couple more.

I ha
May 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nenangs by: Arini Tathagati & Femmy Syahrani
This title was my first encounter with Anthony's Xanth world, though I knew my sister had another one already in her bookshelf ("The Color of Her Panties"), but at that time I was just not interested, because I thought it was just a strange book. I thought, why anyone wants to know about someone's panties colour? only the color? freakin' stuff. So I let the book a pass.

It was not until I read "Vale of The Vole" that I realize how interesting "The Color of Her Panties" was. Thanks to Arin that ha
Julie Decker
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Esk, son of Smash, wants to get rid of a demoness, but Magician Humfrey can't be consulted because he is missing. So Esk decides to go find him. Along the way he meets multiple new folks who function as his traveling band, which takes him through hypnogourds and into the problems of a river. He may have gained allies and possibly a new love, but what if Esk can't find Humfrey?

Chasing down the motivation behind annoying demons seemed like a bit of an empty quest, but as has been the case for a wh
Ward Bond
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
When Esk, a young ogre-nymph-human, began his pilgrimage to the Good Magician Humfrey to rid himself of a seductive demoness, little did he know it would become a mission of mercy. A running river paradise and its harmless inhabitants were perishing in the wrathful wake of a greedy demon horde. Now it is up to Esk and his companions--a beautiful winged centaur named Chex and a brave burrower Called Volney--to search Xanth's treacherous reaches, gathering together a mind-boggling company
Edwina Callan
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, bookcrossing
This is the first book by Piers Anthony that I have ever read and I absolutely adored it.
Fast paced and laugh out loud funny combined with mythical creatures on a quest equal a good time had by me.
Can't wait to search out more books in this series and dive back into the world of Xanth.
Andres Rodriguez
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
I came across this book because one of my readers to my unpublished novel said, "Your book is very funny. It reminds me of some books I read as a kid by an author named Piers Anthony. I think you should read them because it would might give you a different perspective as you continue to write your Fantasy/Humor but read one of the early ones because he gets kind of weird in his later books." With this loosely based knowledge I happened to stumble on this copy at the local bookmans and didn't rea ...more
Briane Pagel
Jan 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Book 5: Piers Anthony's Xanth Books Are Like My Childhood Or Something I Don't Know It's A Metaphor

We went to a friend's wedding once and because I was one of the people chosen to read a passage from the Bible at the wedding (I did so with such verve that another friend was impressed: You really put a lot of emotion into it! he marveled) I had to go to the 'rehearsal dinner' the night before. (Rehearsal dinners are silly. They don't cover anything that you couldn't take care of in
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: listened
Easier to get through than some of the others so far. But it ours hard to deny my interest is lagging.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another in the loooong (I mean that in a good way) Xanth series. It is filled with puns and a fun read.
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
All of the stories have the same pattern to them but even So, I enjoy the writing. Gotta love those puns and play on words. It can't be easy coming up with so many.
J Austill
Aug 07, 2012 rated it liked it
This is the 10th Xanth novel, and the beginning of what I have always considered the second trilogy. At this point, Piers had moved from the TOR publisher to Avon. Since Avon doesn't ever list TOR novels and TOR doesn't ever list Avon ones, many readers may have long been confused on what was in the series and how they were ordered (pre-internet).

After slogging through the last book, I wasn't too sure how much farther I would go with this series, but Vale breathes new life into the series. First
Sarah J
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
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
Don LaFountaine
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Book 10 of the Xanth series was a fun adventure. If possible, I would have rated it 3 1/2 stars instead of 4.

In this edition, the reader meets Esk, the son of Smash & Tandy, and the grandson of one of the original Xanth characters, Crunch. He has a nice hideout in a tree that has become the object of desire by Demoness Metria. After a number of futile attempt to remove her, coupled with a threat from Metria, he decides to seek out Good Magician Humphrey to find out what to do. Along the way,
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book's protagonist is Esk. He's the son of a previous protagonist: Smash Ogre. He's got kind of weird ancestry--a quarter nymph, a quarter ogre, and half human. I guess this kinda helps him sympathize with the girl he meets on his manufactured quest: while he's on his way to ask the Good Magician Humfrey how to get rid of a threatening demoness, he meets Chex, who's a winged centaur and can't fly because her wings can't bear her weight. (She's part hippogryph.) Of course, Humfrey, answer to ...more
Kristen Coffin
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: author-anthony
"You don’t have to settle for what you are at this moment. You can work to make a difference."

Staple character to the Xanth novels, the Good Magician Humphrey has gone missing, so a mismatched group of travels who want their questions answered go to look for him.

The quest here was a little lacking when compared to some of the other novels (there's no Mundania, there's no time travel) there's just a quest. We see some interesting new talents and for me the play on the Kissimmee River (that I grew
Lin Clark
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. I love the adventure Esk the Half Ogre goes on to see the magician Humphrey to get rid of a Female Fiend name Metria, who takes his hideout and is doing bad things to his parents. Ends up finding this friends on the path to Humprhrey Castle.Volney, Chex, the winged Centaur, Brassie the Brass Girl. Volney tell him of his plight and he is also going to see Humphrey. He meets two other friends and when they arrive Magician Humphrey is missing so they all go to Castle Roogna, They ...more
Jun 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
I seem to remember the Xanth novels being a lot better when I was really into them a few years ago. The puns seemed funnier, the "logic" not as contrived and the characters with more depth. Then again, I was reading the books later on in the series, so they may have improved along the line.

Still it was a very easy read, and enjoyable in a simple way. I finished it in a day, something i haven't done with a novel in ages. Sometimes you just need something uncomplicated and entertaining.

I'm eventua
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, adventure
I could hardly wait to read this one after the awful Night Mare. And I wasn't let down. This is Piers at his best.

I love that Piers is so capable of making such humble and good men. I have a soft spot for so many of them. Esk is the latest in a long line.

Metria is always amusing. How can you go wrong with a demoness who likes to cause trouble but not too much trouble?

I love Chex and I love the solution to her flying problem/beau problem.

One of my favorite little bits was the dopplegangers in the
Mar 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Synopsis: A group of miscellaneous characters of mixed races meet each other along a road and decide to travel together. They're each going to the same place, to ask a wizard a question. Along the way, various random problems emerge, which they overcome with their variety of gifts (the majority of the book are these random encounters). After visiting the wizard's base, they must make a trip to defeat a villain, and water is definitely involved prominently in said defeat.

Sound familiar?

This book
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
I don't remember a lot about this book from when I read it about 13 years ago. The parts I do remember involved centaur breasts (oh wait, "pectoral muscles"), skeleton sex, a seductress vole, the main character peeing on things, a woman made of brass, and a big fight at the end to save the voles, who were important for some reason. In retrospect, it was probably not the best book to fall into the hands of a middle-schooler.
Dec 31, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty much follows the standard Anthony formulae at this point in the Xanth series...protagonist is introduced (Esk), encounters problem (demoness Metria), sets out on quest to solve problem and meets characters on the way (Volney, Chex, Latia, Marrow), a love interest (Bria), and travels through Xanth eventually solving problem and winning love interest. I still enjoy reading Anthony's Xanth series, but they are starting to follow the same theme.
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Xanth without the Good Magician? How can this be? It means the characters have to stumble through on their own, with mixed results. A few more of my favorite characters get a mention as well. Three characters, Chex, Volney and Esk find that all their quests lead them to the same point, and must save the Vale of the Vole to complete their respective missions.

Five stars again, another delightful installment in the Xanth series.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it liked it
fun fantasy book. many different kinds of fantasy creatures interact. the protagonist is part human part ogre part everything it seems, and this is used regularly (hey he needs ogre strength here. hey he needs a human quality here, etc.) but at least he does not better any of the "pureblood" creatures with his "mudblood" abilities.
Stephen Herfst
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this one. I was heavily into Adventure games at the time, so this played out like I was watching / experiencing one first-hand. I think that's the lure. Appealing characters, 'taxing' tests and imaginative solutions. Everything you need from a good adventure game.

I have my nostalgia glasses on, so that's why it gets a five. For an adult, less exemplary, but still fun!
Nov 10, 2016 rated it liked it
This book didn't keep me quite as interested as the other Piers Anthony books I've read, but it was still full of puns and worth reading for a good laugh. I really appreciated how the main character rejected a physical relationship from the start with someone he didn't even know. Instead he chose to wait until he found the right person. That's the way!
Jeremiah Johnson
Apr 09, 2012 rated it liked it
This book appears to be a departure from the format of the earlier books in the series. There are very few puns in this book, which makes it necessary for it to stand alone as a descent fantasy novel. It does this okay, but not great. As always, the characters are enjoyable, but the story was just okay.
Book Him Danno
Oct 03, 2009 rated it liked it
The Xanth series is fun and cute with pun after pun after pun, I think these are great for any age. This one was short and fast to read and ti carried the main story forward. A great series to everyone who enjoys sci-fi and even for some who don't.
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I enjoyed the characters, and their world and hope I get the chance to read the story again and/or to read more within the series.

My Rating System:
* couldn't finish, ** wouldn't recommend, *** would recommend, **** would read again, ***** have read again.
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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 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)
  • Dragon on a Pedestal (Xanth, #7)
  • Crewel Lye (Xanth #8)
  • Golem in the Gears (Xanth, #9)
  • Heaven Cent (Xanth #11)

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“You don't have to settle for what you are at this moment. You can work to make a difference.
“...the sweetest temptation could be that which was known to be the most foolish.” 9 likes
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