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Heaven Cent

(Xanth #11)

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  9,811 ratings  ·  85 reviews
In the mind of Xanth's precious shapeshifting Prince Dolph, the perfect way to see the world is to search for the missing sorcerer, Humfrey. Setting off with his faithful 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 with ...more
Paperback, 340 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Tor Books (first published 1988)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,811 ratings  ·  85 reviews

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Feb 13, 2008 rated it liked it
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 sma
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 like “skelet ...more
David Sarkies
Dec 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
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 borr
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
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
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
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 readin
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
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 spoiler) ...more
Briane Pagel
Apr 15, 2016 rated it liked it
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 Dolp
Isaac S
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
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.
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it liked it
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
I have read this one many times but I think this will always be one of my favourites
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
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!)
Mar 26, 2008 rated it liked it
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
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
Aug 07, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Don LaFountaine
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Kristen Coffin
"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
Sebastian MacNicoll
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: xanth
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
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In this book we follow Dolph as he quests to find the missing Magician of Information, with his friend and adult protector Marrow. Somehow, despite being only 9, most of the Xanth female population re out to snag a prince, and Dolph ends up with not one but two betrothals.

I've always enjoyed this one because I know how the romance winds up, but I imagine reading it through the first time and shudder. Both girls are likeable characters, and both go on to have impact in later novels. The quest fo
Mar 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I love the idea of the Xanth stories. My husband started reading them since he has a bit of time between graduation and law school and I was cuddled up next to him and read a page or two. I love the puns and the twists. I enjoy the characters and the connections. The Adult Conspiracy gets a little old as does a nine-year-old's obsession with legs. I also got a bit tired of naked women trying to seduce him. Other than that, though, it was a fun story. I could see myself retelling it to my kids as ...more
Jan 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This one was a fun read but left the reader hanging a bit which forces one to buy the next book. I planned to buy it but I do not like the push and though Anthony is as dependable as can be, I have been burned too often by writers who left cliff hangers and then got writer's block or some other life crisis or dropped dead and the answers are never given. I have said it before. I don't like cliff hangers and especially if I have to wait a year for the answer. I only get ticked over books I get en ...more
Ward Bond
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 with a slinky snake princess--all on his way to discovering a magic coin with all the answers!
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
This is a turning point for Piers Anthony - in which he ceases his atttempts to write good plots and becomes a dirty old punster. I've read many of the books after this on in the series in the hopes that he would return to his roots, but he never does. While they're entertaining, they're no longer the same genre at all, and decend further and further into collections of dirty jokes, innuendoes and bad puns strung together with a loose plotline.
Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
enjoyable quick read. I enjoyed reading a story about Dolph and Ivy as children. I have read other books in the Xanth series which have a lot more puns than this one. I missed the puns and found the puns in this one forced. The story itself was interesting, but only gets three stars as the other Xanth adventures had more action and adventure. It was hard to believe the romantic elements of this tale with the main character being only 9.
Carolynn Markey
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I liked this one! It feels like a return to the authors original story line. I liked the characters and his thoughts and the quest. That may sound vague but I barely made it through the last book at all. This one held my interest!! Loved the twist at the end and can't wait to see what happens next! Glad to see the next book is about ivy. I miss her from reading dragon on a pedestal.
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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-proclai

Other books in the series

Xanth (1 - 10 of 42 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)
  • Vale of the Vole (Xanth #10)
“Be what you are; it is better that way.
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