Scurra's Reviews > A Spell for Chameleon

A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony
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really liked it
bookshelves: humour, fantasy

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!) Not even for the puns, although they are rarely a disappointment (although lately he has taken to shoe-horning entire paragraphs of them together as though he wants to get them out of the way.) And when he uses one for a title, it's always a doozy: who else would dare to call a novel Stork Naked?!

It's for the ideas and the structures. One Xanth novel often contains more ideas than some novelists manage in an entire career. He plays with multiple character viewpoints in subtle patterns. He slips in forward and backward references to other novels let alone the current plot. He creates huge plot-holes for himself and then delights in tidying up the loose ends and inconsistencies further down the line. The list goes on. There are few authors who can write more than 30 books in one series (and this is probably only half of Antony's total output) and still find ways to surprise the audience.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 1, 1981 – Finished Reading
July 22, 2008 – Shelved
January 21, 2010 – Shelved as: humour
January 21, 2010 – Shelved as: fantasy

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Reanna Best review yet for the Xanth series. Thanks for your fair and honest opinion.


Coggietm I agree. You either get the series or you don't. I have been hooked for many years.


Keegan Precisely


message 4: by Scott (new)

Scott Great review. Even fans admit, we are not reading this series for the literary depth. We read them because, even today, it still amazes me how clever the author is.
His wit/sarcasm is sharper than most humorists and he has no problem piling on the puns. I loved the stories as a kid. I appreciate his literary gifts as an adult.
And after reading some of the negative reviews I wonder...how funny would these puns be if they were all politically correct and reverant? And if an author is paying so much attention to his humor, should we assume then that he is serious about those details that seem to offend? Or...are they yet another facet of his often misunderstood humor? Hmmm.


message 5: by John (new)

John Burt I agree entirely that you either "get" Xanth stories or you don't. End of discussion.
You also either "get" that Anthony has some serious dysfunctions in the way he depicts (if not the way he personally views) men's interactions with women and worse yet the interaction of men and boys with young girls, or you don't. End of discussion.


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