Nathan (vovat) wrote,

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The Xanth Xone

I'm not sure anyone has been reading my ongoing reviews of Piers Anthony's Xanth series, but I'm going to keep writing them anyway, if only for my own benefit. Here are my thoughts on the twentieth through twenty-third volumes:

Yon Ill Wind - The demon who is the source of all magic in Xanth is challenged by his fellows to take mortal form. It's a typical incarnating god story, except for the fact that the Demon's avatar is a dragon with a donkey head. It's described as an ugly creature, but I think it actually looks kind of cute in the cover art. This being, known as Nimby, helps to guide a Floridian family through Xanth, and stop a hurricane that's devastating the land. Not all of the members of the mundane family are that well-defined, but I did find the idea of a relatively normal American family (most of the previous Mundanes to visit Xanth have been somewhat quirky) taking a road trip through the magical country. It's weird that there are drivable roads and sources of gasoline in a country that doesn't have cars of its own, but I guess just about anything is possible with magic. The book also shows us the evil cloud Fracto finally doing something helpful, and a community of imps with names reminiscent of those in one of L. Frank Baum's Little Wizard Stories.

Faun & Games - A faun and a former night mare journey to some of the tiny worlds located within Princess Ida's personal moon. The new rules that Anthony comes up with for each world are interesting, but he spends so much time describing these new locations that there isn't much room left for a plot. Not that I haven't had that same problem when writing my own stories. This one wasn't one of my favorites in the series.

Zombie Lover - Sort of a message story, in that a black girl named Breanna has to learn to overcome her own prejudice against zombies. Also, two familiar characters find spouses. That's a plot device that tends to be overdone in these books, but I did like Jenny Elf's romance with a werewolf.

Xone of Contention - Through the magic of the Internet, a troubled Mundane couple comes to Xanth, and Nimby visits the United States. Oh, and the characters fool around a lot. It's not as bad as that description makes it sound, but it's not one I would recommend anyone start with. As with most of the other volumes written around this time, it follows up on plot threads from several earlier books, mostly Demons Don't Dream, Yon Ill Wind, and Zombie Lover.

I'm still working my way through the series, and the next one, The Dastard, is pretty good so far. Overall, I have to say that I quite enjoy the series as a whole, but the books taken in and of themselves really vary in quality. And does EVERY character have to get married and have children? Sure, it's a good way of populating Xanth with new generations of characters, but you'd think SOME main characters would prefer not to become family men or women. But then, maybe that's just my opinion as a weirdo who doesn't want kids.
Tags: books, xanth

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