Up in a Heaval is as good as the last few Xanth books. In my opinion, that means not really that good.
I have been reading Xanth for years, and I loved the earlier books. The more recent ones though...I haven't been as fond of.
Mainly, the story and the characters seemed shallow. The plot was messy, and hurried, and just not very interesting. And what was the point behind the letters in the first place? We never find out who this woman was, or how she's solved any of her problems. In my mind, this is one major loose end that is left hanging.
As always, there are puns, and odd talents, and strange creatures and happenings, but they appear seemingly at random, and with no connection to the story or the characters.
The Demons are back in this book, and I, for one, am getting a little tired of them. Thought we'd all seen the last of Fornax? Think again.
The plots involving the Demons are all the same. Demons are contesting, Xanth wins out in the end. Predictable in the extreme.
The story is very rushed, and nothing connects the way it should. It has a totally random quality that I don't like. Sure, Xanth is a little crazy, and unpredictable, but this is just silly and pointless.
All in all, if you liked the last few Xanth books, you should like this one as well, but if you are a fan of earlier Xanth...Well, this book won't have much appeal.