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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change

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on 20 August 2017
I love this whole series of books! Piers Anthony mixes humour and serious, Magic and myth, legends and us ordinary folks... Ignore the world and enter Xanth... Mind the...now what was it I was supposed to tell you to mind? 🤔
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on 4 May 2013
The story is simple but beautifully delivered, could do without the brief intercourse really but an enjoyable read. Worth a try.
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on 18 August 2017
Read this 30 odd years ago and it's still as good now as then
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on 6 February 2014
The first three Xanth novels were truly great and very original. So many of the others to follow were sometimes very good, sometimes very average. But worth reading
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on 2 August 2002
The first and one of the best Xanth novels. A strong start which has provided the momentum to carry so many Xanth future novels. I was intrigued by the originality of concepts of this fantasy world even in spite of its blatant appropriation of generic mythology and fantasy. Having read every Xanth novel yet released, (though many I would not rate as highly as this one) I find it hard to separate contextually this book from the rest and its significance to the entire series, but I'll try to review it as story on its own. I have often very much appreciated the simplicity of story context in fairy tales and myths and legends which have been handed down over the centries to our modern culture. Quite often there is the strong desire for complex world building and complex subplotting in contemporary fantasy writing. When reading a Spell for Chameleon I felt I was returning to a simple but elegant plot of a simple hero, unjustly treated but solving a quest nonetheless and achieving greatness.
There was no great history of Xanth or even more than a rudimentary map and I found it easy to focus on a story being told in an interesting jungle fantasy setting. The lack of detail provided, allowed me to envisage Xanth more on my terms than strictly laid out details. It was more like a novel length short story. Sometimes the overuse of puns for the sake of putting them in can be a bit tiresome but its still an easy read. In some ways I am reminded of The Hobbit, which compared to most Middle Earth tales, was simple and a good ripping yarn/fairy tale without pandering as much to world building as JRR's other books. That simplicity I find in A Spell for Chameleon and Bink will always be my favourite character I believe in Xanths no matter how many hundreds are written.
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on 3 April 2017
Xanth is a magical land full of puns and mythical creatures. This is the first book in the series and introduces some of the lands strange and crazy creatures in a nice slow manner so as not to bombard you too much to start with. This book follows Bink, a man without magic. This means that he cannot stay in Xanth, he has to be banished to our world 'Mundania'. Bink tries to find out what his talent may be and gets caught up in a perilous adventure spanning both worlds.

If you have never read any Xanth books this is the obvious one to start with although it is, imo, not the best book by any stretch of the imagination. If you are a Xanth reader then this is nothing new and brings nothing amazing to the series either.

For me Xanth books are ones that I can pick up and leave and not really pay any serious attention to but at the same time are quite a pleasant escape from harder, more consuming fantasy.
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on 10 August 2017
This was a wonderful read fully enjoyed from begging to end look forward to book two to enjoy more excitement
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on 2 July 2011
If you want an easy read, lots of chuckles and a book that you can pass onto your kids, this is it in spades.
I first read it in the 1970's and I've never forgotten it, plus Piers Anthony seems to be one of this worlds real good guys.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 February 2016
What's still great about the Xanth books is that Anthony's monsters are really monsters. They don't sparkle benignly at the heroine for six books and then give her a surprise C-section with their teeth. Take Jonathan the Zombie in Castle Roogna. This is what he looks like: "He shuffled into the kitchen, dripping the usual clods of dirt and mold. No matter how much fell, a zombie always had more; it was part of the enchantment. His body was skeletal, his eyes rotten sockets, and the nauseating odor of putrefaction was about him."

That's the romantic lead, folks!

Where I wish Anthony had been more influential was his willingness to accept the body horror inherent in having a monster as your hero. It's just flat out nasty to have the hero crave the taste of the heroine's blood-- but that's a good thing. Why would you want to make your real, live monster an angsty boy in a Halloween costume?

After all, don't we all feel like a rotting corpse sometimes? And don't even monsters deserve a happy ending?
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on 5 April 2012
I was looking for some entertaining fantasy to read before reading some serious literature, and this was just that. The magical realm of Xanth is full of surprising and amusing magical beings. There is danger and adventure and all the things you'd wish for from a fantasy novel aimed at the teenage audience.

Don't expect anything serious, as this isn't a book full of deep meaning. If you enjoy puns, you'll like it though.

One thing that grates on me, and more so in the second book as it gets repetitive is the attitude to women. They are always considered as a commodity for men. A difficult annoying and sometimes dangerous commodity, but still. Just something that is there to full-fill a man's wishes. I have to say I don't like the way they are portrayed at all.
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