Xanth an Underappreciated Series
Xanth is a series written by Piers Anthony published by Avon Books. Most of the series was published during the 80's and 90's. I feel this series is massively underappreciated and believe it's right up there with J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass) series. If you like puns and enjoy a well written story that keeps your attention this is the series for you! I do recommend reading this series to kids of all ages! It is full of lessons and good humor and you'll find yourself laughing along with your children! There are 35 Xanth books in total, however here I only review the first three!
The Land of Xanth
One of the things I love about this series is the land of Xanth itself. It's map is based around the state of Florida which I love! As some of you may know I spent 9 years in Florida, while I didn't enjoy my time there and much prefer my home state of Oregon, that doesn't mean I can't acknowledge the wonderful magic that lies all throughout the state. Xanth is a wonderful magical place that has all sorts of creatures including humans who migrated there during what Xanth residents call The First Wave. Through out the series you come to learn much more about the history of Xanth but as I have said I will not be including any spoilers during this review only giving reason to why you should read and invest in the series.
There are many creatures in Xanth. Some of these you might be familiar with from other fantasy novels including centaurs, basilisks, griffins and dragons, just to name a few! There are others that you encounter that you might not have heard of such a football. A football is a creature made of all kinds of feet and looks like a ball, it covers ground quickly usually creating a path in its wake due to it's many feet. It's writing like this that can take a persons imagination and explode it! This is what I love most about this series! It takes mundane things such as a football and makes it fantastic.
Xanth is protected by a magical barrier, this barrier lets in light and air but nothing else. This is why Xanth has not had any further waves of human colonization. Every human is made to demonstrate a magical ability by the time they come of age and if you cannot demonstrate an ability you are exiled from the land of Xanth forever.
Throughout the series you follow Bink, his descendants or his friends through many adventures! There is a great cross over between books and you will come to know and love every character.
Book One: A Spell for Chameleon
The main focus of the story, Bink, is on a quest to find out what his ability is, so far in his life he has had no magic and is in fear of being exiled from his home land forever. You grow to love Bink and find yourself unable to guess his magic ability until the very end! This story is amazing and believe me you will fall in love with the series scrambling to get a hold of the next book! I could not put it down and looked forward to breaks from work and read even when I was eating or laying down to sleep in order to finish it. I've reread it several times and each time it gets funnier and I discover something I missed the first time I read it!
Book Two: The Source of Magic
Once again you follow Bink in an epic quest handed down to him by the king to find the source of magic in Xanth. This story is amazing! You come into contact with many known characters from the first book and run into some that you see further in the series. You learn a lot about the land of Xanth and yes even discover the source of magic in Xanth. An amazing book that is full of puns and great humor. You will laugh out load and find yourself poised on the edge of your seat reading as fast as you can unable to put the book down!
Book Three: Castle Roogna
You follow Bink's son, Dor through his adventure in a magical tapestry while he is sent to the past of Xanth in order to restore a zombie to life! Dor's magical ability is to talk to the inanimate and most of the time the inanimate isn't very smart, as you can imagine for they have no brains and therefore cannot think. Right in the beginning of the book you'll be laughing at the things Dor does with his magical ability! Dor is just 12 years old but you find yourself connecting with him as he faces adult problems when he animates the body of a barbarian in the past 800 years ago! In this book you learn quite a bit about the history of Xanth as the main character is in the past of Xanth, you come to find out how things came to be the way they now are! This is a great book and truly I cannot recommend it enough!