by Piers Anthony

Anthony, Piers, Source Of Magic, The
ISBN: 0345272846
ISBN13: 978-0345272843
Category: Fantasy
Subcategory: Fantasy
Author: Piers Anthony
Language: English
Publisher: Del Rey (January 12, 1979)
ePUB size: 1269 kb
FB2 size: 1522 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 779
Other Formats: lrf rtf doc mobi

I first read this in paperback several years ago. I am so happy to find the series availble on Kindle. I enjoyed this book as much this time as I did the first time around. I had forgotten much of the details.

Anyway, this book continues Bink's adventures that began in the first book. The story picks up a year after the end of the first book, so not a lot of time has passed. In Bink's adventure, we gain some insight into how magic works in the world of Xanth, and what is the ultimate source of that magic. There are many characters from the first book, and several new characters are introduced. I am looking forward to book 3.
I love Piers Anthony books. This book is one of many in this set. He makes you use your imagination a lot through the whole book. He takes the simplest thing and turns it into something else. This book is so much fun to read. I read this book every chance I got. I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen. I would recommend to anyone whole loves to throw themselves into the fantasy world.
I read the Xanth novels years ago and I loved them then and I am rereading them and still love them. This fantasy world is the state of Florida. In a parallel universe that was born in the mind of Piers Anthony. I have laughed, cried and even gotten angry with the characters he has brought to life. This series is well worth your time if you love fantasy novels. Give them a try. I don't think you will be disappointed in the least.
Source of Magic is a noticeably less inspired work than P.A.'s first Xanth outing, A Spell for Chameleon. The plot is paper thin; actually, it feels like the account of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign run by an unimaginative and uncomfortably randy teenage DM: there's a main quest, a party of cut-out characters, and a chain of enemy encounters throughout. The protagonist Bink, a bit thick-headed the last time around, is aggravatingly so here. Most distressingly, the sexism which lay mostly under the surface in Chameleon rears its ugly head in this story, which makes for an uncomfortable read sometimes. No female escapes an introduction without a description of her level of attractiveness, and mythological creatures such as nymphs and sirens are used by the author to make off-putting insinuations about the nature of women. Very tellingly, Chameleon, whose intelligent female heroine was a sorely needed breath of fresh air in the last book, is reduced to a bitchy housewife, her intellect now portrayed as profoundly negative. There's some pleasure to be found in Source, but unless the series improves significantly by the next iteration, I'll be writing Xanth off as a stinky backwater, and moving on.
Piers Anthony is a genius who writes delicious stories that are not only hilarious but thought provoking. "The Source of Magic" is superior to its predecessor, "A Spell for Chameleon", because of the endless conflicts throughout the novel. The images brought to mind when Bink and his companions begin to climb the constellations into the sky only to realize that they are really in a tree are so vivid that its mind boggling. I don't normally do spoilers here but suffice to say that this book is like a mental bacon cheesburger that will make you laugh and think at the same time. What a book!!! It reminds me of "The Hobbit" with its free-spirited jocularity and it delivers the same kind of satisfaction. Its a perfect book for young readers but old ones will devour it as well. After all, "growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional".
Tyler Is Not Here
The Source of Magic is the second in the Xanth series of books. The series became famous for its use of puns (e.g. a shoe tree is a tree that literally grows shoes you can pick and wear), but in the beginning these were really secondary to the story and characters and the early books are far better for it. The hero of this novel carries over from the first novel, A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth, Book 1). Bink is a seemingly ordinary man with possibly the most powerful talent anyone in Xanth has ever possessed. His gift is that nothing magic can harm him. His talent acts so subtly and in such far-sighted ways, however, that the effects are sometimes jaw dropping even though he and his king are the only two people who even know it exists.

The plot of this book follows the adventures of Bink and some comrades in search of the source of magic for the land of Xanth. Along the way, there are many dangers to be overcome and many lessons for them to learn about life and themselves. This is pretty typical of Xanth novels as most of them involve some form of personal growth as a major component. To avoid spoilers, I won't get any more specific but the story is reasonably well paced and entertaining. It was also nice that the good magician Humfrey came along on the quest, as he is always a character that I find interesting.

One negative aspect of this book is that there is a considerable amount of sexism that can honestly be said to cross over the line to outright bigotry against women. Early on, I lost count of the number of times women were referred to as "bitches" and they are even called "sluts" more than once. Beyond that there are numerous little snide asides about the vanity and untrustworthiness of women from pretty much all sides. I point this out for two reasons. One, if you are an adult you should just know it's here and can decide for yourself whether you want to deal with it but it certainly wouldn't compare to the lyrics of a typical rap song or other adult media where sexism is sometimes quite harsh. Two, for those with young children, you may want to think twice before sharing this book. The Xanth series has a reputation for being kid-friendly and I'm not sure I would want a nine year old to hear all of the language and attitude toward women in this book.

Other than the trashing of womankind, this isn't a bad book. I had read the first dozen or so Xanth books many years ago and just recently decided to re-read the first two. I'll probably stop here as Bink was by far my favorite character and all subsequent books focus on his children and subsequent generations while also flogging puns on virtually every page until they are no longer even mildly amusing. If you haven't read any Xanth novels before, I would recommend A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth, Book 1) first as it introduces Bink and the world of Xanth. If you like it (and don't mind some woman-hating) then give this one a try.