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Board Stiff by Piers Anthony

Board Stiff

by Piers Anthony

Series: Xanth (38)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I'm not sure exactly how to review this book, except to spell out the good and the bad like I usually do.

I want to say I'm biased; I love Piers Anthony & I love the Xanth books, but unfortunately, that's not really true, either. I USED to love Anthony & I LOVED the books as a kid; still love the earlier ones - I even reread them ever so often.

But seriously - Anthony's a dirty old man - 78.

In one way, the books are clean, though they aren't as clean as his earlier books. He doesn't spell out adult scenes or use adult language, instead writing "bleep" or "bleeping". It's amazing, however, how often his characters lose their clothing, show their underclothes, refer to sex, or otherwise get involved in adult situations. Perhaps it's just me, but I don't remember his characters in earlier Xanth novels actually engaging in adult behavior, just casual mentions of "summoning the stork". Board Stiff is very different.

Regular Xanth readers will want to know about the puns. Once again, I have to say, I enjoyed how he used puns in his earlier books, but after the first dozen or so, he seems to just try to cram as many puns as possible into a given book, without trying to have them actually make sense.

Most of them in this book aren't that bad, and I don't think there's as many puns as some books, but a lot of them just don't really fit into the story. There's a particularly bad one involving women who miscarry that's just horrifying - to me, there's just certain things you don't make fun of, and certain miscarriages is one of those topics. It's just crass, especially when it was just so random. There's several other puns that are equally as bad.

But what about the story line and the plot? In a way, this book has a better plot than some of the other books, but most of the adventures are triggered by a sequin falling off of a dress - as in, a sequence of events (I hear a groan). It was funny the first few times, but Anthony repeatedly uses this plot device in every chapter, to get the characters to the next part of the story.

My other big pet peeve was EVERY new character the "quest" group met up with, had to be reintroduced to the group and to their mission. I'm not a writer & don't pretend to be, but you're telling me Anthony couldn't figure out another way? He couldn't have just written, just once, "And Ease caught so and so up on their adventures so far"?

My last complaint is typical - you know how the book is going to end, and it ends exactly that way, and all in the 2 pages.

So what's my rating? Well... after all of my complaint, I still enjoyed reading Board Stiff. It's a fun, Xanth romp after all, and that's what it's meant to be, a fun, fast, don't take things too seriously and just enjoy it kind of book. You are supposed to read a Xanth book & groan throughout it, but if it makes you forget about life for a little while, then the book is doing its job. I'll continue to read Xanth books, maybe not every one, but every one I happen to come across by random chance, and I'll continue to appreciate the books for what they are.

I received a review copy of this book from Edelweiss/the publisher. ( )
  anastaciaknits | Oct 29, 2016 |
*E-ARC provided through Edelweiss/Above the Treeline in exchange for an honest review*

Irrelevant Kandy is tired of having men look at her as just a... well, her name says it all, no? So she goes to a wishing well looking for love and adventure, but she accidentally tells the well she's "board stiff" and the well - thinking literally - turns her into a board. Then another wisher, Ease, comes along and picks her up. They travel to the Good Magician Humfrey for an Answer, are joined by a basilisk in human form who wears a dress with Sequins of Events (if a sequin falls off, her dress goes transparent and they have to put the sequin back on, causing them to jump into an Event).

If you've never read Piers Anthony's Xanth books, basically this is the 38th in a series that's all about puns and sex. I mostly read them when I was a teenager and much of the innuendo went over my head (appropriately enough, since there's an Adult Conspiracy in Xanth and you have to be old enough to know how to summon the stork). This latest entry is extremely episodic - a sequence of events, you see - and hard to describe without spoilers. Either it was heavier on puns and lighter on plot than other books I've read in the series, or my sense of humor has just changed a lot in the intervening years (both probable), but I found myself - ahem - bored stiff reading much of it. ( )
  bell7 | Jan 7, 2016 |
The old curmudgeon has done it again!(Said with the greatest of love and affection of course.) For those of you who love the punny land of Xanth, you'll be delighted with this installment. And for those of you who have not visited Xanth, there is no need to go back in installments, I think you can get along just fine starting here. Piers Anthony continues to amaze me, and his imagination knows no bounds! ( )
  Vinbert | Nov 22, 2015 |
The old curmudgeon has done it again!(Said with the greatest of love and affection of course.) For those of you who love the punny land of Xanth, you'll be delighted with this installment. And for those of you who have not visited Xanth, there is no need to go back in installments, I think you can get along just fine starting here. Piers Anthony continues to amaze me, and his imagination knows no bounds! ( )
  Vinbert | Nov 22, 2015 |
As one of my friends aptly pointed out (talking about Xanth after the first few books), Piers Anthony definitely gives off a bit of a “creepy uncle” vibe. Nearly everything relates to sex somehow. In a romance novel with steamy adult sex scenes, I might see the appeal. In this book, it was more of a juvenile snickering at sex. Some people might find it funny, but it just didn’t work for me. I also discovered that I don’t find puns especially funny. Occasionally, they made me laugh. More often than not, it took me a minute to get them and when I did, I didn’t feel like it was worth the effort. It just pulled me out of the story.

Fortunately, even though Anthony’s writing style wasn’t my favorite, I did generally enjoy the story. The characters end up in new and exciting places every chapter. I was constantly surprised by the creativity of the world building. There were also a few instances where Anthony’s humor did work for me. Any book that uses humor to convey an anti-censorship and pro-Unix message is alright by me! In fact, the story would have completely overcome my reservations about the writing were it not for one thing. Everything was too easy. The characters occasionally have to be clever to solve a problem, but for the most part, the way their quests works is by serendipity. They happen to end up in the right places with the right tools to make each challenge pretty simple. Insta-love is also apparently part of how Xanth works. So, while I would recommend giving this series a try to see if Anthony’s sense of humor happens to match your own, I’m not sure I’ll be going out of my way to read the previous 37 books in the series.

This review first published on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Jun 29, 2014 |
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The breathtakingly beautiful Irrelevant Candy makes a wish into a magical well and is instantly transformed into a flat, wooden board with two knotholes for eyes.

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