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A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth Novels…

A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth Novels (Paperback)) (1977)

by Piers Anthony, Michael Whelan (Cover artist)

Series: Xanth (1)

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3,900731,317 (3.73)73
Title:A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth Novels (Paperback))
Authors:Piers Anthony
Other authors:Michael Whelan (Cover artist)
Info:Del Rey (1987), Edition: Reissue, Paperback
Collections:Your library

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A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony (1977)


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I really wish that I loved this book as much as I loved it in middle school. I guess science fiction/fantasy really is not my favorite type of book. I found that I was bored quite a lot with this book.

I have realized that I struggle with books when they are logical. I like my emotional books. The logical nature of this novel seemed dull to me. I did like the plot line, I just did not enjoy the writing style.

All in all, this book kept me entertained. It is a good mix between science fiction and fantasy, however, it falls too much to the science fiction side that I had a hard time enjoying the novel. ( )
  KristyJewel | Mar 21, 2018 |
Funny, punny fun. Another book (series) I hope my children will enjoy. While I have not read the entire Xanth collection, those I have read were enjoyable. I can't read Xanth novels back-to-back anymore, I have to intersperse them with less pun-driven stories. ( )
  SMBrick | Feb 25, 2018 |
I read, and remember liking, this back when it came out. While Anthony is an anachronism today, he was one even when this was published in 1977. His sexism is pervasive - integral to the story? no; seems he just like being perverse. Some is couched: on page 53 of the paperback, he has a farmer laughing about the main character accidentally groping a female centaur and then he says that farmers had "an earthy sense of humor". "Earthy"? "Lecherous" or "vulgar" is correct in the context he created. Constant references to females growing "shrewish", or losing their looks...

And some is not couched. Only 3 pages after the "earthy" commentary, he describes a date rape surrogate trial (to protect innocent parties) with the outcome that would make a good ol' boy, or a billionaire golf course owner, smirk. And two pages after that, a bit character, talking to the main character about an attractive female participant in the acted out trial: "Better have Wynne show you." "Wynne?" "Your opposite. The one you almost raped." [Note, the main character was conscripted to play a role, and the outcome, as noted, was in the favor of the male players...] "Not that I blame you."

Yes, he went there. And that is a theme/attitude common throughout the first third of this book. Do we dismiss Anthony's deplorable references for culturally relative reasons, or do we hold him accountable? I regret introducing Xanth to my third son, who read nearly all of the series (I stopped after four - and the fourth was pushing it too far.) As a teen, I seemed to have been largely oblivious to Anthony's sexism, but it bothered me as an adult when I read some of his other series.

Now...there's actually a decent story in here, despite Anthony. [Yes, I know...because of Anthony]. I will probably reread the other two of this trilogy to see if Anthony's style - intriguing first novel of a trilogy, weak filler middle novel, sometimes okay conclusion - fits my memory. Now, I know that this particular series went beyond three...he's still writing these things... It's almost as if he's in competition with himself to see how many inane stretches of wordplay he can work into every page. And they often get in the way of a potentially good story. ( )
  Razinha | Jan 21, 2018 |
I read Zombie Lover (Xanth #22) and liked it so much that I decided to go back and read the whole Xanth series! I made it about a quarter of the way into this book before throwing it out in disgust. Ugh. ( )
  ElleyOtter | Nov 28, 2017 |
First, the good. I actually did enjoy the general fantasy adventure plot; it was kind of a fun classic wander-and-meet-creatures sort of book. However, let me share a few choice quotes from the narration.

"So the soldier rejected all women because felt they rejected him. Well, it was a good enough rationale."

"Bink saw with relief that it was not Sabrina, but a marvelously ugly female he had never seen before. Her hair was wild, her teeth gnarled, her body sexually shapeless."

"It figured. She had said he wouldn't believe her reasons, and he had believed the first one, so she wouldn't tell him the other. Typically female logic."

"A pretty girl could express shock and distress if someone saw her bare torso, but privately she would be pleased if the reaction were favorable."

"Chameleon, like most girls, had to answer calls of nature frequently, particularly when she was excited."

And of course, the main character's quote towards the end:
"I like beautiful girls," he said. "And I like smart girls. But I don't trust the combination."

If it were typical misogyny in which the male characters all have to rescue the females, I would roll my eyes and move on. But this ongoing attitude towards women, the countless description of magical creatures' breasts, the bizarrely placed rape trial (in which it's decided that if she didn't want it, she would have run away, so the case is thrown out), and the ending paragraph made me literally throw the book across the room. ( )
  Alliebadger | May 30, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Piers Anthonyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A small lizard perched on a brown stone. Feeling threatened by the approach of human beings along the path, it metamorphosed into a stingray beetle, then into a stench-puffer, then into a fiery salamander.
Eine kleine Eidechse, die auf einem braunen Stein hockte.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345347536, Mass Market Paperback)

Though already developing a successful career in SF with such heady novels as Chthon and Omnivore, Piers Anthony did not reach brand-name status until he cooked up some fantasy in 1977. And it was cheerful, humorous fantasy at that, as in his first Xanth series novel, A Spell for Chameleon. The book's young hero, Bink, is without magical powers in a world ruled entirely by magic. Worse still, if he doesn't discover his own magical talent soon, he will be forever banished from his homeland. Naturally, it takes an epic quest for Bink to learn what his unique talent truly is--and perhaps to win the girl of his dreams as well. A Spell for Chameleon was the very first of Anthony's bestselling (and still ongoing) humorous fantasy series. Noteworthy for their outrageous word puns and bizarre characters, the Xanth books are a light yet often satisfying brew, especially when compared with the author's sometimes nihilistic and ultraviolent hard SF. --Stanley Wiater

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:57 -0400)

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At age 25 Bink was exiled from the magic land of Xanth because he had no magic spell that was observable to his people. But both the good genie and the magic wall chart insisted that he did. How could he prove he had magic?

(summary from another edition)

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