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On a Pale Horse (Incarnations of…
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On a Pale Horse (Incarnations of Immortality, Bk. 1) (edition 1986)

by Piers Anthony (Author)

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4,738861,981 (3.84)87
Zane belongs to a world in which the scientific revolution has been followed by the revolution of magic, and he is thrust into the role of Death.
Member:ratastrophe
Title:On a Pale Horse (Incarnations of Immortality, Bk. 1)
Authors:Piers Anthony (Author)
Info:Del Rey (1986), Edition: Incarnations of Immortality, Bk. 1, 336 pages
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On a pale horse by Piers Anthony

  1. 30
    Mort by Terry Pratchett (ijustgetbored)
    ijustgetbored: Similar theme (Death takes on an apprentice): very funny, and not a bad place to enter Pratchett's Discworld series, if you've never encountered it before.
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Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
A bit dated and the world building though interesting didn't grab me. ( )
  brakketh | Sep 17, 2022 |
This is one of a recent collection of books that I read when I was in middle school and have suddenly wanted to return to in a bout of nostalgia. My best friend at the time had read and connected me to this book, and I don't think I finished reading it at the time (it was a bit over my head). I was vaguely familiar with the first two books in the series as a result, and I have to say that this was remarkably less impressive upon reading it as an educated adult.

This is disappointing because, as fantasy (I think this might be classified as urban fantasy?) goes, this is a fascinating premise that I really wanted to like. Mortal beings inhabiting the offices of Death, Time, Fate, etc. and bringing their own struggles to the execution of their duties just sounds like something that a science-fiction lover would want to read. And, while Anthony does some really interesting world-building with the mix of technology and magic, and the tools that each being uses to execute their duties, the book digresses almost immediately into a philosophical and theological quagmire from which it never manages to return.

I see what Anthony is trying to do here. What if death is seen as a natural part of living rather than something to be feared? What happens after we die? These are deep questions that would normally make for a fascinating novel. What Anthony actually accomplishes, though, is merely landing in a post-modern stance of "whatever you want it to be" while reducing his setting to a heretical theological dualism that mostly just left me glad every time I had set the book down.

Overall, this book sounds like a really interesting concept (especially if you're a teen) but just doesn't deliver on any level. A profoundly disappointing read that I would not recommend to anyone. ( )
  David_Brown | Aug 15, 2022 |
It would have been 4 stars, but a throaway line bothered me so much that it diminished my enjoyment of the book. So first, I want to complain about that because it's something that bothered me a lot. TW sa: When Death has to collect another balanced soul, it's a 10yo kid's. Turns out it was grey because he had been a victim of sexual assault by their carer. However, as it complains and very much agrees that women abused by older men are victims and at no fault for the crime comitted, HE SAYS BOYS WANT IT AND THEY CAN'T HELP THEIR NATURES. EXCUSE ME??? THIS VERY BOOK SAYS THE BOY IS UNDER THE ADULT'S INFLUENCE AND DOESN'T HAVE THE TOOLS TO GET AWAY FROM IT. THAT'S BECAUSE HE'S A VICTIM AND THE WOMAN IS TAKING ADVANTAGE AND ABUSING HIM FFS..
My complaint done, I liked and enjoyed the book overall. Zane's experience as Death's and growth into a good person was great. The way his relationships are written is very sweet, I loved the romance, any romance that isn't insta love and actually grows with the characters is a favorite in my book.
Death is a very delicate subject, but I think the author manages to present in a very compassionate way. The whole incarnations system is very well handled too. I think this is the very first book I read where Mars is not considered an evil character, or at least a brute. I appreciate that.
My favorite real life reference is Molly Malone. In school we used to sing Molly Malone's song almost everyday. Her character here was awesome.
I can't finish my review without mentioning the best character in the whole book: Mortis. I want a horse like him, he's great. ( )
  Nannus | Jan 17, 2022 |
I have always enjoyed Piers Anthony's books but I had never read this series. As a whole I quite enjoyed this series of books. I found the characters and story to be clever and interesting. It sort of reminded me of a more adult version of a Rick Riordan series of books. ( )
  KateKat11 | Sep 24, 2021 |
Shooting Death was a mistake, as Zane soon discovered. For the man who killed the Incarnation of Death was immediately forced to assume the vacant position! Thereafter, he must speed over the world, riding his pale horse, and ending the lives of others.

Zane was forced to accept his unwelcome task, despite the rules that seemed woefully unfair. But then he found himself being drawn into an evil plot of Satan. Already the prince of Evil was forging a trap in which Zane must act to destroy Luna, the woman he loved.

He could see only one possible way to defeat the Father of Lies. It was unthinkable—but he had no other solution!
  Gmomaj | Jul 25, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony, Piersprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Campiti, DavidAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Crisp, StevenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Death," the proprietor said clearly, showing the stone.
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Zane belongs to a world in which the scientific revolution has been followed by the revolution of magic, and he is thrust into the role of Death.

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The Man Who Murdered Death

Shooting Death was a mistake, as Zane soon discovered.
For the man who killed the Incarnation of Death was immediately forced to assume the vacant position!
Thereafter, he must speed over the world, riding his pale horse, and ending the lives of others.

Zane was forced to accept his unwelcome task, despite the rules that seemed woefully unfair. But then he found himself being drawn into an evil plot of Satan. Already the Prince of Evil was forging a trap in which Zane must act to destroy Luna, the woman he loved.

He could see only one possible way to defeat the Father of LIes. It was unthinkable - but he had no other solution!
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Average: (3.84)
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