When Zane hits an all-time low in his life, he decided to end it. When Death walked through his apartment door, the sight of him startles Zane and he shoots death instead. The second death’s body hits the floor, Fate walks in, informing Zane of his new occupation, Death. The man who murders Death, becomes him.
Zane finds himself suddenly claiming the souls of those who passed away with a nearly equal slate, to determine whether they go to heaven or hell. But when Zane questions the rules, things become strained. It isn’t until Zane discovers Satan cheating that things become downright ugly. What will Zane do when the woman he loves is targeted by the Devil himself?
I found this book to be unique. I am literally in-between whether or not I like this novel.
The character of Zane is vague with contradicting morals and ideologies. He is a good man and cares about the souls that he has to collect, but at the same time, he exhibits degrading opinions in some of the people he encounters.
Personally, I did not appreciate the way the author wrote about the female characters in this story. Every female encountered was graded upon her beauty and sexual appeal to the character of Zane. That aside, the female characters, most of them at least, were written as all too ready to offer themselves, bodily, up to Zane, for one reason or another. Even a female ghost who offered her body to Zane for his courageous conduct in the face of danger.
I do understand that the main character, Zane, is in fact a male. Therefore, when seeing it from his point of view, it would make sense for him to notice a female’s beauty before knowing her personality. However, I felt that the author over did this in the extreme, especially when having every female degrade themselves by selling their bodies to every man who comes along, or does the right and respectable thing.
I did find the idea of Death, as well as Fate, Mother Nature, Father Time, and War to be interesting occupations. Not to mention the way the author depicted them as an entire lifestyle. I did not like Mother Nature’s portrayal, nor that of Mars (War), overtly much, but the concept itself intrigued me.
I have debated how many stars I felt this novel deserved and I have decided to give this novel two and a half out of five stars, which explains why I previously stated that I was on the fence.
I received my copy of this novel as a gift and have been granted permission to use an image of the cover artwork above.
Bink of North Village has a problem, he has no magic. In the land of Xanth, magic is everywhere and every citizen has his own special magical talent. If you cannot display your magic by your 25th birthday, you will be exiled. With his twenty-fifth birthday fast approaching, Bink decides to visit the Good Magician Humfrey, whose magic is that of divination, to find out once and for all whether or not he has magic, even at the price of a year of servitude to the Good Magician.
Humfrey believes Bink has magic, very strong magic, but he cannot determine what his talent is. If Bink cannot display his magic, he will be exiled.
Surprisingly, until this novel, I had never read a Piers Anthony novel. For my first, this was a very interesting read.
The writing is different from some of the more modern fantasy novels I have been reading. The vocabulary is appropriate without being too difficult or archaic. The tone is surprisingly upbeat, despite Bink’s probable exile.
The creatures in this novel are interesting and unique. Some of them are common enough in modern fantasy. We encounter dragons, centaurs, and a kraken. At the same time, there is an abundance of unique creatures and plant life, mainly plant life that I have never encountered before.
I enjoyed this adventure with Bink. Bink is a very complex character with a strong personality. He is also well-developed, brave and honorable. I enjoyed the fact that Bink was always thinking, questioning, and theorizing. His intelligence is obvious in the way that he contemplates the world around him and the people with whom he comes into contact.
The story line is composed of a lot of traveling across the land of Xanth, encountering many magical obstacles and challenges. The adventure and action is comprised of these obstacles and the people and places that Bink encounters.
I enjoyed this novel. The characters and creatures were fascinating as well as the land of Xanth itself, though I found it interesting that Xanth is shaped like Florida.
I would recommend this novel to fantasy fans with a strong imagination. I plan to read further in this series.
This book, this series, was recommended to me by my Uncle and I have received permission from the publishers at Del Rey to use the cover artwork image featured above.
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