Tuesday, August 14, 2012

PBR: Ogre, Ogre (Piers Anthony, 1982)

Despite being an admirer of Piers Anthony, I have read remarkably little of his work, and previously only the initial book set in the world of Xanth, A Spell for Chameleon (1977). I felt it was time to reintroduce myself with the book that stood out most from my youth, Ogre, Ogre.

Now, this is the fifth book in the Xanth series, but it is hardly necessary to read the previous books to follow this story. Our hero, Smash, is introduced in earlier books, but this appears to be his first starring role. In the story he begins traveling to meet the Good Magician Humfrey (one of Xanth's ubiquitous characters) to find out why he is displeased with his life. Humfrey can answer any question, the problem is, Smash does not know what to ask. It seems possible though that Humfrey can even answer unasked questions. He demands a year's service for his help, but instead has Smash escort a young woman, Tandy, to find the answer to her question. Their quest takes them across the world of Xanth and into the netherworld of the Hyno-Gourd.

Like many of Piers Anthony's works this one covers a bit more than standard fantasy. This is a story about being comfortable with who you are and accepting what makes you different. It is also a romantic story, with a fairly obvious to the reader attraction to Smash by Tandy. It does not get overly complicated, but is not a book that fills you with sword fights and magic missiles. There are questions of morality and ethics raised, as well as questions of self-worth. The framework is very much a standard fairy-tale hero's journey. Well worth checking out. Thus far it is perhaps my favorite of Piers Anthony's works.

6 comments:

Nausicaa said...

I ♥ Piers Anthony.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I just finished it today. Sadly, his Kindle books are as much as the paperbacks (at least the old Bantam stuff, his newer stuff is rather inexpensive). I think I will read Vale of the Vole next.

Nathan said...

I found most of the Xanth books either at libraries or on eBay or half.com. Smash appeared in both the third and fourth Xanth books, but was mostly a supporting character.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I am such a lousy library patron. I may have to check though. I tend to really rack up the late fees.

T. Roger Thomas said...

Five is a lot of books to write in a series

Nathan said...

Maybe, but that series now has upwards of thirty books.

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