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A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – March 12, 1987

352 customer reviews
Book 1 of 35 in the Xanth Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Xanth was the enchanted land where magic ruled--where every citizen had a special spell only he could cast. That is, except for Bink of North Village. He was sure he possessed no magic, and knew that if he didn't find some soon, he would be exiled. According to the Good Magician Humpfrey, the charts said that Bink was as powerful as the King or even the Evil Magician Trent. Unfortunately, no one could determine its form. Meanwhile, Bink was in despair. If he didn't find his magic soon, he would be forced to leave....

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (March 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345347536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345347534
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (352 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Piers Anthony is one of the world's most popular fantasy authors, and a New York Times bestseller twenty-one times over. His Xanth novels have been read and loved by millions of readers around the world, and he daily receives hundreds of letters from his devoted fans.In addition to the Xanth series, Anthony is the author of many other best-selling works. Piers Anthony lives in Inverness, Florida.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 101 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read all 22 Xanth novels. Six of them really stand out as good stories: Good, moral, heroic main characters, cool talents and magical abilities, good storyline. They get pretty serious, and it almost seems that Piers is trying to teach young readers through the good, moral, honorable, heroic characters, how to act in real life. But most of them get so congested with puns that there's really nothing going on, and it just gets corny. The six good ones are A Spell for Chameleon#1 Castle Roogna#3 Ogre, Ogre#5 Crewel Lye: A Caustic Yarn#8 Heaven Cent#11 and Question Quest#14. Faun & Games#21 had an OK character named Atilla the Pun. The puns get on my nerves. I like puns, I just don't like Piers Anthony's puns. When he started this series he wrote for young men. Now he writes for troublesome adolescents, it seems. He can't go a book without mentioning breasts and panties. Yes, there is a romance in virtually every Xanth book, but still, the sexual inuendos don't fit; they're out of context. I guess Piers just ran out of cool magic talents for his characters. Because let's face it: that's what made the series. When it had magicians with interesting talents that one could base an entire story on the ramifications of them, it was a good series. It isn't anymore. Read the first 14 and then stop.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Ramos VINE VOICE on June 27, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is not only the first of many pun filled books, but the best of the series. The others are fun filled and contain some very good writting. But this book has a well developed plot that is worth reading. Be careful though, for the series seems never ending.
Xanth is a marvellous place to visit, espically if you are familiar with Florida. Everybody has a magical talent of lesser or greater degree, but our hero seems to lack one, and heads for exile and adventure.
It is worth your time to pick up this book and follow our heros' adventure.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Nash on February 11, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I passed by these books everytime I went to the book store. I didn't think I would enjoy these novels, they looked too childish. I finally ran out of other fiction to read, so I picked the first book up in a used book store. Boy was I surprised. I enjoyed it so much I decided to buy the whole series. This series definitely has a quirky side to it. However it is a very enjoyable fantasy series. Full of excellent imagery, characters and storylines. Mr. Anthony is constantly coming up with interesting new stories for this series. The puns don't destroy the fantasy element. They add an enjoyable sidenote. These novels took me through a variety of emotions (most of which either had me chuckling or laughing outloud). "Question Quest" (book #14) is the last book in the series that I have read so far. I definitely plan on reading the rest though.
I have read more than 450 fantasy novels in the past 15+ years, so I am always trying to find something a little new and entertaining. Xanth definitely fills this requirement. I highly recommend these novels for a quick light read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. Skeen on December 2, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the greatest books for people to read in the fantasy genre. I first read this book when I was 13 years old. At first it took me a while to get through it, I couldn't understand why. I finally sat down one day and forced myself to start reading it and I have been thankful for that everyday since.
This book sends you deep into the wonderfully created world of Xanth, a seemingly alternate fantasy universe of Florida strangely enough. The characters in the book are all extreamly colorful and delightful. The main character, Bink, is the classic bumbling hero treading through life trying to find a magic talent before he is kicked out of Xanth forever and sent into the dreaded Mundania. He faces many trials by magic and pure thought and somehow is able to escape most situations without even a scratch, strangely enough..
If you like a story with fun situations and exciting adventures, then this is for you. If you like puns and humor, then this is for you. If you like fantasy, then this is for you. Grumps, people searching for the worst in everything and those without imagination need not apply for this is the wrong book for you. Enjoy a classic at its finest.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dai-keag-ity on September 10, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is the opening novel in a series that once kept my teenaged mind occupied for a trying couple of weeks when I really needed that. It's a good kind of tale for distancing yourself from reality. It's never heavy and never silly. What it lacks in depth (a la Lord of the Rings) it makes up for in imaginative charm.

This is a fantasy genre book, as in magic and spells and Medieval-ish setting and all that. Xanth is a Florida-shaped land in another dimension wherein everyone has a magic "talent". Some people have minor talents, others have talents so major they rate as a wizard or a sourceress. Some talents are technically useless, others can kill. The law of magic-based Xanth also states that anyone who does not eventually demonstrate that they possess some form of magic talent, is to be exiled forever from the borders of this magic realm, into a frighteningly awful place called "Mundania" (aka our world).

The main character, Bink, is nearing the age of exile and in all his life he's never shown any inkling of owning claim to a magical ability of any sort. Fearing exile, which in many cases in a world full of dragons, bloodthirsty tangle trees and goblins, is as good as a death sentence, Bink makes a pilgrimage to the castle of a venerable wizard famed for his talent of providing an answer to any question asked of him. The catch is that in return for the answer, the person visiting the wizard must provide one year of unpaid slave labor. Bink consults with the wizard and is told that while he certainly does possess a talent--and apparently a mighty one--the wizard cannot fathom what that talent is.
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