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


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (309 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,888 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

If you like puns and humor, then this is for you.
B. Skeen
Rereading some books I read years ago and decided on reading the Xanth series again.
Billy Cahill
Like the entire Xanth series, it's a fun story with fun characters in a fun world.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 89 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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14 of 15 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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13 of 15 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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4 of 4 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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159 of 220 people found the following review helpful By James Seidler on October 24, 2007
Format: Unbound
I recently stumbled across a free pile of paperbacks from Piers Anthony's Xanth series. Being the optimist that I am ("Sure, I have space for fourteen books as well as time to read them"), I gathered them in my arms and took them home with me. I'd read most of them before, when I was in middle school, and I had fond, if hokey, memories.

Xanth is a land of magic where every person has one unique talent, ranging from the useful--converting lead into gold--to the less than--creating the odor of soured milk. Magical creatures are inspired by shameless puns, such as night mares, horses that deliver bad dreams, and nickelpedes, dimepedes and quarterpedes that dwarf the centipedes we're familiar with. A sort of lazy quest is at the heart of each book, serving mostly as an excuse for meeting interesting people and prompting silly jokes. In short, they Xanth novels are nice, mindless reading, and I was looking forward to indulging.

Re-reading the first three chapters of the initial book, A Spell for Chameleon, it became clear that all was not as I'd remembered. Sure, the writing was a bit labored, with clunky phrasing and overdone narration, but that was to be expected. Thirteen-year-old me had more pressing concerns than literary naturalism.

What really surprised me about the book was how casually misogynistic it was. Each of Anthony's female characters is ogled as she's introduced. Sabrina, the narrator Bink's girlfriend, is presented with, "Bink looked at the girl beside him as she stepped through a slanting sunbeam. He was no plant, but he too had needs, and even the most casual inspection of her made him aware of this."

Later, a female centaur--a women's torso on a horse's body!--is objectified after rescuing the narrator.
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