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Well-Tempered Clavicle (Xanth) Hardcover – November 22, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews
Book 35 of 35 in the Xanth Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This being Xanth, the adventurers find absurdities, danger, and romance but also find themselves unwittingly involved in extremely complex intrigue. Classic Xanthromancy."
--Booklist on Air Apparent

"Naturally, the quest is successful--Anthony does not trade in tragedy in his best-known series--and what is more, along the way Clio finds true love with the magician Sherlock and meets a good many of the ongoing characters in the Xanth series. …The puns for which the Xanthian corpus is famous are as numerous and outrageous as ever."
--Booklist on Currant Events

"Certain to please fans.”
--Publishers Weekly on Up in a Heaval

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. In addition to his bestselling Xanth books, Anthony is the author of a series of historical fantasies called The Geodyssey, that makes the broad sweep of human history into very personal stories. Piers Anthony has a devoted fan following, and he daily receives hundreds of letters and emails from them. Piers Anthony lives in Inverness, Florida.
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Product Details

  • Series: Xanth (Book 35)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765331349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765331342
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,281,618 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book grew on me. I wasn't impressed at first, but as the story developed, I was hooked and couldn't stop reading. For the first time in this series, I actually cared about Dawn and Eve, whom I had intensely disliked before. Their situations made them sympathetic: Eve's life in Hades is lonely and empty, while Dawn longs for the kind of relationship she thinks her sister has. Perhaps it's irony that after all of their shameless flirtations, they are now unhappy. Dawn can be a bit imperious and insists on seducing another character in spite of his protests, but also demonstrates an admirable willingness to do what is best for Xanth no matter the personal cost.

The protagonists make enemies, contend with them, flee them, and desperately try to figure out how to prevail. The use of music as both magic and weapon was a marvelous idea and made for a different kind of battle between the two sides. The final contest kept us wondering exactly how everything would turn out. Yes, there were too many puns, but there was real humor, too, such as Chameleon's being split into Wynne and Fanchon. Guess what? They don't like each other. People fall in love and in bed, or in bed and then in love, at the drop of a hat, including Dawn. There is no developing romance with her, no gradual build-up of affection, just the sudden announcement of her crush and prompt seduction of her target. Sexuality reaches a new level of explicitness as the author describes penetration and ejaculation.

In spite of how much I liked this book, I won't continue to read new Xanth novels. The author is taking the series in a direction I don't want to follow. I fell in love with Xanth in the early days of the series when the emphasis was still on magic, fun, and adventure.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished this book and while I enjoyed it (as I did the prior books in the series) I found that the poor copy editing was jarring. There are numerous times when the wrong character names were used in the action. While it is obvious which character was intended, it is a sign of the lack of a good review of the text on the part of the publisher. Someone is supposed to just read the book looking for these types of errors and this has obviously not been done. While I can overlook cases where a current book has continuity errors with events that occurred in prior books (something that has occurred in some of the books) it is a different matter when you have these types of glaring errors that can be caught by just reading the book.
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By A Customer on November 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In Xanth, Picka Bones lives a rather mundane life. His daily highlight is playing tunes on his ribs and exploring cemeteries with his sister Joy'nt.

The two skeletons meet three former pets (Tweeter the bird, Midrange the cat, and Woofer the dog) who recently crossed over from Mundania. The outside trio challenges the bony siblings to discover their magic. Thus the quintet agrees to find and ask Princesses Dawn and Eve. They soon learn Eve is visiting someone (or thing) in Hades while Dawn needs a prince charming (with a bit more substance). Eve joins the traveling ménage who visit the good magician Humphrey. He suggests they visit the very dangerous Caprice Castle guarded by Attila the Pun and the home of Pundora's Box.

This is an entertaining Xanth fantasy filled with the usual inane but fun puns. The zany story line is similar in theme to previous entries yet contains its own wild adventures. Xanthophyll fans will appreciate this amusing entry as once again the punster prince Piers Anthony provides an amusing action adventure, Xanth style.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As usual, this book was delightful and fun. I kept wondering how the "villain" would meet his demise or even if he should considering the beautiful music he made, so part of the time I was rooting for him. As expected, Mr. Anthony came up with the perfect solution so that he didn't have to die, could still make his music and still be punished for his prior evil ways. I never cease to be amazed at the numbers of puns that are so much fun in the Xanth books. I love Piers Anthony.
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Format: Hardcover
Piers Anthony has cranked out more than 30 Xanth novels, and it shows. "Well-Tempered Clavicle" is poorly written; the characters are shallow, the puns are labored and the exposition is painful. It all adds up to a novel that is uncomfortable and slightly distasteful. Even if you're a fan of his earlier work, this one might be best left unread.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been a fan of Piers Anthony for many years, in particular liking his early Xanth novels and the original Adept series. However, when I cracked open Well-Tempered Clavicle, I was intensely disappointed. I can't imagine this book being published if the author were not already so well-established. I didn't even make it through the first page before saying to myself, "If this showed up in an editor's slush pile, it would be rejected immediately."

The writing, especially at the beginning, is amateur. The dialog does not read well, and character development is shallow at best. Add to that the incredibly awkward placement of puns, and at points the book was almost painful to read. I understand that Xanth is full of puns, and have no problem with that, but the puns in Clavicle were very poorly integrated. At many points throughout the story, the storyline stopped for a few pages just to introduce strained puns (which vanished just as quickly). Even worse, the author felt it necessary to explain the puns. If a pun needs to be explained (and most of them were so blatant that they did not), they are not worth using. Several characters were thrown in too, just so loyal readers who had submitted the puns could see their name in print, only to walk out again a page later.

Even with all this, I would be more forgiving if the book told a good story. It didn't. The plot was very simple throughout much of the book with almost no surprises or real suspense, veering only to deal with walk-on puns and characters. The only subplots that appeared were resolved within the same chapter, usually by the introduction of more walk-on puns and characters. The storyline did improve in the final third of the book, but by then it was far too late.
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