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Under a Velvet Cloak (Incarnations of Immortality, Book 8) Paperback – December 5, 2007
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I think the main problem is there is no one left to tell Anthony "No". The story line was 500 AD... I don't think they had a sex-offender hot-line back then. I'm more concerned with the over-sexing of the most recent Xanth novels, because they *are* read by children. I was less bothered by too much sex as not enough of other things. Like polished dialogs, gripping plot lines, and fuller back-story.
Erebus was a cardboard stick figure, no character development at all. Ditto for Morgana La Fey. Actually, Gordon, the pedophile, had more character than either of them. The end plot was incredibly rushed.
Overall, I considered it worth the read, but, yes... Anthony of 20 years ago could write far better. I think if he was willing to try, he probably still could.
Yes, this book has quite a bit of sex. However, in my opinion, the sex was both pedestrian and very `Adam oriented'.
In the first instance most of the activity was as interesting as reading about rabbits humping ... it was neither erotic nor, even, simple porn. It was not informative to the story, either. For once I found sex in a writing that was entirely gratuitous.
The second was more problematic to the subject of the book and the concept of the Incarnation. The heroine was not frightening to the aroused males in any way. She merely exchanged sex for service or gain most of the time even when she became a vampire female who enjoyed sex the same way males do.
Sadly it read like an average male fantasy ... simple, uncomplicated, easy to obtain sex from multiple partners who all look like teenage girls. There was not even one randy teenage male in the mix either ... for the ladies, I mean.
Sorry, that would not be the Incarnation of Nox.
Nox is the frightening female, but not the angry one like all the Lilith wanna-bes in the book. Nox is the one who will absorb you with her feminine sexuality, complicate your life with her enigmatic designs and, still, leave you gasping for more ... Nox is the female males dream about, yet never want to really meet ...
The book was, also, very irritating all too often. I almost put it aside a few times. The worst passage was when Nox gave a copy of all the human secrets to the Incarnation of Good side. I was shocked ! What was she doing giving away her main source of influence ? Why the H... did Good need to be more efficient in sorting out souls anyway ? This passage did much harm to the overall Incarnation story.
The Night is not an adjunct to the Day. It stands on its own with no apology and this book did not express that at all. The contempt Erebus expressed for the female side of life was totally overblown ... and the rants of an idiot. Yang does not hold contempt for Yin. They are complements ... yes, sometimes rivals ... but they know they can not exist without the other. Better he would have been the Incarnation of Destruction with Nox being Creation. That would have made the story more coherent.
Like the two faces of the Zoroastrian deity (which would have added a new learning to the readership), the necessary battle between the two could have been explored.
This work fell far short of its mark as the author said it would years ago.