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Under a Velvet Cloak (Incarnations of Immortality, Book 8) Paperback – December 5, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
And I was wrong. So, so, so wrong.
"Under a Velvet Cloak" is shockingly bad, and so wildly out of writing-character for the guy that I truly have a hard time believing he wrote it. I'll allow for the fact that in an extended series, which has been in progress for decades, there's going to be some inconsistency in the writing and the quality of the work. And that's fine- that's to be expected really. But #8? The characters and plot are hasty throw-togethers. The overarching story is devoid of the themes which tied the previous novels together. The entirety of the novel(la) feels as though it were written by Stephanie Meyers, having been told "Do what you've always done, make tons of spelling and grammar mistakes, write it so a 2nd grader doesn't feel challenged but make every single character have sex with every other character. Badly."
And I can't in good conscience let this review end without mentioning how abhorrent the sex in this book is. It's not lascivious. It's not sensual. It's not erotic. It's not romantic. It's not artistic. It's not emotionally charged. It's not well-rendered. It's not even efficient. It's the driest, lamest, LEAST sexy approach to mating that I have ever encountered in prose or elsewhere. Watching mange-ridden stray dogs going at it in an alley would be more exciting, poetic and meaningful.
Honestly, this book was the kind of bad that makes the 7 prior novels weaker upon reading it. And that's the worst part; not that he's written a bad book, but that he's written an installment so bad that it takes something precious away from other good books.
Then came "And Eternity", which not only was a bore, but was blatant pedophilia and made me feel sick just reading it. I had hoped Piers would have learned from that novel's mistakes and avoided it in the story of Nox.
I was wrong.
Read the following paragraph:
"The Demon goat's engorged member rose to the occasion and Kerena welcomed his staff into her moist channel, until the Demon erupted in violent gushers, coating her 15 year old vagina with warm hellspunk. 'That was totally rocking', said Kerena, 'Let's do it again!'"
Now read it again, 175 times.
If that paragraph still interests you after 175 readings, or turns still turns you on in any way, by all means, purchase "Under a Velvet Cloak". Also, seek psychiatric help.
THE INCARNATIONS OF IMMORTALITY SERIES
The Incarnations of Immortality is that series, now eight books strong. The books are:
1. On a Pale Horse . . . Death . . . Thanatos
2. Bearing an Hourglass . . . Time . . . Chronos
3. With a Tangled Skein . . . Fates . . . Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos
4. Wielding a Red Sword .. . . War . . . Mars
5. Being a Green Mother . . . Mother Earth . . . Gaea
6. For Love of Evil . . . Evil . . . Satan
7. And Eternity . . . Good
8. Under a Velvet Cloak . . . Night . . . Nox
Each book focuses on a different incarnation, but includes all seven major incarnations in each book. I've listed their orientations and Greek names next to the book titles above, from memory. Not all the books include Nox as a supporting character.
In the first five books, we follow the lives of the humans who will eventually become the first five incarnations. We see them become the incarnations (the prior death is murdered; Chronos knows when his term of office will end, so fate chooses the successor; the fates choose their successors; Mars goes to heaven when the entire world is at peace; Gaea recognizes candidates to succeed her and preps them behind the scenes over a period of time.) Once each human character becomes the incarnation, he or she must learn his office, meet all the incarnations, and strive against Satan, proving eventually to Satan that he can no longer fool them, something they each have to learn by themselves. The other incarnations cannot help at this stage, because he must develop confidence in his powers and knowledge.
In the sixth book, we see the human life of the boy/man who will eventually become Satan, we see his side of the encounters with the other incarnations, and even of his attempt to cooperate with God. We see him accept the gamble of a challenge that lasts for centuries, and we see him fall in love with two of the other incarnations, being rejected by the first, but eventually winning over the second.
The seventh book is the hardest to describe. By now, all six of the other incarnations realize that the imperfect human who had become God centuries before is no longer paying attention to the Earth, so the six set out to find "good" candidates to become God. The problem is, the vote must be unanimous, which is why the prior God was so weak. The officeholders of evil would not vote for a good person, while the other five would not vote for an evil person, so they had to compromise, and ended up choosing a candidate who was so vain that he eventually became the most important being in his own little universe.
In this fantasy universe, each of the seven incarnations were originally the originally created God, Satan, and other incarnations. Eventually the original incarnations got tired, and resigned in favor of human candidates for their office.
UNDER A VELVET CLOAK
In this last book in the series (and author Piers Anthony says it is last), we find out that unlike all the other books, Nox is still the original goddess. We also get to see the process by which the original incarnations gave up their offices in favor of humanity. (In fact we see that the original incarnations were not even human.)
Nox never got tired of life, because to her, night was more interesting than the day. In addition, most of the action takes place in yet another universe, one which could be lost if the people we met in the first seven books can't help her accomplish the good that must be accomplished in that universe. Otherwise, the God of that world would be in danger.
Just like all of the prior books, "Velvet Cloak" starts with our candidate for the next Nox living as a mortal. She has opportunities to meet all of the Incarnations, Death, Time, Fate, War, Mother Earth, Satan and (almost meets) God, but their refusal to help her causes her to swear revenge on all of them.
What I really love is how we meet all of our favorite characters from the prior books, and we get to see some of their interactions from new points of view. I especially enjoyed seeing Satan's original girlfriend take a major role as the ghost that helped keep the second timeline on track.
She learns more and more of the skills that would be beneficial to the Incarnation of Night, and eventually becomes Nox, where she can finally get her revenge, but as can be obviously expected, things go awry, but this time we can't blame Satan for all the trouble, because He is finally acknowledging that he has a Divine purpose in his existence.
I don't want to give more details than this, because I want you to not only read this book, but read all the others, too.
I'm glad that I finally got to read this wonderful continuation of the Incarnations of Immortality series. I wish Piers Anthony would write some more. I have read the other seven books in this excellent series more times than I can remember, and I love them all, and now that I have read this sequel, I will reread all seven prior books then reread this book again.
Before I read this book, I assumed that this book would come before "And Eternity" since that book ended with an ultimate situation, but Piers has found a way to go beyond that ultimacy. Thank you, Piers Anthony.
This is a fantastic series, and remains my favorite series, along with Robert Heinlein's Future History series.
I highly recommend all eight books to you. If possible, read them in order, but definitely save #6 and #7 until after you've read as many of the first five as possible. #8 will make more sense if you read it after #7.