I’m not sure exactly how to review this book, except to spell out the good and the bad like I usually do.
I want to say I’m biased; I love Piers Anthony & I love the Xanth books, but unfortunately, that’s not really true, either. I USED to love Anthony & I LOVED the books as a kid; still love the earlier ones – I even reread them ever so often.
But seriously – Anthony’s a dirty old man – 78.
In one way, the books are clean, though they aren’t as clean as his earlier books. He doesn’t spell out adult scenes or use adult language, instead writing “bleep” or “bleeping”. It’s amazing, however, how often his characters lose their clothing, show their underclothes, refer to sex, or othewise get involved in adult situations. Perhaps it’s just me, but I don’t remember his characters in Xanth novels actually engaging in adult behavior, just casual mentions of “summoning the stork”. Board Stiff is very different.
Regular Xanth readers will want to know about the puns. Once again, I have to say, I enjoy how he uses puns in his earlier books, but after the first dozen or so, he seems to just try to cram as many puns as possible into a given book, without trying to have them actually make sense. Most of them aren’t that bad, and I don’t think there’s as many puns as some books, but a lot of them just don’t really fit into the story. There’s a particularly bad one involving women who miscarry that’s just horrifying – to me, there’s just certain things you don’t make fun of, and certain miscarriages is oen of those topics. It’s just crass, especially when it was just so random.
But what about the storyline and the plot? In a way, this book has a better plot than some of the otehr books, but most of the adventures are triggered by a sequin falling off of a dress – as in, a sequence of events (I hear a groan). It was funny the first few times, but Anthony repeatedly uses this plot device in every chapter, to get the characters to the next part of the story.
My other big pet peeve was EVERY new character the “quest” group met up with, had to be reintroduced to the group and to their mission. I’m not a writer & don’t pretend to be, but you’re telling me Anthony couldn’t figure out another way? He couldn’t have just written, just once, “And Ease caught so and so up on their adventures so far”?
My last complaint is typical – you know how the book is going to end, and it ends exactly that way, and al lin 2 pages.
So what’s my rating? Well… after all of my complaint, I still enjoyed reading Board Stiff. It’s a fun, Xanth romp after all, and that’s what it’s meant to be, a fun, fast, don’t take things too seriously and just enjoy it kind of book. You are supposed to read a Xanth book & groan throughout it, but if it makes you forget about life for a little while, then the book is doing its job. I’ll continue to read Xanth books, maybe not every one, but every one I happen to come across by random chance, and I’ll continue to appreciate the books for what they are.
I received a review copy of this book from Edelweiss/the publisher.
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