I’ve never before read a Xanth novel. As a regular reader of fantasy and science fiction I have been aware of this series. How could I not … this is the 38th book in the series. Thirty-eight! That’s a remarkable accomplishment. So when this was available I decided now was as good a time as any to foray into the Land of Xanth.
The young woman named Irrelevant Kandy is looking at her reflection in the water of a well. She sees the classic beauty that men see, but she sighs with frustration because she has a brain and personality but men never see that. Aloud she complains that she’s “board stiff” and “wants Adventure, Excitement, and Romance.” The wise wishing well hears her use of “board” rather than “bored” and grants her wish, turning her into a stiff plank with knothole eyes. She is picked up by a young knight who will take the stiff board on his adventures. Kandy is still able to communicate (somewhat telepathically) with her knight (though it’s pretty difficult to explain who and where she is) and together they set out to abolish puns in Xanth.
Oh my. What to say about this.
The book is 250 pages of fantasy puns. On more than one occasion while reading this I thought “The 17 year old me would have LOVED this.” The old man me, though, tended to roll my eyes and think, “Did they really just go for that really bad pun?”
I’m not used to reading light, humorous fantasy. I definitely prefer works with a bit of a bite to them, though I recognize that some readers enjoy something quick and fun from time to time.
There is a story – a plot – here, which is pretty classic fantasy adventure, but for the most part I found this to be a one-note novel and that note is ‘puns.’
Looking for a good book? Board Stiff by Piers Anthony is the 38th book in the popular Xanth series. Your enjoyment of the book may well depend on how much you enjoy a constant barrage of puns.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Piers Anthony
series: Xanth #38
publisher: Premier Publishing
paperback, 250 pages