Book Review "Currant Events" by Piers Anthony
January 1, 2017 7:01am CST
In Xanth, everyone is born with some magical ability. Part of growing up is finding out what that ability is. This is the twenty-eighth volume, and the first entry in a second trilogy, in the long-running Xanth series of fantasy books, featuring quests, long strings of silly puns and hesitant but well-intentioned lovers. Usually, one character sets out to find (or already knows) the irascible Good Magician Humphrey in order to solve a seemingly otherwise unsolvable problem. In return for often cryptic advice, the querent must then perform some service, which usually involves a quest of uncertain nature. Magical beings, both helpful and interfering, come into and out of the story. In this story, Clio, the Muse of History, finds one of the tomes of the history of Xanth she writes is no longer legible. It’s in her handwriting, so she knows she’s written it. The book itself has not been damaged. Something magical is going on. She leaves her home on Mt. Parnassus and goes to find her friend, the Good Magician Humphrey (who is known to be a little grumpy), to find out how to restore her book. He sends her to find the red currant, giving her a tattoo that will direct her as well as tell her how much time she has left to perform each task. Along the way, she helps bring dragons back to Xanth and thus restoring the ecological balance. She meets Sherlock of the Black Wave, formerly of Mundania, who can, much to his surprise, manipulate reverse wood (yes), which reverses magic. And the book is filled with pun after pun after pun. On the Dragon World, Clio must avoid getting barbecued by winning not one, but multiple, pun contests with various dragons. The reader is witness to the details of only two of these, though. Just what her quest has to do with a red berry, or what a red berry has to do with a magically illegible book isn’t clear until the very end. It’s almost (but not quite) as if the author forgot the book he was writing to tell a series of cute vignettes in the meantime. “…a young human woman surrounded by demons. They were not making mischief for her in the way demons normally did; instead they were acting like servants, doing her chores for her, bringing her cake and eye scream (sic. Puns, puns, puns) and other delicacies. Extremely obliging demons. ‘Demons are a girl’s best friend!’” (p. 61) There is nothing deep here. It is a quick read. The sexuality is sophomoric at best. Men “freak out,” that is, become catatonic at the sight of women’s “panties,” whether or not they’re on a woman or on a clothesline. Too much bare bosom will get them, too. The meanings of such things, as well as “swear words” are parts of the Adult Conspiracy and are not spoken of around children. This can be at times pleasant little diversion, but it is not much beyond that. _____ Book: Currant Events Author: Piers Anthony (b. 1934) Published: October 2004 Pages: 368 *An earlier version of this review appeared on another site which has now disappeared into the ether.*
5 people like this
• United States
1 Jan 17
No, I don't think so. It's amusing at points. And when I was younger, I read as many of the Xanth books as I could. I don't know if the books are getting worse or I'm just getting curmudgeonly in my old age. Okay, I'm a grump. Just don't know if that's the deciding factor.