Isis Orb (A Xanth Novel)- Piers Anthony
Open Road Media
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Rating (Out of 5):
Warning: Potential Spoilers
Synopsis: In Xanth, everyone has a talent. But that doesn’t mean everyone loves his talent, and no one understands that better than Hapless. Endowed with the ability to conjure any instrument he wants, Hapless could be an extraordinary musician if only he could play a tune that didn’t fall ear-piercingly flat. His one desire is to find an instrument he can play—and maybe a girlfriend or three. But like music, women have never been his forte.
When the Good Magician hears about Hapless’s desperate desire, he sends the young man on a quest to find the elusive Isis Orb, a magical talisman that could fulfill his wish. But the mysterious Egyptian goddess for whom the orb is named guards the enchanted object and won’t let anyone see it—let alone use it.
Setting out to achieve the impossible, Hapless meets an eclectic mix of creatures that join him on his journey. Like the musically challenged Hapless, they all have wishes they hope the Isis Orb will grant. But the only way they can control the orb is to capture the five totems from the regions of Xanth: Fire, Earth, Air, Water, and the Void. Together, this motley crew will heroically fight dragons, a six-headed griffin, and even a beautiful, seductive water gorgon who tries to rain on Hapless’s parade.
I have to start out this review with a confession. I am a lover of fantasy, and Isis Orb is the first Piers Anthony novel I have read. Hard to believe, but sadly true.
Isis Orb follows the Quest of the unlikely Quest Leader Hapless. Hapless has no social skills, no self-confidence, and no useful talent. In a magical realm where everyone has a talent, Hapless has the ability to conjure any musical instrument every thought of. But he can't play them. Any attempts end in horrific results. So the Good Magician sends him on Quest that will not only grant his wish, but will change the lives of five other people. Each companion Hapless meets is considered a misfit among their people, they all have wishes, and all join in to gather the five totems and retrieve the powerful orb said to be guarded by the goddess Isis herself.
The world of Xanth is not only full of magic, it is full of puns. Flying Thoughts, Wanna Bees, clothes horses, and more. I particularly liked the bowling Alley Cats. Although none of the Questers start out as real leaders or heroes, they learn to think "outside the box" and work as a team and to have the confidence in themselves to succeed in individual challenges. By the end of the journey they learn that sometimes the journey really is the point and magic isn't always as necessary to get your wish as believing in yourself. Although I occasionally felt like there was a little too much repetition, and some of the jokes got a little old after the twentieth time or so, this was a great introduction to the world of Piers Anthony. Isis Orb is a quick, light read, full of humor that Terry Pratchett fans will especially enjoy.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.