Board Stiff by Piers Anthony
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Hot off reading Ogre, Ogre and saying that I don't find puns funny anymore, I went on to read this. Why? Because I'm a sucker for punishment maybe. Or maybe because I had downloaded a copy of this for review from Edelweiss and figured, "what better way to review this than to see how Piers Anthony has grown since whenever ago?" Ogre, Ogre is book 5 in the series, I think, published in 1982 whilst Board Stiff, #38 was published in 2013.
I enjoyed Board Stiff more than Ogre, Ogre. It felt better put together, as if there were a stronger storyline and more going on than puns. Though there are a lot of puns. And many dying puns too.
Irrelevant Kandy makes a wish - except she made a mental typo that the Wishing Well picked up on. So instead of being a beautiful girl heading out for Adventure, Excitement and Romance, Kandy is a flat, stiff board with two knotholes for eyes, who is picked up by Ease on his way to look for the perfect adventure.
As with every Xanth story I've read so far (I haven't read many), the main two protagonists end up together, so you kind of know where this is going. In the same vein, Ease makes his way to the Good Magician with a question and is sent on a quest. You're not going to get anything especially new in terms of the general storyline.
However, in contrast to Ogre, Ogre, Board Stiff covers a much wider range of Xanth, and out of it as well. I haven't read much of the stuff in between, but the Xanth universe is much more expanded by this time (as it should be), and with the Sequin of Events and the quest that Ease and Kandy are on, much more interesting things happen.
One thing I didn't particularly enjoy was the perpetual male-bashing and the constant stereotype that men have no self-control (i.e. they freak when they see Panties. But freak less when the girl is nude? What?). I mean, it was slightly funny at the start of the book, but by the end of it, it was just annoying. I know that Anthony has to stick with it once it was established in the beginning of the book, especially as it seemed to be quite an important plot point that helped move the story along, but if it had been confined to maybe one bonehead guy it would have been more palatable than being a trait of every male of every species in Xanth.
So whilst I did enjoy it more than Ogre, Ogre storywise, I can't say that I really liked it that super much hence the 3-star review. Well, maybe 3.25.
Note: I received a copy of this for review via Edelweiss.
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