Tuesday, March 30, 2010

With a Tangled Skein by Piers Anthony [Book Review]

With a Tangled Skein by Piers Anthony 1986

With a Tangled Skein is the third book in the Incarnations of Immortality series, which has declined steadily since the first book.

Each book in the series follows one of the five (really seven) Incarnations: Death (book 1), Time (book 2), Fate (book 3), War and Nature.

In the series, God and Satan are also incarnations, locked in a war over souls. God plays by the rules. Satan does not, which forces the other incarnations, who would otherwise be neutral, to battle Satan in order to maintain balance on Earth.

Each book has a new human assuming one of the incarnation offices and focuses on that character with the other incarnation characters playing supporting roles.

Unfortunately, the series has followed one small battle with Satan that involves perserving a mortal woman's future as an influential senator who, in the future, thwarts Satan's political efforts on Earth.

Instead of moving on, Satan continually tries to dispose of the woman or prevent this future from happening and each book follows the incarnations' plow to keep the future in place.

With a Tangled Skein was worse than the first two because, outside of a now trite storyline, Fate was the most disappointing of the fates so far. She's made up of three different aspects, one of which controls the body of Fate at any one time. Her power is nebulous at best and annoying at worst.

Additionally, in the first two books, Death and Time relied on their unique power to thwart Satan. Not so in this book, although Anthony forces something close to it at the end.

I do enjoy the tragic events that lead to the main character becoming an Aspect of Fate and the twist she goes through after returning to a mortal life.

Unfortunately, this was not enough to prevent the series from dropping to mediocre.


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