Esrever Doom by Piers Anthony is the 37th book in his Xanth series of funny, adventuresome, and pun-filled fantasy novels. It’s a fantastic journey back to the wonderful land of Xanth, where magic is the science, demons make wagers on the outcomes of human activities, and mashups of mythical beasts roam and fly at will.
Kody Mundane is the “hero” of Anthony’s latest Xanth fantasy novel, Esrever Doom. “Mundane” is not Kody’s actual last name, but people who somehow arrive in Xanth from Earth are mundane, so while in Xanth, Kody uses that as his last name. I use the term “hero” loosely, though Kody manages to rise to the occasion at several points in this excellent novel.
Before Kody finds himself transported to Xanth, he’s in a hospital room following an accident. He’s about to be operated on, and the doctor tells him that the anesthetic might have some side effects when he wakes up, such as a “reverse mood.”
While presumably being under the effects of the anesthetic, and having surgery on Earth, Kody is transported to Xanth, where he awakens in a world very different from the one which he has left. A curse has befallen the land, that of “Esrever Doom,” which is “reverse mood” backward.
Somehow, Kody is behind the curse of Esrever Doom, which causes beautiful people and creatures to appear to be ugly, and ugly ones to look beautiful. He must go on a quest to set the natural order of things in Xanth back as they were, solve three challenges, and find the Good Magician, who will — maybe — point him in the right direction. And, all it will cost him is a year’s worth of service to the Good Magician.
How can Kody meet this requirement, and also help the companions — Guy, his trusty steed, and Hadi, his dragon sidekick — who travel with him on his quest attain their desired goals? And then, there’s also the zombie, Zosi, Maiden Yukay (Made in UK), and Zap the Griffin, who have quests of their own — can Kody, a mere Mundane, help all of them and reverse the Esrever Doom curse; or, is the land of Xanth doomed forever?
Also, will Kody ever be able to return to Earth, or will he, like most Mundanes who journey to Xanth, end up staying in Xanth forever?
Back in this Xanth novel are some of the beloved characters from past Xanth novels, like Princess Harmony, Bryce, Tweeter, Picka Bones, and Princess Dawn and Picka Bones’ children, Piton and Data, along with many new characters who you’ll fall in love with.
Esrever Doom is a pun-filled picaresque romp in the land of Xanth. It’s another worthy addition to Piers Anthony’s best-selling series of Xanth novels. If you’re a fan of magical, fantasy adventures full of mythological creatures and a plethora of puns, you should check out Esrever Doom — which can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel — and the entire Xanth series by Piers Anthony.
Written by: Douglas Cobb