Piers Anthony, . . Tor, $24.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86906-9
"Do you think the puns will ever run out?" a character asks early in Anthony's 26th funny Xanth adventure. "If they do, Xanth will dissolve into chaos... It is mostly made of puns," another character sagely replies. And so it goes. This fantasy confection is full of puns, clever mathematical and grammatical lessons—and some gratuitous sexual innuendo. Cynthia Centaur and her companions must find the Six Rings of Xanth (Fire, Earth, Idea, Water, Air and Void) in order to rescue the Demon Earth from the thrall of the Swell Foop. These rings are the only artifacts capable of locating the Foop. When they are stacked and aligned, a person who sights through them will be able to see the Foop—if the stack is pointing the right way, and if that person is destined to use it. The rings also control the six known Regions of Xanth. The ring bearers, who include Jaylin, a Mundanian human girl, as well as five Xanth creatures, must use their creativity and sense of humor to find Demon Earth, or else the gravity needed in Xanth and Earth will disappear forever. Diehard Xanth fans will rejoice at this fast-paced romp, but even they might get a bit tired of the incessant panty humor. Some readers may have raging hormones, but the preteens, who would most enjoy this book, aren't quite there yet, and many older teens are ready to explore more mature issues.
Reviewed on: 08/27/2001