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    UP IN A HEAVAL by Piers Anthony (see his website)


    TOR, October 2002

    A bet between Demons Xanth, Jupiter, and Fornax sends Umlaut on a quest to deliver messages sent from our Earth to Xanth. Although Umlaut is a construct, he is endowed with excellent ethical judgement and good luck in finding friends. Demoness Metria will do anything to stop the quest because her son's soul is at risk.

    Umlaut's quest takes him through Xanth and into contact with characters familiar to readers of the Xanth series, as well as introducing new characters. Author Piers Anthony (see more reviews of novels by Anthony) delivers a rich assortment of the bad puns that readers of this series delight in. The Xanth series is also known for its sexual teasing (say PG-13). I thought that UP IN A HEAVAL did a good job delivering the tease without dramatically overstepping the bounds of taste. Umlaut's romance with Surprise was teetered at the edge between sweet and sensual--about right for a teenage relationship.

    Umlaut was an interesting character because of his compassion. Although he lacked a lasting reality (being a construct of the demons for the sake of their game), Umlaut had a conscience and a drive that made him sympathetic.


    Reviewed 1/18/03

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