A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony

A Spell for ChameleonXanth is a magical land (that despite looking like Florida is Not Florida) where everyone has a magic talent that only they can do.

Everyone that is except poor Bink, who has no magical talent, and unless he get some a fast he will be exiled from Xanth into Mundania, where every is savage with no magic (FYI that’s us). So Bink goes to see the Good Magician Humfrey, and goes on an adventure where he rides a centaurs, gets pulled into a fake trial, has to run from a dragon, and even has an encounter with a powerful sorrceress, reminding you of a certain Greek…

Bink finally makes it to the Good Magician Humfrey’s castle, and the Good Magician insists that Bink has Magic, and powerful magic at that, but for some reason he’s magic is lock away, so he is still at risk of being exiled!

The Beginning

So 24 year old Bink lives in the North Village of Xanth, and he has grown up without Magical power, which is a problem since everyone in Xanth has to have Magic, or they are exiled from the magical country. So Bink sets off on an adventure to see the Good Magician Humfrey, and find out what his talent is, even if it means working for the Magician for a year.

The beginning in this story was extremely tedious, with a lot of boring exposition from both Binks, and some of the surrounding characters. I think that Piers was attempting to do some world building, but I felt that a lot of the information they gave at the beginning could have been saved for further along in the book, that way not everything was being thrown at you all at once.

The Climax

While this book may have had a slow beginning, the climax was in no way shape or form slow. It kept the tension high all the way through, and this is where we see are characters that there most interesting, with Bink trying to figure out where his loyalties lie, and also trying to keep a certain Evil Magician at bay, but we’ll get into that later.

The End

After such a strong climax it is sad to say that the ending suffers that same problem as the beginning of the story, and that is an over use of character exposition. One good example of this is when Trent was explaining to Bink about his motives, and trying to persuade Bink to his side. There is also more back story towards then end, that while nessacary for the plot, was written completely boring, and it made finishing the book difficult.


There are a large number of Characters in A Spell for Chameleon, so I am going to be breif, and only explain the three big players in the story.

Bink, who is our protagonist, is completely boring…and not is the ‘oh he is just a normal guy’ kinda way, he is boring even as a normal guy. He spends more time thinking then actually doing anything, and it not until towards the end that we see him really stand up for himself, and do something about what is going on around him.

Chameleon, a girl who goes by couple of different names throughout the story, she is probably one of the most interesting characters thorughout the entire story. Her magic talent is that throughout the female 28 day cycle, she goes from being goddess like beautiful, but completely dumb, to being extremely ugly, but smarter than Steve Hawkings

Trent, the kinda antagonist for A Spell for Chameleon, he is not your traditional villian. Peir’s writes Trent as a very intelligent, and handsome man with a certain degree of honor to him. This makes Trent extremely dynamic, and he still does more than our protagonist Bink.

There are of course more characters, but I feel that they either don’t play that big of a role, or they don’t contribute that much to the story.


A Spell for Chameleon, has a very interesting plot, and it is actually a pretty good quest style fantasy Novel; however other than that there isn’t a lot to say about the plot. It is a quest style fantasy plot, with someone looking for something that could change their life in this case Bink looking for his talent so he can stay in Xanth.


Like many books written in the 70′ A Spell for Chameleon is extremely heavy in details; however because of the kind of world Xanth is, I think this actually works in it’s favor rather than against it. When you have trees that grow pillows, and Harpies, and all different kinds of magical thinks, the description really helps the read imaganie the world and put themselves there.


There isn’t much to say, pretty stereotypical fantasy there wasn’t a whole lot that stood out to me as far as style.


three-star-ratingOver all I gave A Spell for Chameleon and 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. As much as Ioved the world, and the premise, the main character was boring, and there was to much description that just didn’t need to be in there.

I would recommend this to people to enjoy the Lord of the Ring series, or similar High fantasy Novels.


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