Hey there! I am a Fantasy/Sci-Fi nut. I also enjoy a good zombie novel or thriller now and then. My likes tend towards Young adult novels as I find most of the "adult" Fantasy novels to be uppity for lack of a better word. Follow me if you like the same as I intend to go back and review every book I had listened to on this site and will keep doing so.
This is my personal favorite book of all time. I love the way piers mixes magic and science, His outlook of hell and heaven, and Zane. The book is both fun and light as well as addressing some very intense topics.
I first read this book as a child in the 80's and have since read it once a year. Sadly the later book in the series are not as good however still worth reading.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
When the grim reaper shows up a few seconds early, Zane shoots him instead of using the gun on himself as he???d planned. Now, instead of being dead, Zane is Death. He has to take over the office, riding around the world in his convertible pale horse collecting and measuring the souls of those who???ve committed equal amounts of good and evil during their lives ??? those who are ???in balance.??? In his new guise (complete with all of the accoutrements: scythe, hooded cloak, skeleton face, etc), Zane sets out to change Death???s image while dealing with his own personal demons.
This is a fun premise and I expected Piers Anthony to do a lot with it, but unfortunately I found On a Pale Horse to be mostly illogical, trite and, worst sin of all, just plain boring. Part of the problem is that it doesn???t know if it wants to be a comedy, a love story, or a heavy philosophical treatise. It tries to do all three (it should have been possible), but it fails at all three. The comedy, as usual for Piers Anthony, consists of puns, allusions, and light black humor. For example, when Zane asks Mortis (the pale horse) something to which the answer is negative, Mortis says ???neigh??? (that was the only one I actually laughed at). I enjoy puns in real-life dialogue (they indicate a quick wit), but they don???t often work for me in print and this is one of the reasons I don???t read Piers Anthony (I gave up on the first Xanth book after 4 chapters, but I tried On a Pale Horse because it sounded mature and interesting).
There were some things I did find funny ??? Death lives in a house that looks like a funeral home and answers fan mail, Satan uses his publicity budget to sponsor Hellathons, group plans, and billboard advertising, a soul???s balance of good and evil is computed like an income tax, and you should hear Satan argue with a female Irish fishmonger ??? but mostly I found the humor and cheesy dialogue to be juvenile.
I don't read much fantasy but this was on sale so I thought I'd try Piers Anthony, knowing he's been around for 2 or 3 decades. I wasn't prepared for an alternate 20th century earth that is much like our own in everyday details but one where science and magic play equal roles, Satan competes with God for souls, ghosts and demons are prominent, and the lead character is not Death itself but someone who holds "the office of Death."
On the positive side, the suspenseful story is cleverly written and fast paced, and there are glimmers of humor and double meaning scattered throughout that keep the story from becoming too grim. Although I was tempted to quit several times, because this is not the kind of fantasy I enjoy, the entertaining writing style was enough to keep me engaged to the end.
On the negative side, the story seemed to me to become both more dreary and more outrageous as it approached the climax and I found myself glad when it was finished. But that may just be my own taste and limited exposure to fantasy. So, in deference to more devoted fantasy fans than I and to the well-established Piers Anthony, I'm giving it four stars, largely because I enjoyed very much the way he told the story.
This book is completely insulting to women and a thinly veiled catholic sermon. I was expecting a fun scy-fi/fantasy book and instead was hugely disappointed. The book speaks of the inherent "bitchiness" of women, suggests that a baby born in incest has "evil" on it's soul and a describes this poor woman who's father is trying to offer her up as a sex slave for death as "un-special, and un-remarkable" when it's pretty remarkable to me that she didn't run screaming out of the room. Terrible book.
not written it
. I'm glad I started this series after it was completed so I could read them all back to back. this is my 4th read of on a pale horse. I always remember excerpts from the later books while reading this. I think for the love of evil will be the next read, just to remember the Lord of flies perspective on this book.
I tried. I really, really tried. But this story was too convoluted to keep my attention. Not withstanding the twisted plot, Mr. Guidall gives another stellar performance. But even Mr Guidall couldn't save this story.