Piers Anthony's best-selling Incarnations of Immortality series has delighted readers with its wonderful mixture of contemporary situations and unconventional views of traditional magical themes. Being a Green Mother continues Anthony's entertaining look at society through a lens of magic. And Barbara Caruso's lyrical narration is a wonderful addition to this endlessly inventive series.
Don't miss the other books in the Incarnations of Immortality series.
©1987 Piers Anthony Jacob; (P)2000 Recorded Books
"This conclusion to one of Anthony's most popular series abounds with the author's love for logical conundrums and coy humor." (Library Journal)
I like scifi and urban fantasy. I don't like romance novels. If you are the same my reviews should help.
The series is very consistant. If you liked the other books this one will please you as well. It is a solid story and the only reason i gave it 3's was that Anthony is not the best at writing in the female point of view (my opinion). The way the author links all the boioks together and you catch hints of what was going on behind the scenes in previous novels is very good.
I'm not blind drunk, I'm just blind.
This fifth installment of Incarnations of Immortality opens some years before the events of Wielding a Red Sword. It tells the story of Orb, the daughter of Niobe Kaftan. When she was five, Orb woke to the sound of a beautiful but mysterious melody and followed it. In time she learned that tis melody, called the Song of the Morning by most who knew of it and could hear it, was but one ffragment of a mysterious melody known as the Llano said to be te ultimate music. Years later Orb, now a young woman, embarks on a quest to learn as much as she can about this elusive song and, if possible, possess it. But Orb's quest for the Llano could bring danger, for it soon becomes apparent that Satan, Incarnation of Evil, has an interest in Orb and seeks to marry her in fulfillment of a prophecy made long before Orb's birth. The Llano itself also has its own dangers and, if handled improperly, could bring about the destruction of the entire world.
Unlike the first four volumes in the series, this book is not read by George Guidall. Fortunately however, Barbara Caruso has a pleasant voice for narration and a talent for expression, accents and dialects. She also has a fair singing voice, which is extremely fortunate considering the songs sprinkled liberally throughout the story. Even a good narrator can ruin a performance if they try to sing the songs in the story if they can't sing. Fortunately both George Guidall and Barbara Caruso have good singing voices. Needless to say I couldn't put it down for long.
This book was I believe originally intended to be the last book in the series, and indeed it could easily serve as the conclusion to an excellent set of novels. This book is slower than the others, but interesting most of the time. Towards the end I lost some interest but the ending made the entire book worth reading many times over. In my opinion the book would have been better if some details were removed and the process leading up to the end quickened, but other than that I have no complaints.
The story of Orb is a good one, though considerably different from the stories of the other incarnations. What makes this story truly good, maybe great, is its implications for the series as a whole. I will definitely be picking up the final volume.
The humanity of the incarnations is what makes them endearing, and in this book the humanity of Satan himself is shown for the first time, casting all his previous actions in a new light of not quite sympathy, but rather mild pity and remorse. In every book it is remarked that each incarnation must come to terms with Satan in his or her own way, and in this book Satan seems to come to terms with himself.
As expected of Anthony, a wonderful story. It fits perfectly into the Incarnations series.
For some reason the narrator was changed between the last book and this, and I cannot say it is for the better. The narrator reads well, but has trouble controlling both her volume and pitch, making several key story elements hard to understand.
At a decent volume for the majority of the story, there are both volume spikes that hurt the ears, and places that were completely unintelligible.
The same holds true for pitch, and while lower tones are fine, this narrator does have some shrill, ear-stabbing parts as well.
In short, I highly dislike the narration, but because it's 5 books into the series, and I am entranced by Piers Anthony, I must listen to it and put up with the narrator's faults.
The first four books follow a formula that works well - character is introduced, character becomes incarnation, character learns basic day-to-day job of same, Satan interferes, character faces an exciting challenge, character triumphs, roll credits. This formula works well because each stage of the formula takes a different and interesting form depending on the incarnation that is the focus of the story.
This book breaks with that formula and suffers for it. The bulk of the book follows the girl who will be Nature as a human woman, so we get very little sense of what Nature's job is like. Later on, we are straight-up told that, unlike the other four, each Nature uses different tools and techniques to do her job, so she is less learning the ropes and more making it up as she goes. This begs the question of why a Nature book even exists.
The book also suffers from its main character being Orb. She's likeable, but easily the dumbest, most impulsive, and least powerful of the five characters. She accomplishes very little by cleverness or learned ability; she solves problems by intuitively applying the Song Of Problem-Solving, to greater or lesser effect, as the plot requires, and she is mostly taught the song by others. Similarly, if her Song Of Problem-Solving doesn't work, others must rescue her. Finally, it is irritating that she plunges the whole world into peril because she is jilted by a lover.
That feeds neatly into my last reason why this book is the weakest - Peirs Anthony's characters all live in a ghastly hellscape of sexism and misogyny (and a little misandrony thrown in for good measure), but this offensive landscape can largely be ignored, because it only comes into play when men and women interact. They do that a lot in Green Mother, so the hellscape is much harder to ignore. Left and right, we see women viewing men as incurable horn-dogs (which the men all cop to, btw), men viewing women as objects, and women acting emotional and irrational. Recall that the main character throws the world into peril because she is a jilted lover. It is all very hard to swallow.
In summary, this book has the most rampant sexism, the poorest reading, the weakest and most annoying (if likable) character, and worst of all, virtually none of the stuff we came for - namely, what it is like to become Nature and what is involved with doing Nature's job. Ironically, this book has very little to do with "Being a Green Mother". I'd skip it if I were you.
One more thing - the reader has a good voice, but she makes only a token attempt to distinguish different characters, so the undedicated dialog gets a bit confusing at times.
The main character (Orb) is very difficult to like as she seems to have been modelled on a petulant selfish child... This is one of the few times when I actually disliked the main character in a story.
Although this book in the series is both disappointing and irritating, the incarnation series does contain some gems.
I would give the following scores for incarnation series audiobooks:
On a pale horse 9/10
Bearing an hour glass 8/10
Wielding a red sword 6/10
Being a green mother 4/10
For love of evil 10/10
I'm only on chapter 2, but I was driving down the road and jumped at one point because her voice made my ears hurt. Her sprite and hemadriad voices are just horrible. I think my dogs head tilted as she hit a volume level that only my dog could hear. While I love all things Piers Anthony, this narrator was absolutely not meant for this job.
I just expected more from the story since Mother Nature is supposed to be the most powerful of all the incarnations. It was very slow and at times I found the story rather boring. I had no interest in what happened to Orb
Barbara did a very good job
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