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Punaciously Puntastic. Could it be anything else? Piers Anthony's Faun & Games is the 21st addition to the Xanth series and the fun, jokes and puns still bubble over the pages.

This time, frivolous fauns, precocious princesses, nubile nymphs and delicious day mares share the excitement, which centers around partially willing adventurers Forrest Faun and Mare Imbri (a day mare).

Click here to buy from AmazonForrest fears that his neighboring tree may fade and lose its spirit now that its faun has vanished. After all, what could be more calamitous than if a tree becomes, well, just a tree?

To prevent this catastrophe, he seeks the Good Wizard Humfrey's help in finding a replacement faun. Humfrey refuses to listen to his request. Instead, the Good Wizard gives Forrest a guide in the form of Mare Imbri. A night mare who became a day mare thirty years earlier when she accidentally lost her body, Mare Imbri is a companion that Forrest can only see when he daydreams.

With the usual Anthony innuendoes, these two travel the land of Xanth and beyond seeking the faun. In doing so, they brave puns, comic strips, princesses and beasts of strange shapes and temperaments.

Anthony creates worlds like no other. In Xanth you will find everything from lands where time and distance traveled are related (e.g., moving east makes you younger -- west makes you older) to lands where walking upright sometimes means walking horizontally to the ground. Combine this with Anthony's interesting use of magic and the effects related to the giving and asking of favors, and the reader will find a discovery waiting at every turn of the page.

All in all, Anthony does a wonderful job in leading the plot through the novel, avoiding a plethora of distractions from double entendres, jokes and puns. Exciting for the most part, the story falters somewhat when Forest and Mare Imbri near the end of their quest, and for a little while the fun becomes a bit tedious. However, this quickly passes once most of the problems are solved and the final journey home begins.

As an Anthony fan of old, and a lover of Xanth books, I would say this isn't his best in the Xanth series, but it is certainly in the top 10.

Stephen Smith

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