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For Love Of Evil (1990)

For Love of Evil (1990)

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4.09 of 5 Votes: 5
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0380752859 (ISBN13: 9780380752850)
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About book For Love Of Evil (1990)

Originally, the Incarnations of Immortality series was meant to end at Being a Green Mother when Satan is finally defeated by his love for Orb. This was an ending that I found very dramatic, even if in a corny way. After reading that, I thought it was an excellent conclusion. But it wasn’t the end. Piers Anthony continued his series with two more books detailing the most important offices: Good and Evil. Thus, For Love of Evil and And Eternity were born. For Love of Evil is one of the best books in Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality series, if not the best. Up until this one, the books have all been very engaging, though following a similar format. Every time, a new person takes up the Incarnation office and gets tricked by Satan somehow. However, this one is totally different, it is about Satan himself.Sympathy for the Devil is often a difficult thing to achieve. It’s pretty controversial and the Devil, Satan, Lucifer, or whatever you want to call him has long been a landmark villain in the history of literature. Of course, he’s been the main antagonist of the series for quite a while, but every good villain deserves a good backstory. Nobody is just pure evil from the get go. The story of how Parry gets into the office of Satan is quite an intriguing one.Like every other Incarnation, the story starts off of Parry’s mortality. He is a successful musician who, quite ironically, becomes a priest. He lives his life battling off the forces of evil. Through blessings, prayers and magic, he becomes the leading force in the crusade for good and is on a never-ending quest to stop evil. Ironic, huh?Similar to other books in the series, a love interest is the main conflict here. Like I’ve said before, Piers Anthony’s love scenes aren’t exactly too convincing. But then again, neither is Romeo and Juliet or any other love scene from any form of media that I’ve come across. Parry’s love interest here is Jolie who is killed but still accompanies him as a ghost.I won’t give the details of his full corruption, but it is quite an intriguing one indeed. For most incarnations, the transition from mortality to office wasn’t too shocking. However, a priest being turned to Satan is something to be surprised at. I believe that Piers Anthony does a pretty good job of his corruption. When putting myself in that situation, it seems very likely to fall for such temptation. I felt that overall; his transition was a lot more dramatic than the other Incarnations.For Love of Evil does what nearly every other book in the series did; it tried to intertwine its own story with the rest of the series. However, For Love of Evil probably does a better job of doing this than any other book in the series because it traces back the entire series. It begins far before any of the other characters (Zane, Niobe, Orb, etc.) have ever lived because Parry was alive during the Crusades while the other characters live in the distant future. It chronicles many of the major events from Parry’s point of view such as his taunting of Niobe, Lilith’s seduction of Mym and his love affair with Orb. (minor spoilers ahead)Ever thought “This person’s not really mean, he’s just misunderstood”? This book attends to that phrase better than any I’ve read. Imagine that just by holding the office of Satan; people would automatically assume you’re evil! (Well, of course it’d happen, but it’s never right to judge.) Of course, Parry wasn’t truly evil. He’d just kicked Lucifer out of the throne and unknowingly assumed the position. Unsure of how to find a spell that would dominate the demons; he approaches the other Incarnations in good faith. However, they assume he’s evil and proceed to ignore, insult and humiliate him. Geez, can you blame the guy for being evil?Many of the evil things he does are mostly out of trying to get revenge on the other Incarnations. For example, the Black Plague was caused out of his desire to get revenge on Nature and Death. Even so, he did spare certain areas from the Plague out of sympathy for the people. I guess he’s not all that bad is he?He even befriends JVHV a lesser Incarnation of a Jewish god. Yup that’s right. He befriends God. (Didn’t see that one coming eh?) He also tricks one of the Incarnations into stopping the Holocaust in order to please JVHV. His reason for being evil? There needs to be order in the world. Someone needs to tempt people in order to determine whether or not they are truly good or evil. That way, God and Satan and find out if they truly belong in Heaven or Hell.The main flaw about Piers Anthony’s story is the same as the rest of the series. He does at times seem to be a bit sexist or juvenile. Yes, he does enjoy referencing female bosoms from time to time, which does get old. However, the sex scenes do, to an extent, play an important role in the story and are pretty important. Unlike previous books in the series, (Wielding a Red Sword) Anthony seems to keep a decent filter on how much sexual content is present in the book. Lilith’s corruption is very sexual, but for good reason of course.The story of Parry’s journey from a mortal priest to becoming the Incarnation of Evil is a truly unique one full of drama and despair. It certainly sheds a different light on a character that we’d never expected to have compassion for. However, it’s always good to humanize the villain because villains in fiction should never be two-dimensional generic bad guys. Parry’s motives can be called evil but to do so may be unfair. The series has always had a knack for playing around with the definition of good and evil, but it’s done most prominently here. Whether or not Parry should truly be called evil or just merely someone doing his job is up to the discretion of the reader. The life of the Incarnation of Evil certainly isn’t an easy one, and Parry’s extensive tale of love, betrayal and loss is truly a fascinating one. So all in all, don’t be surprised if this book makes you consider sympathy for the Devil, I mean Parry.

Into Satan's mind14 January 2012tThis is the sixth book of the series and the main character of this book is the incarnation of evil, or Satan. The book follows the same lines as the previous books in the series in that the first part of the book deals with the mortal life of the main character before he becomes the incarnation, and it also looks at the events of the other books from the eyes of this particular incarnation. However Satan, being the antagonist of all the other books, obviously has a significant role in the series.tThe idea behind this book is something that we have seen developing for quite some time, and in away goes back to William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. It is the idea that while there is evil in the world, Satan is not strictly evil, but rather the incarnation that holds sway over evil. In this story, while he is treated as being evil by most of the other incarnations, he is more like the Greek god Hades, whose domain is the underworld and everything that eventually comes down there. In the same way Satan is the lord of Hell and has dominion over all of the people in Hell.tHowever, it appears that Anthony is trying to have us sympathise with Satan, thus sanitising what he really is like. He begins by having Perry, the protagonist of the book, live a very harsh life where his family and friends are all killed by Christian crusaders. He then joins a monastery to enact his revenge, and in turn creates the inquisition. He is then tempted to break his vow of celibacy by the demon Lilith, and on his death bed is given the opportunity to take the role of Satan.tIn the other books Satan is always the antagonist, however as we come to this book we are taken into his mind and into his heart and begin to see that he is not really all that bad. He is not interested in sending everybody to hell, but only those who deserve it. As such he is more like a gaol warden doing a job that nobody else likes. He is also like the police officer who has a role to perform, but is hated by many because his role tends to bring him into conflict with others. tI'm still not really sure how to take this book, but in a sense I find that while Piers Anthony has a good ability to write teenage fiction, his writing style does not seem to support an intellectual adult readership. This is the feeling that I have got from most of the books that I have read of his, particularly when we come to the issue of sex. He tries to be adult, but unfortunately his writing style seems to let him down somewhat.

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Parry begins as an apprentice to a sorcerer in medieval France. He must seduce a young woman without magic. Even though he’s successful, Parry’s happiness is shortlived, as Jolie is murdered. Seeing the power present in the Church, Parry becomes a priest, and singlehandedly starts the Inquisition. It’s around this point that he’s seduced by Lilith herself, and takes on the role of Satan.Therein lies my main problem with a lot of Piers Anthony’s novels. The men are typically portrayed as helpless bags of hormones. After all, Parry wasn’t evil enough, until some succubus led him astray. In the end he even ends up with a harem, because, well, a lord of Evil has his insatiable needs. Perhaps the polyamory wouldn’t bother me so much if it was equally balanced by some W/M/M relationships in addition to the M/F/F ones. But it never happens, not even in the rest of the series. For the Love of Evil does bring up an interesting topic, though. If Satan is not completely evil, can God be completely good? Anthony sets out to answer this question in the remaining two books. Would I recommend this book or the subsequent ones? Well, if the patriarchy was bothering you already, it doesn’t get better. Trust me. It’s okay to move on. It really is. There’s plenty of better books to read. Go find them.

I start this by saying that I'm still impressed with Anthony's imagination and ability to hold many character threads together.However, this is not at all a strong entry in the Incarnations series. The main character, Parry, is a sorcerer-in-training in the Middle Ages--already I'm a little wary, being a medievalist. And rightly so (Franciscans in France, what?), because Anthony unfortunately twists history just enough to fit the addition of magic but not enough to make it look purposeful. Alternate histories need to be blatantly alternate, but a lot of this just felt like he was reading Dan Brown for fact-checking.Also, for all his wit and grace with language, this volume has the unfortunate tendency to lapse into telling at the moments of critical importance. "And then his plan was about to come to fruition, and he was so close...! And here's how other people reacted and it went according to plan and things were fine. The end." What? There were just a lot of solid build-ups and completely anticlimactic letdowns in the adventures of Parry/Satan (which, by the by, felt rather long about 2/3 of the way through).I return to this series after about three or so years hiatus, I think, so I'd forgotten a lot of what had happened in the first five volumes. Fortunately, Anthony has a lot of catch-up going on in this narrative. Unfortunately, he does it in such a way that it's very much And Here's What You Need To Know To Understand This Reference, which just kicked me out of the story.Oh, and in case you were wondering, Hell is Dante's model. Straight up.I'll track down volume 7 because I hate to leave a series unfinished, but I do hope it's better than this one. This just felt flat, the whole way 'round, which is really bad when you're dealing with something as volatile as Evil.

This is yet another series I decided to revisit as it appears the author has added another installment to the Incarnations of Immortality. It seems I may have read parts of this novel, but not all of it. And I know I had not yet picked up the 7th installment, And Eternity. But, as I saw Mr. Anthony published an 8th installment, Under a Velvet Cloak, I felt I must reread from the 6th on so as to regain my bearings on this interesting world. The story was interesting and fun to read. This book is by no means a literary masterpiece, but I surely enjoy the author's spin on the topic. Also, I find a bond with the author in wanting to bring order to chaos. We work so very hard to bring order around us knowing that if we ever stop exerting energy, then the world will tend to chaos. Entropy...ah! Anyway, the book was certainly fun to read and only occasionally promoted headaches when discussing the Incarnation of Time. But, it was a good pain!
—David Zerangue

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