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Wielding A Red Sword (1987)

Wielding a Red Sword (1987)

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3.92 of 5 Votes: 4
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0345322215 (ISBN13: 9780345322210)
random house ballantine del rey

About book Wielding A Red Sword (1987)

Ever since I started to reread this series for about the bazillionth time, I've been trying to remember the first time I ever read them. I want to say it was some time in high school, but I was really never into scifi that much, and whatever else he may be, Piers Anthony falls into that category fairly easily. So my best guess is even younger, but for all I know, it could have been during my college years. Needless to say that my brain has just been a little fuzzy lately.What I do remember though is how much I love the Incarnations of Immortality series, and book four is still a lot of fun after all this time. Mym is one of those character that every boy wants to be and every girl wants to date. Well, I would want to date him too, but I digress. He is both strong and gentle. He can sweep a girl (or guy) off their feet just by being himself. He always strives to do the right thing though it gets him into trouble at times. He never backs down from a challenge. He's loyal, dependable, intelligent, loving, and he's a prince. He is an heir to a vast fortune and a life of luxury awaits him and whoever he picks as his consort. There are just two problems. One he doesn't want to take his father's place. He has an older brother so it shouldn't even be an issue, but you never know in these types of things. Princes get killed all the time. The other problem, he has a horrible stutter.So Mym (by the way not his real name) does what any prince in his situation would do. He runs away and joins a group of traveling performers. He's ashamed of his stutter so he pretends to be mute and he quickly finds a place among the other misfits. Now this is the point of the book, within the first few pages actually, that Mym's life begins to change forever. Traveling with the group is Orb, the daughter of Niobe who is the current Incarnation of Fate. The two quickly fall in love and Orb even shows Mym a way of getting over his stutter. All he has to do is sing and the stutter goes away. It's actually not as cheesy as it sounds. Alas, their love is not to be. Mym's brother dies in an accident which forces the Rajah to comes and take him home.From there Mym is forced into on situation after another, including an arranged marriage. It's his interactions with that young woman that really makes Mym shine as a human being and as a man. They are both in love with other people and do everything they can to stop any feelings from developing between the two of them. It's not long before reality takes over and the two eventually fall in love. From there, it's all down here.Through a series of events that neither one of them could have ever predicted. Their marriage is called off which sends Mym into a blind rage. It's that rage that calls the Red Sword to Mym which makes him the Incarnation of War. This is where the journey starts to get fun. The author forces Mym to deal with Purgatory, learning the ropes of his new job, an endless stream of wars, and seductive demonesses sent by Satan to send him down the wrong path.When that wrong path lands him in Hell with no real way of getting out, Mym does the only thing he knows to do, fight. He leads a revolt of all the damned souls that haven't been getting a fair trial. He even enlists, and yes there are animals in Hell, the animals that have been condemned for one crime or another. He doesn't know it, but the fate of the world hangs in the balance of how Mym fares in his battle with Satan. Either the world will end on Mym's treatment of a damned princess and a succubus or the human race will be spared total annihilation.

I only have a couple of the Incarnations of Immortality series, because it is a wildly uneven series as a whole (Anthony, predictably, can't write female protagonists worth a damn, and the one about Time is straight out of pulp space opera for no obvious reason) and this was #3 on my list of the three that I can stand.It's kind of awful. But first, the good bits:1. This book was totally the reason I bought a translation of The Book of Five Rings at age 12, and that is a profound and fascinating work that I still deeply value.2. ...ummm. Apparently there is no 2.As usual, the book opens with a lengthy analysis of how attractive the protagonist is to women of all kids. Verdict: irresistible. Nevertheless, he is only attracted to the pure and virginal woman, who promptly spreads her legs for him because he's so awesome. However, she turns out to be nothing more than a minor plot device and promptly disappears offscreen so she can be the longed-for Lost Love for a chapter or two, until...Mym gets shipped off to the Honeymoon Castle at the behest of his father (who murders women callously to prove a point, namely, that women are worthless interchangeable tokens and the fact that Mym feels bad about this is Weak and Unmanly.) Now, the Honeymoon Castle is actually an interesting device - it's set up so that a) people residing there can hear each other's thoughts and b) they are forced to interact to eat, sleep, or bathe, presumably so proximity will make them fall in love. This of course leads to numerous descriptions of Mym's arranged bride's physical assets, and the various scary things that chase her into his arms whenever they try to rebel firmly establish that while she is intelligent, she is entirely spineless. This is held up as an ideal - in fact, it's why she's a better match than the Blessed Virgin in the opening sequence, because independence is a negative trait in a woman.Look, it only goes downhill from there, and frankly I'm tired of responding to this appalling crap. On a Pale Horse at least had the redeeming aspect of some relatively serious thoughts about the nature of end-of-life care - this has some lukewarm apologia for War that it's clear the author himself doesn't even really believe. So there's no moral core, and the book is entirely about Mars finding a suitably tractable (and royal, don't forget for a second that he's a prince) mate AND concubine, because obviously his royal prerogative requires both. I'm not even going to get into the confusingly terrible characterization of modern-day India as Generic Fantasy Kingdom #248, Where Everyone Has Long Descriptors Instead of Names.Skip it. Just... skip it.

Do You like book Wielding A Red Sword (1987)?

The first of the series shows Death as imperfect youth who grows into responsibility, eases pain and suffering. Likewise, War serves purposes in society. Groups, rather than teenage individuals, rebel and gain independence. Masculine aggressive hormones are channeled to larger goals. Remembered pluses bury under blather in re-read. Mym stutters under dictator father Rajah, runs away. Orb sings, her suggestion stops his speech impediment. He falls in a forever-after kind of love, twice. Honeymoon Castle forces intimacy by shared thoughts with Princess Rapture. Father decides on a different political alliance, different princess. In berserker rage, Mym takes office of War. He faces zombies, Death Squads p 146, magic, technology, but always tries to minimize suffering and pain, against sidekicks Famine, Pestilence, Plague. Satan sends demoness Lila (first of her kind) to divert Rapture away. How is moving in with John different from Purgatory "complete dependence" p 86? Princess Ligeia is so obviously a trap. How War gets around the regions of Hell and knows how and who to target for rebellion is never explained, though could be reasonably related to Sword abilities. This is sort of a maze, definitely another to reach Nature. (view spoiler)[ Political criticism is clear when Mym and distracting "décolletage" p 66 of Rapture negotiate diplomatically between "Uncle Vinegar to the North" p 66 and "President of Uncle-Sugar-land" p 67 in Washington to the West. Nature guards her home with puzzle obstacles, gathers his tears to stop gene-splicing virus p 191. (hide spoiler)]
—An Odd1

What if death, time, fate, war, nature, evil and good were not mere concepts but offices held by actual people, like any other occupation?When Mym, the son of a rajah, grows tired of his father's manipulations in his relationships, he opts out of his life in order to become Mars, the immortal Incarnation of War. In this new position his job is to supervise the significant warlike activities occurring in the world. Although he's morally opposed to such needless violence and suffering and initially hopes to use his office as a means of alleviating and lessening the destruction and misery war causes, Mym reluctantly comes to accept that war is a natural and fluctuating, if unpleasant, state of humanity.Like the few preceding it, Wielding a Red Sword doesn't quite hold up to On a Pale Horse, the first book in this series. As usual, the characters are painfully two-dimensional.

The Incarnation of War10 January 2012tIt seems that in his way Anthony is attempting political commentary in his novels. Having (unfortunately) read quite a lot of his works, this is something that he does seem to do, however, I would have to add, not in a really good way. Anthony is first and foremost a science-fiction/fantasy writer, and while he does have his own opinions and beliefs, I never actually felt challenged by his books in a way that I was challenged by, say, The Jungle.tThe topic of this book is war and the incarnation is Mars (who happens to be the Roman god of war). Once again Satan is up to his old tricks, and by elevating an inexperienced person to the incarnation he is attempting to bring about Armegeddon. However, as in the previous books, he is thwarted by the protagonist, and slinks back to his hole in the ground.tNow, the idea that is raised in this book is whether war is good or is bad. We will almost, without fail, say it is bad because innocent people die. However innocent people die all of the time, but this does not necessarily mean that we should go to war. The idea is that while war is bad, sometimes it is necessary to bring an end to a greater evil. I believe that the best example of this is with the rise of Hitler and the Third Reich. While it was inevitable that the world would end up being sucked into this war (as they were with the First World War), if Hitler has been allowed to continue unopposed then it is clear that much more death and suffering would have resulted. We know that Hitler was out to get the Jews in a very big way.tAn even more closer example is the question of Gaddaffi. I remember when the debate was raging as to whether to intervene or not, and from pressure around the world, the British and the French began to bomb his troops. It was clear that Gaddaffi was not going to give up without a fight, and thus the allies entered to give the rebels a fighting chance. This was not surprising since Gaddaffi has been a long time bad guy. However that is not always necessarily the case. There have been a lot of dictators (such as Pinochet) that have been propped up by Western elements, and this has also resulted in much death and suffering. With Iraq, it was right to get rid of Saddam, he was a tyrant, but the reasons behind getting rid of him were not necessarily all that noble. Mugabee is also a thug, but nobody has raised a finger to stop him, and he is still running rampant with impunity.tIt is interesting though that many claim that Iraq was because of the oil, and I do not dispute that, however while oil is required to power the modern industrialised society, we also need food. Zimbabwe is hardly a country without resources. It was once referred to as the breadbasket of Africa, and I suspect that there are a lot of other resources there as well. There is a difference though, Mugabee has run his country into the ground, whereas Saddam had turned Iraq into an industrialised powerhouse. He even fought against Iran for the United States, though I suspect that this war was partly to distract Saddam from looking elsewhere. Where Mugabee rules over a poverty stricken basketcase of a country, Saddam was a much greater threat in that he had a modern, industrialised army. Where Mugabee couldn't invade a beehive, Saddam's Iraq hung like a black cloud over the Middle East, and his invasion of Kuwait showed that he was more than willing to expand his borders.
—David Sarkies

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