Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Incarnations of Immortality - Book Series

Welcome again to my A to Z Blogging Challenge! Today's post starts with I for Incarnations of Immortality, a book series by best-selling author Piers Anthony.
There are eight books in this series, but the eighth book is hard to find and I saw bad reviews of it, so I have not read it yet. The first five books are the core series, focusing on basic Incarnations, while the next two, For Love of Evil, and And Eternity, feature the Incarnations of Good and Evil. The series is set in a fantasy and technology Earth, not far in the future. In this near-Earth, there has always been magic, and technology advanced similar to ours, but magic never lost power.

The books are about mortal people who BECOME the office of a certain fact of life - Death, Fate, Time, Nature, and War, as well as Good, Evil, and Night (in the final book I have not read). These mortals are no longer mortal, but Immortal, and have to deal with the duties of their office, be that taking souls, weaving the threads of life, commanding wars around the world or helping the earth heal after a great calamity.

The first book is called On A Pale Horse, and concerns the Incarnation of Death, the Grim Reaper of common tales. This was published in 1983, and is the best book of the series. It could be a stand-alone book, it really focuses on what it is to BE Death. The main character has the office thrust on him early in the book, and tries to refuse doing the job until he realizes the dangers of there being no death in the world.

The second book is Bearing an Hourglass, and features the Incarnation of Time, Chronos. This book is different, as Chronos lives backward from the time he takes the office. I was confused with the skipping timelines in this book and never really got through it. Some day I might try going back to it. My husband did finish the book, and says, "It was okay. Not great, but okay."

The third book is about Fate, titled With A Tangled Skein. There are actually three Incarnations of Fate: Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, all living in the same body. I liked this book because the main character was female, and she goes through many trials throughout the book, and really deals with being Fate.

The fourth book, Wielding A Red Sword, is about the Incarnation of War. This was another character who tried to buck his responsibilities, trying to follow his own heart instead of fulfilling the duties of his office.

Being A Green Mother is the fifth book, about Mother Nature, the Incarnation of Nature. This was actually the first book I read, because I found it in a used book store and liked the cover (the pretty hair and face on the girl and the wooded background, not the exposed leg and low cut collar). On its own, this is a good book, but as the character doesn't actually BECOME the Incarnation until near the end of the book, it doesn't really jive with the original premise in On A Pale Horse.

The final two books I have read are For Love Of Evil and And Eternity. The book about the Incarnation of Evil is interesting, as it tells the story of how he became Satan, the history of the office through the ages. The book about the Incarnation of Good was less thrilling - concerning more the lack of action of the Incarnation of Good, and the journey to remove him from office and replace him with someone new.

There is one family in the series who plays part in all of the books, interwoven with the main characters of each book. I tried drawing out the family line, then became more interested in other books. I have not searched in a while, but a few years ago there were a few websites devoted to the series.

Overall, I enjoyed the series a lot more in high school, than later in my twenties when I really went back and thought about the books. I would recommend On A Pale Horse to anyone, the rest of the series if you really want to continue with the other Incarnations.

Thanks for reading this entry for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, join me again tomorrow for something starting with J!


  1. This is the first time I've heard of this series! Sounds like a very interesting concept.

    I read another book about Father Time being once human then forced to assume the role. It's Mitch Albom's Timekeepe. It's a good read as well.

    1. Oooh I'll have to look that up! We used to listen to Mitch Albom's radio program in Detroit, he's a local there. Thanks for sharing =)

  2. Piers Anthony has to be one of my most-neglected writers. I have so many books on my shelf (including On a Pale Horse), but he never seems to make his way to the top of the pile.

    1. I only read the Incarnations of Immortality, at first, while knowing he had so many other books. But I finally picked up a copy of A Spell for Chameleon, his first Xanth book, and I would highly recommend that. It's short, but very good. Easier to tackle if you're short on time to devote to new series (though there are a LOT of Xanth books following it, I'm on book four or five now, though on hold right now for John Carter). On A Pale Horse is really worth the read too though.

  3. Never heard of it before. And now I really wish I had to time to read it. Definitely putting it on my TBR list though.

    Konstanz Silverbow
    A-to-Z April Blogging Challenge Co-host