Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Incarnations of Immortality #5

Being a Green Mother

Rate this book
Orb plays magic in her harp, but seeks Llano, the song that controls Life. Natasha is handsome, charming, teaches her more spell tunes, but is he Satan? Her mother Niobe, Fate, warns of a prophecy she will marry Satan, and offers her the job of Nature.

~Author's Note 12-pg, bio 1-pg.

314 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 1987

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Piers Anthony

583 books3,942 followers
Though he spent the first four years of his life in England, Piers never returned to live in his country of birth after moving to Spain and immigrated to America at age six. After graduating with a B.A. from Goddard College, he married one of his fellow students and and spent fifteen years in an assortment of professions before he began writing fiction full-time.

Piers is a self-proclaimed environmentalist and lives on a tree farm in Florida with his wife. They have two grown daughters.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
6,402 (34%)
4 stars
6,411 (34%)
3 stars
4,501 (24%)
2 stars
955 (5%)
1 star
189 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 261 reviews
Profile Image for An EyeYii.
3,492 reviews57 followers
February 23, 2014
Quest. World faces doom.
Prophecy says Orb will marry Satan.

First time through series, heroes (men and women) seemed to stretch pre-ordained parameters of roles, grow into best they could be. Death and War were seen in new, surprising, positive lights. On re-read some decades later, maybe dated, maybe worst forgotten, but cannot continue when soap-opera family tangles into too many knots.

Her music tames whale Jonah, houses band Sludge. Drug addicts and Jezebel, succubus cursed to copulate every hour of every night (exhausting), all feel relief inside. Orb and (second) cousin Luna call each other Eyeball and Moth. Cute comic relief?

Profile Image for A Voracious Reader (a.k.a. Carol).
1,955 reviews1 follower
May 13, 2014
Orb Kaftan is born into a special family. Her father can make magical music and her mother was once an aspect of Fate. Her half-brother is a powerful magician and her niece can see auras and paint them. Orb herself has an incredible amount of music magic. As she grows her talent grows with her and when she becomes an adult she sets out to find the ultimate music of all, the Llano. Traveling all over Europe to various gypsy camps, she seeks the elusive music. In India she falls in love, but he’s taken from her. Continuing her quest in the United States has her meeting several new people who become important to her including Natasha, a handsome man who teaches her more about the Llano. But is everything the way it seems? Her mother has taken up the mantle of Fate again and comes to warn Orb about the prophecy that she will marry Evil and to offer her the job of the Green Mother. Orb has some big decisions to make and having lost one man she loved will she lose another?

I know I’ve said that I love this series, but if I had to pick a favorite inside it I’d say this one was it. Of course, it’s been many years since I read books 6 & 7, so I’ll need to reread those to be sure, but for now, this book is the one. Starting when Orb is four and following her into adulthood I love reading about all she has experienced. Though she is a tad obsessive about the Llano, at least she’s a decent person. My favorite part of the whole book is at the end. I’ve cried each time I’ve read it and I can’t remember what happens in the next book. So, I’m really looking forward to reading For Love of Evil. Of course, neither library system near me has it and I have no idea where I’ve stored my copy. Gah!
Profile Image for JJ W..
942 reviews57 followers
February 28, 2010
I am quite delighted that this did not remain the last in this series as was originally intended. The ending is too abrupt, too crazy to be the ending of this whole story!
That being said, I felt like this whole book was sort of crammed together. A ton of stuff happened, but it felt rather formulaic and crowded until about page 235, right around when the actual Immortality-ness kicked in. THEN it got super interesting. Not to say it wasn't interesting before--all kinds of question get answered, like what does a succubus do in her free time? Can mermaids have sex with human men? What happened to Jonah's whale? If you give a mouse a cookie, what will happen? (Well, scratch that last. That does not, in fact, get answered. I can tell you anyway--he wants a glass of milk.)
So it is interesting stuff, but not terribly engaging stuff. I never felt close to Orb, the main character; I was always more interested in the people around her, which is kind of bad for a main character. I'm starting to wonder if the snake ring is my favorite character in this series. But Orb just didn't feel as real to me, as fleshed out as, say, Zane (Death), Mym (War, whom I didn't even like), or even Time, whose person name I forget right now.
I will say this, though; I am in awe of Anthony's ability to weave so many intricate lines together to create such a tapestry. The five books fit so well together, and so inextricably together, that it's almost boggling. I very much wish to find the next book to see what happens with this.
And, as always, his author's notes are well worth reading. So read them.
Profile Image for Sara.
195 reviews
June 1, 2014
Piers Anthony's Being a Green Mother is the fifth book in his Incarnations of Immortality series. It starts out well. Orb Kaftan is on the search for the song behind the magic of the universe, also called the Llano. Along the way she meets gypsies, joins a circus, and later fronts a headlining band. At the forefront of her mind is a prophecy told to her in childhood, that she would one day marry Satan. And then Anthony has to ruin it with his usual “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” sermon. By this point in the series I was already tired
of it, and Green Mother certainly didn’t help things.

My favorite character is the blind Gypsy girl Orb meets, named Tinka. Fictional Gypsies have always fascinated me. Actually, take that back, I met a real life Gypsy, one who had been living in the States for several years, but had only settled down in an apartment within the last two. True to the stereotype, she was great at telling stories, but I digress. Tinka, already struggling with her lack of sight, isn’t all that great to look at either, and her father Nicolai, fears she’ll never be married. That’s where Orb comes in. You see, Nicolai and the other Gypsies Orb meets might have the key to learning the Llano, but to even start the conversation, Orb has to earn her place by teaching Tinka to dance.

Other notable characters were the members of Orb’s band The Living Sludge. They’re addicted to “Spelled H”, which is an even more addicting drug than heroin, thanks to magic. Jonah, the whale who swallowed his namesake, also proves to be unpredictable.

My biggest pet peeve with this book is the end, but I won’t mention that here, in case you still want to read it. Yes, I know, it sets up the remainder of the series, but I felt cheated after seeing Orb’s strong character come to such a situation.
Profile Image for Anastaciaknits.
Author 3 books41 followers
November 4, 2016
I've read this book a few times over the years, and I'll state the same thing at the beginning of reviewing all the I of I books: this is a re-read, and the first time reviewing the books. I'm reviewing all of the books after I finished re-reading the entire series, which I don't normally do & didn't do deliberately this time, either...

So Orb is my favorite character in the series, so naturally I enjoy this book, though it isn't my favorite out of the series. Orb is beautiful - though not as beautiful as Niobe - and for a female in Piers Anthony's world, is smart. She's still mostly a one-dimensional character, as all the women in his books are, but she's not as bad as most of the females in his books.

The first half of the book is nice because you really get to know Orb, however, the storyline drags, and isn't terribly magical/fantasy/incarnation-y. The second half of the book involves Orb being lied to-alot- and she's so clueless she doesn't pick up on ANY of it (a few scenes/times I can believe, but a few of the scenes are just so obvious that there is something WRONG with it, that I want to shake her entire body until she stops being an idiot)

This book was intended to end the series, and ended up not being the final book - mostly because Piers Anthony was making a crap ton of money off of it, so why would you stop writing?

(Sadly I keep staring at my computer screen, trying to add something else to this review, and I'm failing miserably)
Profile Image for Diana.
1,521 reviews84 followers
June 11, 2019
Re-read 2018

The second book in the series that focuses on a female main character. Orb is a musician who is traveling the world looking for a specific magical song called the Llano She ends up in an old style traveling circus, however, this circus is a bit different being in a land that has magic there are Lamia and wizards as well as jugglers and various animals. Orb brings a twist to the series she is the first main character who knows about the Incarnations, her mother Niobe has become an aspect of fate. So when she is given the choice she knows what she is getting into. The book is very much a product of its time. The women in these books have to make choices that make little to no sense now, most of us would decide to have/do everything and not make that choice. Definitely read this series, it is an interesting take on the aspects that some believe work in our lives.
Profile Image for M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews.
4,076 reviews336 followers
January 31, 2019
I picked up this book at the library at my highschool (having since graduated) I was not aware that it was part of a series, it had simply caught my interest so I picked it up and checked out. I was a bit confused, since it was the fifth in a series, but the story still reads very well on its own, and after I read more Incarnations books, the stories made sense, especially since right after this, I picked up With a Tangled Skein, and it helped me to better understand the relationships between Orb and Niobe, and their respective roles as Incarnations. Overall a great book.
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,864 reviews371 followers
June 4, 2012
My first introduction to Piers Anthony--I'm wondering what the fuss is about? I liked it well enough to finish is and to read another in the series. But I don't like his portrayal of female characters as overly emotional, none too bright and easily leaving their children behind with people they don't know very well. You'd think a man with daughters would have a higher opinion of the feminine gender.
Profile Image for Matt Guion.
34 reviews46 followers
January 2, 2017
The series thus far has been very mixed, with the first book being by far the best, the second by far the worst, the third being mostly pretty good, and the fourth being mostly pretty bad. So where does this one fall in the spectrum?

. . . meh.

There are definitely aspects of this story that I like. The book focuses around the last Incarnation, the Incarnation of Nature, who at this point in the series, is the most mysterious of the Incarnations, seeming to wield even more power than Incarnations normally do. Orb, who we've met in a couple previous books, will eventually become the Incarnation of Nature, but unlike the previous four books, it doesn't happen until the last third of the novel.

For the first two thirds of the novel, Orb is seeking a particular song known as the Llano, a song of great magic which, when wielded by the right person in the right way, can . . . well, pretty much do anything, actually. As we progress through the novel, it emerges that in discovering and learning the Llano, Orb is learning the power of the Incarnation of Nature. Orb has a special aptitude for music. Not only is she a talented musician, but when she sings and plays, there is a particular magic that operates, which we've seen in various other characters throughout the series. So it is natural, therefore, that she should become Nature, which makes a certain amount of sense given how other Incarnations have gained their offices. The story does, then, follow the usual format. We're introduced to the mortal Orb, she learns the magic of Nature--though without realizing it--and then Satan shows up and we get the plot part of the story.

The idea of a song that is essentially one with nature is an interesting one, and I liked the early parts of the book that showed Orb searching for the Llano. As with so many things that Piers Anthony writes about, however, the Llano became simultaneously too vague and too technical to really hold my interest anymore. It went from something mysterious and mystical to a song that could literally do anything, provided you sang the exact correct theme. It got tiresome after a while, and lost a lot of what made it interesting in the first place.

The other thing the story revolves around is a prophecy we heard earlier in the series that Orb might marry Satan, the Incarnation of Evil. Prophecies fulfilling themselves is another common Anthony theme, and oftentimes, I do like how the prophecies play out, and I liked parts of this. The idea of Satan being capable of love is interesting, the idea of someone being capable of loving Satan is interesting, and the idea of Satan being able to play the part of a loving individual to such an extent as to fool everyone is interesting. The execution of these ideas, however, was lacking. The character of Natasha is dropped into the narrative far too abruptly, and we don't really get to know him as a character before it's revealed that he's Satan, so the twist doesn't have much of an impact. That particular plot twist was, overall, pretty weak, pretty much just, "It was all a dream." I would have rather seen something more clever from Satan. Natasha should have been around from the beginning, someone who was always a part of Orb's life and who she had grown to trust and love, before revealing that he was Satan. That would mean Satan was devious enough to fool, not just the Incarnations, but Orb for her entire life.

In general, it seems that I like the idea of this story more than the story itself. I would have liked to have seen a story about a magical musician looking for this mystical song, falling in love with a fellow musician who is also looking for the song, only to learn that she is learning to be the Incarnation of Nature and has fallen in love with Satan. There was so much more that could have been done with this story, but the result is pretty boring. I liked the beginning and the very end. Pretty much when Orb joined the band, that was when the story lost me. The story becomes quickly ridiculous and none of the supporting characters are particularly interesting or engaging. Hell, the other band members don't even have names! They're constantly referred to as "the drummer," "the guitarist," "the organist." Seriously, how hard would it have been to just give them names?

And the thing is, this book was originally supposed to have been the conclusion to the series. Obviously, it didn't end up being so, but it still feels like this book was pretty pointless in the scheme of the series. Aside from the resolution of the prophecy, nothing really happens. The biggest thing that happens is the world ending, but that's undone by time travel. The whole book basically turned into a very long, very uninteresting build-up for the last chapter . . . as well as a set-up for the next book in the series. But on its own, this book was kind of a slog. It wasn't as bad as two or even the worst parts of four, but it just didn't do much of anything for me. It had a lot of promise, but ultimately fell flat.

Worth Rating: Worth skimming through
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Joan.
2,000 reviews
February 3, 2023
I just erased my last review for this title since it was discussing another title in the series. This one concerned the headstrong second child Niobe bore, a girl named Orb. Orb has the family magic of incredible facility with music. In her case, such facility that she could use magic to control Nature itself. Being hotheaded, she makes a complete mess of this ability when it got combined with love of Evil. This was extremely well done. The ending is surprising, romantic and beautiful. However, the author’s note was not nearly as interesting in this book. I find it interesting that he dismisses any accusations against him as nonsense because he was approaching the 30th anniversary of marriage to a preacher's daughter. I also am surprised by how shocked he was that animals can have negative emotions such as getting even for prior poor treatment. Both seem a bit simplistic for a man who considered himself, correctly at the time, to be near the top of the fantasy genre! I''m going to keep reading the extension of this series for now. I'm curious to see how they may differ from the first 5 books after a break of years.
Profile Image for Matt.
439 reviews
April 21, 2013
Initially, this fifth book was meant to be the last of the Incarnations of Immortality series. Piers Anthony lets his imagination flow a bit more freely in Being a Green Mother. Most of the loose ends are tied up fairly well and the Kaftan family tree is filled out. The book is much less formulaic than the previous four. The story is not so much about adjusting to the immortal office of Nature as much as the process of assuming it.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,820 followers
February 18, 2010
I couldn't get through this one....if you're a fan go for it.

I read the incarnation of Death book first, and really felt they faded with each book after. So it goes sometimes. For Anthony fans I assume you will like this, but as I said, I just couldn't get into it at all.
731 reviews
July 26, 2022
OK, so, I keep reading these even though they are super weird and kind of gross.

I like that there are women characters who have complexity--who think about things like love and meaning and community and family, who are conflicted and flawed and strong. But mostly they are hot and young or used to be hot and young or are somehow failing to be hot and young and having the narrator point that out for them. Repeatedly.

There are some weird things: like Jonah from the Bible is actually a fish himself, who cannot travel in water but instead through air and earth, whose insides shape themselves to carrying people around (there is even suggestion of a "bathroom" inside him? WTF?) with bony shelves and seating areas and such. And he doesn't talk to the people inside, but he can project them when they talk about others (although mostly the women hear the men talking about them. When the women talk about what boors the men are, he doesn't seem to project that to the men. There is one mention of them "sleeping" at the time they are getting talked about. Sigh.) And as usual magic alongside science with limited explanation about what that means for each of those. I liked the descriptions of nature and magic alongside the music she learns, how it grows and swells and affects the world.

They're so titillating. Nakedness or buttocks outlined by wet or tight fabric. Upper thighs visible while playing a harp. A lascivious gypsy dance. Moments like these confirm that I am not the target audience--young, male, straight gaze and all.

The ending is LUDICROUS. And this is less the story of how the office of the Green Mother works than a woman gaining power that seems to have no downsides--she can cure addiction and demon curses and produce rain for wherever and none of it has any backlash or requires any counterweight (if she makes it rain somewhere, doesn't that mean somewhere else won't get it? The implication is she can fix everything, everywhere, at any time and is really only limited by her personal interactions with people or her vision of who needs help. She just chooses to help those she knows). The song of chaos is NOT presented as a backlash to all of this, just the natural result of invoking it in the first place.
Profile Image for Penny.
4 reviews1 follower
September 28, 2017
I really love this series, but this book I just didn't like. Not because of the writing or anything, but because I just felt the main character never got a break.
Profile Image for Amanda.
544 reviews35 followers
September 19, 2009
I'd really been looking forward to reading this book as part of this series. I'd enjoyed the female perspective of Fate, and after being not overly thrilled with War, I thought Gaea would be fun to read.

It was and it wasn't.

I liked it, I really did. Orb is an okay character. She's the Luna's aunt and Niobe's daughter and Mym's ex-lover and Orlene's mother, and I really do like when books tie together like this. It's fun reading and finding the connections, especially in this series.

There were also some really good things about the plot of this book. The side characters are good, such as the band Orb travels with and Natasha, the one Orb eventually falls in love with. I have to admit that my favorite part came at the end. Is it wrong that I was rooting for her to marry Satan?

There were also alot of things I didn't like about the book. For one, Orb is supposed to be angry. It's told at the beginning of the book and then it comes into play at the end. By the time I got to the end, I'd forgotten that she had a temper. It also reads like a surreal version of "Moulin Rouge." There's alot of singing, and alot of "let's sing together and then we'll fall in love" parts that made me wonder if a group of cats or a guy in a technicolor coat were slated for a double feature. I got the point: Orb's power comes from music, and this power is what leads her to take the role of Gaea. I still wonder if there would have been a way to portray this with a slightly lower score on the cheese scale.

The end tied it together though and sort of saved the book for me. I have three books to go in this series. As far as rankings, this book falls somewhere in the middle of those I've finished to date.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Nyssa Walsh.
89 reviews
May 9, 2013
Another female character, and I loved it! This whole series has been amazing, and Green Mother did not let me down! She had a particularly strange life story leading up to her transformation. In fact, I feel like Pale Horse was the most grounded, and each story got more magical and less tied to reality.

When I first picked up this book there was a spoiler in the very first sentence of the review, so I'm not going to say anything about the plot; if you've been paying attention it all seems to make a lot of sense by this point. But then again, if you're like me, you've just been floating along in the waters of Anthony's stories, not looking too far ahead, not expecting anything, not being prepared, just letting the story flow over me.

One thing that I haven't mentioned so far in any of my Piers Anthony reviews: I LOVE the author's notes at the end of the stories! It's like a quick pick-me-up after the story has ended. I'm not quite ready to leave the world behind me, and Anthony gives me another look at the story, and a peek into his own life--always fascinating and moving. I'm starting to feel like I really know who he is, and it gives me a very intimate understanding of his writing and stories. I can see how people can get so attached to him as an author, I feel like he gives his readers unique access to his personal life and it may be difficult to know the difference between reality and fiction.
Profile Image for Terri.
513 reviews
October 19, 2020
This is more readable than Wielding a Red Sword, but still a lot of strange stuff going on! Flying whales, grungy rock bands, etc., etc. It was interesting how Orb/Gaea learns to control herself and strengthen her powers, but like the incarnations in books before this one, she almost ends the world doing so. The final scene, with the wedding in Hell, is pretty impressive, though!
Profile Image for Jeffrey House.
9 reviews1 follower
July 20, 2013
Now this one was good a twist in the fact that most of it contains her learning things and a great amount of all the prior books listed into it while still being its own story, if you had not read the other books in some sense it could ruin parts of the earlier books but on the other hand who would read out of order?

Profile Image for Goth Gone Grey.
1,026 reviews47 followers
March 13, 2023
While other books in the series had random side quests that didn't always mesh, Orb's story feels cohesive and believable, even with fantastic elements. She seeks a song with power to heal - music does, indeed have power, so I appreciate this theme.

Along her journey, she befriends Gypsies, here written as a "lusty folk" who enjoy travel, song, and dance. Ok, fine, ridiculously erotic dance, because this is Piers Anthony:

"The whole was stylized, and each couple was coordinated; it was indeed an established dance. Watching it, Orb could understand why the typical Gypsy girl was sexually active before menarche, and a mother in her early teens. For children were dancing, too, exchanging the same suggestive stares. She saw girls no older than six flaunting their hips and showing their thighs. It could have been a joke, but was not; every motion was choreographed, just so, even the most lascivious. Orb could appreciate how a man could be excited by the youngest of such girls, and she herself experienced a rush of desire as she watched the men."

So, yeah, the overly sexualized, pedo-justifying writing style? No changes there. I think I'm becoming numb to it at this point.

This is the book where everything built up in previous books comes together. Sning, Luna, Orb, the various Incarnations, and Satan goes from stylized stereotyped Lucifer to intriguingly mortal.

Disclosure: For Love of Evil is my absolute favorite in the series and most likely the start of my fascination with morally ambiguous characters.

Many reviewers noted laziness in not naming the members of The Living Sludge, instead referring to them by their instruments. They were more background characters, semi-interchangeable other than their love interests, so the lack of names didn't bother me.
Profile Image for Kaiju Reviews.
355 reviews27 followers
January 3, 2023
I read this series all the way up to For the Love of Evil until quitting. Seeing now that there are two in the series that I haven't read does trigger that OCD incompletion stress in my brain, but unless these become available at my library on audio, I won't complete them.

As for the others, I read them when I was between eleven and maybe sixteen years old. Here's how they ranked:

On a Pale Horse: - 5 stars. This blew my young mind. I loved it and gave it to everyone I knew that liked to read (aka, two other people).

Bearing an Hourglass - 4 stars. I loved this cover and also loved this book. Still remember scenes from it. Disgustingly, I still remember the dog going backwards and sucking up a turd into its butt. Why Anthony had to put that in, I don't know, I wish he hadn't.

With a Tangled Skein - 3 stars. This one started to lose me. I remember it being confusing and all over the place.

Wielding a Red Sword - 3 stars. Hard to say. My memory says I loved this, but the skeptical part of my brain asks, 'are you sure?'

Being a Green Mother - 2.5 stars. Beginning to age out of these at this point. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it.

For the Love of Evil - 1 star rounded up to two (yes, I know, that's not how rounding works): Read this waaaaay later. A nostalgic read likely triggered by the aforementioned completionist defect in my brain. I very distinctly remembered not liking it at all and wondering what the hell was the matter with my kid self.

Whether these books are objectively bad (I suspect they might be) or not, I can't say, but they held a very important part of my young reading journey, and for that, I will always love them.
11 reviews
February 19, 2020
I picked up this book because I wanted to believe it would be better than "With a Tangled Skien" by the same author. But I was sorely disappointed.

This book, like the rest of the series, has a wonderful concept and a lot of potential. But the author's writing style is horrendous, and the way he treats women in his stories is nothing short of appalling.

The lead character of this story, Orb (yes, that's right), might be one of the most inept characters I've read in any book ever, let alone in this series. She's a terrible caricature of all the stereotypical bad traits a woman could have, but on steroids. The only potentially "interesting" thing about her was that she has a temper. But even then, it was only brought up once during her introduction, and never mentioned again until nearing the climax of the story. Frankly, it's a little insulting to the concept of Gaia that this was the woman Piers Antony decided put in this particular Incarnation.

To sum up the story, Orb spends the first 3/4 of the book looking for a magic song. But in a "plot twist" that would surprise literally no one, the song was inside her all along. That's when she gets conscripted as the Incarnation of Nature, Gaea.

The last 1/4 of the book deals with the temper tantrum Orb throws that begins Armageddon when she finds out the handsome young man she has fallen in love with, Natasha, is in fact "Ah, Satan".... Yes, Piers Anthony really did that. She spends this chunk of the book flying aimlessly around the world to visit all the friends she's made (and who's lives she has ruined because of the tantrum), wringing her hands and saying over and over "I hope this gets better soon!"

The climax of the story is a psychological abuser's wet dream, when Satan reveals that Orb can make it all better by having Chronos go back in time and make the Armageddon never happen on one condition: she has to marry Satan. It isn't a hard choice because, dammit, Orb is head over heals in love with Natasha/Ah, Satan! And then, because the author is an abuse/assault apologist, Satan professes his love in such a good way at the wedding, he literally ascends to Heaven.

Again, if you value your time (and in this case sanity), steer clear of this book, it's an actual train wreck.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
48 reviews5 followers
September 14, 2018
The first three quarters of this book, I would give 5 stars. It is fast paced. The characters, with the exclusion of the main character, Orb , are generally snapshots, but have detail to make them interesing.
Where this book starts to drag is when Orb becomes Gaia, The Green Mother (not really a spoiler, its the name of the book). Anthony does not seem to have as much of a handle on this incarnation as he has had on others. The subplots are actually more interesting than the main theme towards the end. With out giving anything away, the book flounders about at the end until the author (ironically) uses a deus ex machina to reach a semi-conclusion. Part of this is a set up for the next book For Love of Evil It is hard maintain the "stand alone" feel of books in a series over the long haul. As the series moves into the last two books (now three with the addition of Under a Velvet Cloak seventeen years later in 2007) there are a lot of loose ends to be tied up. In theatre there is a phrase, "playing the end." It happens when a actor is not "in the moment" but is projecting the mood and tone of the end of the play. The last third or fourth of this book falls victim to that and suffers for it.
Profile Image for Sergio.
153 reviews1 follower
January 7, 2019
I read a review that pointed out that as this series progressed the instalments diminished in quality and I have to say that I agree. In this book our heroine doesn't have to do anything to win the day. Up until this point, all of the other Incarnations, had to use their wits and powers to defeat the bad guy, not so in this case. It felt like she stumbled from place to place, never really doing anything besides being the focus of the entire plot.

Also, I complained that there was a lot of filler in these books, and this one is the worst offender. Rather than telling a compelling adventure story, what we got was a rehash of plot lines from earlier volumes, a recap of a series of concerts, and and absolutely bland resolution to the entire series. In my opinion, a total letdown. In no way did I feel any tension or uncertainty about the end result. I certainly wasn't invested or cheering for the good guys, which is not a good sign.

One thing that I have to give credit to the author for is the conceptualisation of the whole series. He really thought out the world, the lore, the magic, the rules, etc. The problem is that the stories he told in this universe were never really that good, with the exception of the first novel in the series. I still have three more books to read, but I'm not really sure if I want to. The bad guy basically lost the game, so I wonder where the overall story is going with the three remaining novels.

I read these books when I was in High School and I remember I loved them. That's why I decided to re-read them. It was a mistake. These books have not aged well, and they are not that good to begin with.
Profile Image for HoopoeGirl.
338 reviews
July 8, 2018
This book was great! Great for 12-year-old me. Reading again much further down the road and, ugh, so not what I remember. The writing is basic, the characters flat, the dialog banal. Ah, for the rose-colored glasses of youth when Orb was magical, and her story a romantic, fantastical voyage.

Yeah, it's really not. She is whiny, contradictory, weak, and immature. Add to that a constant barrage of convenient plot points, like how there are over 5 billion people in the world (back in '87 when this was published), and all the Incarnations are related by blood or relationships. Riiiight. Not to mention that the interweaving of the Incarnations' stories at best detracts and at worse muddies and simplifies Orb's individual story.

I would absolutely still recommend these as fantasy/mythology books for early teens. For adults? Don't bother unless you're looking for a grade-school level read.
Profile Image for K.D. Reid.
Author 4 books14 followers
November 26, 2018
This is my second favorite in the series so far. As with all of the others, following the phenomenal first book about Death was just a really difficult thing to accomplish. Gaia's character has been hyped throughout the series, so naturally (pun fully intended), coming into this book was very exciting. The big disappointment was when it became apparent that Gaia's powers and office would not be as elaborated as the others had been, and that the reader wouldn't get to become as intimate with Gaia as she doesn't assume her office until later in the book. This entire series is coming together beautifully, and I can't wait to get into the next book.
Profile Image for Gail.
Author 28 books200 followers
January 14, 2019
I vaguely remember reading this a long, long time ago, when the book and series were new. I remember, I think, being frustrated with it. And I think this is why: first, Anthony writes in a rather dry, unemotional style, somewhat like being told what happened rather than experiencing it for oneself. I prefer not being kept at a distance. Then, he has a tendency to get wrapped up in symbolism and complex ideas which don't often make a lot of sense to me. The first book in this series, the one about the incarnation of Death, made sense and had a lot of emotional heft. This one... didn't. It was interesting, but not involving. So. It's a good read. I liked it. But I still found it frustrating.
Profile Image for Steve R.
1,051 reviews33 followers
May 15, 2019
The fifth novel in Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series, this work tells the story of Orb, who is on a quest to find a magical song which is the supposedly most beautiful the world will have ever heard. Her encounters with a band of gypsies, a rock and roll band, and many others fill the story, while the prophecy that she will become Gaea (Nature) if she can avoid having to marry Satan provides a lot of her motivation. Things become difficult when Satan assumes the disguise of a man with whom she falls in love. Only the most general of positive impressions is remembered from this reading of two plus decades ago.
Profile Image for LieutBubbles.
32 reviews1 follower
August 15, 2019
Review I sort of want Orb's life however, reading this in my thirties I think she whinges too much. Also in a roundabout way this book taught me about leadership and making friends in order to make friends you have to be a friend.

If you want the best experience I highly recommend reading them all in order and then the second time you read the series obviously many years later. read Death, time, and these four books together "for love of evil - start.and stop When Cleo is introduced. Read Fate all the way. Back to Evil. Finally read War and Earth together. Finish evil.

Or maybe one day I'll sit down and compile them all into one chronological book. Who knows. Natasha...lol
Profile Image for Sarah Ashworth-Pace.
26 reviews4 followers
September 14, 2021
I had to DNF this and it hurt my soul.
The first book in this series is one of the books I send quotes to people the most. The witty humor and theological ideas in that book carried me through when i was going through a tough time. The second and third book of the series are pretty good too. The fourth book however had some really problematic ideas, and they carried through right into this one. I actually had to start annotating it just trying to make it through (I included some highlights in the pictures). Now I’m second guessing my love for the rest of the series and I need to give it a reread to see if maybe I’m just older and seeing these things.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 261 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.