Mar 13, 2008

[Books] And Eternity (Incarnations of Immortality - Book 7)

And Eternity (Incarnations of Immortality - Book 7)Well, it's finally over. After several weeks of reading (and several years of collecting), I've finished reading the seventh book in the Incarnations of Immortality series, And Eternity. Yes, I know there's still Under a Velvet Cloak floating around out there for me to find it, but at least for now I'm pretty much done with the series.

It's been a fulfilling exercise and there's nothing quite like getting through a series of books like this. It's always enjoyable how characters are allowed to become more fully developed across several titles and how the plot threads get to be more and more interwoven into a complex fabric of sorts. The series has attempted to end several times, first with Being a Green Mother and again with this book. And thus this title does an interesting job of trying to tie up all the lose ends, thus making this a logical conclusion to the series, at least for now.

And Eternity follows the tale of Jolie, the ghost Satan / Parry originally fell in love with when they were both perfectly mortal, who is now attached to Gaea, the Incarnation of Nature. She learns of the death of Orlene, technically Gaea's daughter (unbeknown to her) and goes off to her only to discover she has become a ghost as well, unwilling to go to Heaven because of her desire to find her baby in the afterlife.

More and more it feels like Piers Anthony was a bit pressured not to follow the loose framework that was primarily followed in the first 5 books where we first meet the Incarnation-to-be as a mortal, learn of how they each transition into the role and finally follow their first adventures in the new office and their first run-in with Satan, the Lord of Lies.

When it came to For Love of Evil, he had to break that mode since naturally there would be no chance for Satan to confront himself, following the aforementioned pattern. Instead, we got to see more of his life as a mortal also tempted by the lures of evil and eventually his side of the tale in terms of how he dealt with each of the Incarnations in turn.

With this title, you are faced with three primary characters acting in a triumvirate of sorts similar to the Holy Trinity of the Christian faith - Jolie, Orlene and Vita, who becomes their human host as they search for Orlene's baby. I have to admit that I was left guessing who would ultimately take the mantle of the Office of Good since all three characters had their own potential and at the same time their own reasons for not taking the office. I liked that aspect of it - despite having survived the six books prior, Piers Anthony still had me guessing with this book and I like that kind of challenge in things, especially when it comes to books.

This is not to say this is my favorite in the series - I think other books had more intricate plots and stronger characters and this title has its fair share of somewhat shallow moments / characterizations. Piers Anthony always seems to have moments like this and I can't blame him - any writer who has written as much as he has will stumble a smidgen every now and then.

But the rest of it is all good.

It certainly poses some interesting questions in terms of the nature of divinity and I'm sure some more conservative readers must have taken offense at his way of humanizing God. Still, it works for me and it doesn't burden itself with being overly philosophical and yet at the same time remains pretty profound in its own right.

This is truly not your everyday type of fantasy writing.

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