Jan 24, 2008

[Books] Bearing an Hourglass (Incarnations of Immortality - Book 2)

Bearing an Hourglass (Incarnations of Immortality - Book 2)When my partner first introduced me to the Incarnations of Immortality by Piers Anthony, we only had copies of the first and the third books, which is always disappointing to an avid reader like myself who hates starting any series with a gap in the stories. Fortunately, the books are semi-independent and each have a pretty solid story apart from the others, so it turned out to be not so bad in the long run.

When I did get a chance to pick up the remaining titles (thus far we own 7 out of the 8 books already), I got pretty excited about the whole thing but didn't quite have the time to read them all just yet. Besides, I wanted to savor things. Eventually, I picked up this second book to get the ball rolling since I had read the ones before and after it many, many times already. Although I hadn't finished the series, from the very start of the book I knew this one was going to be very different.

Bearing An Hourglass is the second book in the series and this time follows the tale of Norton, which you have to admit is a rather lackluster name, who takes up the mantle of the Incarnation of Time, also known as Chronus. If the first book was pretty straightforward in its depiction of a familiar character in the personification of Death, this book follows an Incarnation that isn't as typical and is equally complicated.

Of all the Incarnations books I've read thus far (and I admit I haven't finished them all just yet), it's the book that is heaviest in terms of the science fiction aspect as compared to the fantasy side of things given it deals with time travel and quantum physics in one form or another. For this world, the only reason a human being taking the office of Time knows the future is the fact that he lives backwards through time. It's a lot harder to understand than you think.

To complicate matters further, Time's source of his power is his Hourglass, a magical artifact that allows him to travel back and forth through time along with freezing time or reversing his own progress through history in order to converse with other individuals in "normal" time. The Hourglass plays a very key role in the progress of the story more than the vestments and conveyance of Death played in the previous book and following Norton along in terms of his attempts to master the device is essential to keeping in touch with the story. Some may find this to be an interesting intellectual challenge while others may just find this frustrating. Guess where I am in terms of how I received this novel, hahaha!

This plot of this particular story is highly complex (I keep saying that, don't I?) but once you get past the worst of it, you'll find that it was masterfully set up and executed as well as possible considering the scope of what Piers Anthony was setting out to do with this character.

This title remains to be one of my favorite in the entire series mainly for the intellectual stimulation it provided for me and I'm sure there are other geeky readers out there who might enjoy it as much as I have.

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