Saturday, April 25, 2009

Book Series Review: Incarnations of Immortality

I recently finished Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series. The writing style is wooden at best, with many of the characters having the same dialog styles in the earlier books. Also, the plot lines are a little far-fetched. "You've defeated the Evil Sorceress, but now you must defeat...the Eviler Sorceress!" But I'm not reviewing the series for the writing style or the plot lines. I'm reviewing this series because it falls under a very important category of literature: books kept around not so much for their literary merit, but because they preserve mythology by explaining it in contemporary terms.

The premise of the series is that the roles of Death, Time, Fate, etc., are performed by mortal humans who have temporary immortality as long as they are doing the job. There are seven books in all:
  1. On a Pale Horse (Incarnations of Immortality, Bk. 1)

  2. Bearing An Hourglass (Incarnations of Immortality, Book 2)

  3. With a Tangled Skein (Book Three of Incarnations of Immortality)

  4. Wielding a Red Sword (Incarnations of Immortality)

  5. Being a Green Mother (Incarnations of Immortality, Book Five)

  6. For Love of Evil: Book Six of Incarnations of Immortality

  7. And Eternity (Incarnations of Immortality)
There's a surprise ending, but that's not the point. The point is that these incarnations represent forces that are present in the universe, and by the Law of Correspondence (As above, so below), are also present in us. So how would you act if it were your job to collect souls that were in the balance? Or to supervise wars? We may not have those literal roles, but we do have corresponding roles in our own lives. For example, we may have to assess parts of our lives that need to die, or be transformed. Or we may need to resolve conflicts. Or we may need to evaluate parts of our lives in terms of long-term goals. So read the series, and pay attention. The life you improve may be your own.

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