Sweet Myth-tery of Life

December 8, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , , , )

sweetSweet Myth-tery of Life by Robert Asprin

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The One About the Women

So, Skeeve can sometimes be full of himself. Being the narrator, and being the heart that holds M.Y.T.H. Inc. together, can do that to a person. He can also be a bit clueless, which is part of his charm, but all those aspects of his character come together in this book, where he finds himself trying to solve the mystery of women. Seeing as he’s inept with them up to and including this book, it makes for an interesting plot, except that the book doesn’t really have one.

Its premise is that he has to decide whether to marry Queen Hemlock, who has given him the choice of marrying her to help rule the kingdom, or not marry her, at which point she will abdicate the throne and leave him to rule the kingdom anyway. Over the course of the book, he has to think about Hemlock, Tananda, Luanne, Bunny, and Massha, along with Kalvin, the djinn from Myth-nomers and Im-pervections, and his wife and what they mean to him. It’s a bit troublesome for me, as Asprin takes these characters who are all fulfilled and reduces them to objects for Skeeve to consider.

Hemlock and Luanne aren’t developed enough to be more than just objects, and Tananda, Bunny, and Massha keep the characteristics that make them more than objects, but they’re still evaluated that way over the course of the story. Skeeve even admits that he doesn’t even think of Massha as a woman, due to her size. He reduces these women to their attractiveness. This isn’t a new thing in the series (Tananda is often described physically before anything else, as if that is her most important attribute), but it became more noticeable in this book, where everything is about these women and their attractiveness.

Aside from all that, the book isn’t as engaging because nothing really happens. Skeeve has to decide what to do about Queen Hemlock, and he does (with about as much of an anticlimax as there was in M.Y.T.H. Inc. Link), but otherwise it’s just about Skeeve moping and mooning about his decision. In addition, this book is peppered with typos (including a bunch of “it’s” for “its”), which get distracting after a while. Then there’s that cliffhanger ending that leads into the final book in the series, which wasn’t published until six years after this one. Remember, I was reading these as they were released back in high school.

I can’t deny that I had fun reading the book, since it maintained the same style and feel as the previous books, but I also can’t deny that I saw a lot of problems with it. I didn’t notice them when I was younger, as I didn’t notice Piers Anthony’s problems with women in all of his books, so maybe that was still the nostalgia talking. Now, though, it’s hard to evaluate the book as a story when I find myself cringing at how Asprin portrays the female characters.

 

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