I was a fan of Piers Anthony, growing up. From A Spell for Chameleon on, his books addressed serious issues directly, approachably, and with a sense of humor. There were puns! There were extensive, autobiographical author notes.
I remember reading the Tarot series, borrowed from a relative, fairly early on in our acquaintance. It wasn’t my favorite, but I liked it. It got me mildly and briefly in tarot as an entertainment.
I kept on with Anthony for quite some time, but eventually, my favorite – and his most popular – series, Xanth, just got too silly, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I tried a new Xanth book recently, Isis Orb, and it wasn’t any better. I blamed it in part on Anthony, like Heinlein and others before him, losing focus and getting too caught up in sex as he aged. Re-reading God of Tarot, though, I’m not so sure.
I’d forgotten just how much of the book was about sex. As a teenager, it was probably titillating. As a middle-aged adult, I found it juvenile and dull. It’s also about religion and some serious topics – but more shallowly treated than I recalled. The religious aspects purports to address all religions, but it’s very Judeo-Christian in focus.
The book is part of Anthony’s Cluster universe, and knowing those aspects adds another dimension, though the book functions without it. Anthony makes the point that this is only part one of a longer story, not entirely a standalone book, though it can work as one.
I wish I could say that I enjoyed God of Tarot as much on re-read as I did originally. I see that I’ve previously given it (though based on memory, long after I read it initially) a rating of 4/5. Now, I’m giving it far less – 2.5/5. It’s still well-intended, but to an adult, the flaws are much, much larger than they were to my younger mind. Even allowing for its time – the late 70s – it’s just not as good a book as I remembered. I don’t see going on to the other two books in the series any time soon.