Some of Xanth's citizens are accomplished wizards, while others can do simple tricks like make a spot appear on a wall. But, Xanthian law states that if you reach the age of 25 without showing evidence of some magical ability, you are forced to leave to the non-magical land of Mundane.
Bink is 25 and is banished to Mundane.
In Mundane, he meets the evil wizard Trent, who was banished decades before for trying to usurp the throne of Xanth. He then meets Fanchon, an intelligent ugly woman, who fled Xanth for reasons of her own. The three travel together, encounter adventures, overcome dangerous magical creatures and plants, collaborate, and fight. Bink wrestles with moral questions, such as: What does it mean to be an Evil Wizard; and is it ok to be attracted to females of another species if she has big breasts; and do I prefer dumb pretty women or smart ugly women or something in between or a variety?
A Spell for Chameleon was so popular that author Piers Anthony decided to convert his planned trilogy into an ongoing series that now extends
Anthony creates an imaginative world, filled with wonders and dangers and his characters are relatable, even if he spends a bit too much time explaining their motivations, rather than letting the reader discover these themselves.
Anthony also brings a lot of puns and other wordplay into his narrative, which can be entertaining.
The book is a fable with a couple morals - everyone is special and worthwhile in their own way, even if it is not obvious to others; and evil is defined by those in power, rather than by absolute laws. The messages are a bit heavy-handed, but they mostly work.
However, I found parts of the story to be troubling.
Anthony comes across as sexist, giving undue attention to the physical appearance of females. Also, Bink participates in a rape trial and the conclusions (the judge's remarks and Bink's opinions) made me more than a little uncomfortable.
A Spell for Chameleon reads like a children's book, but there is too much sex for it to be appropriate to children. Still, it had enough creativity to hold my attention.