Knot Gneiss, by Piers Anthony – This is the thirty-fourth book in the Xanth series, and really, there’s not much new here. The fact that Anthony acknowledges his plots are formulaic doesn’t change the fact that they ARE formulaic. And while I actually like puns (gee, I’m sure no one could guess THAT), Anthony often strains both to make them work and to fit them into the story. If you’ve tried Anthony and didn’t care for his work, this one isn’t going to change your mind. But if you’re like me and have read the other thirty-three, you’re probably going to read this anyway. The plot involves Wenda Woodwife, a character introduced in the previous book, trying to retrieve a knot of petrified reverse wood for the Good Magician Humfrey. As usual, she recruits multiple companions, and some of them eventually hook up. One odd thing about this one is that Dor has apparently abdicated and left his daughter Ivy to serve as king (according to Xanthian law, a queen can’t reign over the country, but there’s nothing to stop a woman from being king), but this is only mentioned in asides. You’d think such a change in the political landscape would have merited its own story. Oh, well. This wasn’t one of my favorite Xanth books, but it was all right.
The Bouncy Bunnies in Oz, by Marin Elizabeth Xiques – I like Marin and have enjoyed other Oz books she’s written or co-written, but this one really didn’t do much for me. It was nice to see some expansion on the city of Thi, first introduced in The Lost Princess of Oz, but there isn’t that much of a plot. What there is involves a Thist named Thornton Etchasketch who has adopted three hyperactive young rabbits, and his developing relationship with another Thist called Thora Sunnydee. I guess I have the same feeling about this as I do with some of the other shorter books published by Tails of the Cowardly Lion and Friends. There are some good ideas, but they really should have been saved for a more substantial story.