One of the most evident faults of Xanth's novels is its use of gratuitous sexuality. Generally, every female character in Piers's novels is voluptuious, seductive, and is often times reduced to nothing more than a plain sexual object. For instance, the first time Bink meets Chamelon in "A Spell for Chamelon", he thinks "How could she avoid being seductive? She was a creature conducted for no other visual purpose than ra- than love." Without any other evidence than her physical appearance, Bink has come to the conclusion that Chamelon is a bimbo. Some may argue that Chamelon, when she was in this phase, was stupid, and so this was not a faulty judgement. But remember, at this point in the novel, Bink has not even talked to Chamelon, he bases his entire judgement on physical qualities. This inverse relationship between physical appearance and intellect seems to be a trend in Xanth novels, he uses the charicture of the pretty, seductive, but not to smart maiden charicature throughout his novels. In many ways, I think Anthony places these characters in his novels to appeal to the sexual fantasies of his (largely) adolescent fan base. He also does this through constant sexual innuendo in his novels. Let's take an early example, when Bink is talking to his first girlfriend Sabrina. Bink says at one point "I just wanted to see your-your"...Sabrina..."see my what?" she inquired with an arch lift of eyebrow. he felt the heat starting up his neck."Your holograph" he blurted. There was more of her he longed to see, and to touch, but that came only after marriage." It is moments like these that most Anthony fans drool over. As you noticed in the plot summary I treated the Xanth trilogy like one book. That is because the entire series is in essence the same book repeated over and over again. Before he even reads the first page of a Xanth novel the reader is assured that the main character will wander around for several pages, meet his future spouse, and then finish with a happy ending. I have no problem with this plot in of itself. But the fact that Piers Anthony has repeated it so many times, and will probably continue to do so well into the next Millenium is pretty bland.
Finally, Piers Anthony seems to use the same exact characters over and over again in his novels. The hero is always a relatively naive, medium height, yokel, who's only truly salient feature is that he is really big on honor and honesty (to the point of it being extremely boring). The female is generally a voluptuous maiden that happily follows the male character around, providing sexual tension for the novel whenever Anthony feels necessary to make the novel more interesting. The only time her role changes is at the end of the novel, when she proclaims her love for the hero and helps to provide a happy ending to the novel.
As I said before the main reason I dislike Anthony is that his novels are everything that is a stereotypically bad fantasy/science fiction novel. Taken alone his novels would provide ample proof that fantasy writers are second-rate hacks that produce works which lack any depth of thought. I certainly do not believe this. Good Science Fiction/Fantasy has provided the world with works that speculate about human existence and his role in the universe, provide social commentary, and prepare us for the future. The Xanth novels are at best reasonably well written pulp fiction.