Joined: 27 Apr 2003
Location: Lawrenceville, GA
|Posted: Tue Dec 02, 2003 10:07 am Post subject: Book Review: The Crystal City by O.S. Card
|The Crystal City: The Tales of Alvin Maker Volume 6
By Orson Scott Card.
Now you all know that I'm a huge Card fan (ok maybe you don't all know... but I am), so I've had this book on hold from the library since 6 weeks before it was released. Now I think it's a bit difficult to review a book that's the 6th in a series as the people who know the series won't need much review to make their decision to read it, and those who haven't read any of the others are certainly not going to jump in at the 6th book. BUT... I'll try... Here's the quick rundown on what the Alvin Maker Series is all about. It's set in a fantasy world which is an alternate history of our own, one where all the superstitions and folklore are real. Hex's work, good luck works, and the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is a powerful thing. It's set in an America where the time lines blur around the time of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln is himself but a failed business man and not president, Napoleon is the great leader of France, but the history is all a bit mixed up. The US isn't the US, there are United States, and Crown Colonies and Spanish areas too. Alvin is the 7th son of a 7th son and has great "powers" to understand and control how things work, making water solid, healing disease, turning iron into Gold, etc, etc, etc. Kidnapped by a great Indian leader as a boy he had a vision of a Crystal City filled with people living in harmony to do good and build up the world rather than tear it down. With his wife Peggy they've been working toward abolishing slavery.
OK.... that's the rundown... there are other characters and plot lines... the main Gist is that Alvin is working against an unseen force he calls the Unmaker who is set on destroying and tearing down the world. On to THIS book... where Peggy has sent Alvin with his Brother-In-Law Arthur Stuart to Nueva Barcelona to stop a race war (basically). The story builds fairly well... and even has a cool plot/character thing in it where Card named one of the people after a fan who won a contest. As usual Card has good dialogue, and manages to throw in philosophy and thoughts on how things might work into the mix without it coming across as preachy. The plot line with Alvin's brother Calvin and Jim Bowie is interesting, though I think that at times the book feels like it has a little too much going on in it, too many plot lines. Also as usual for a Card book... I plowed through this one very quickly and finished it 2 days after I got it out of the library.
If you've read the rest of the books in this series... certainly read this one, and if you haven't read any of the Alvin Maker books... and you're into fantasy at all, you really should check out 7th Son the first book in the series.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C Clarke
"Coffee is sufficiently advanced technology" - Merlin Mann
One day I realized that sadness is just another word for not enough coffee." - Wally (Dilbert)
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