Alvin Journeyman: Talks too much

Orson Scott Card The Tales of Alvin Maker: Seventh Son, Red Prophet, Prentice Alvin, Alvin Journeyman, Heartfire, The Crystal City

Alvin Journeyman by Orson Scott Card fantasy book reviewsAlvin Journeyman by Orson Scott Card

Alvin Miller is finally a journeyman blacksmith and a Maker. He’s back home in Vigor Church, trying to teach others his Making skills because he believes he needs Makers to create the Crystal City he’s dreamed of. But the Unmaker is hard at work, trying to unravel Alvin’s plans. With the help of a girl who has a crush on Alvin, the Unmaker manages to get Alvin to flee back to Hatrack River where Makepeace Smith is waiting to sue him for that golden plow. The prosecutor is none other than Daniel Webster.

Alvin’s brother Calvin, who is jealous of Alvin, has gone to Europe to learn from Napoleon Bonaparte. While he’s there, he meets a young lawyer who is also a Maker and, inadvertently, sends him to Alvin’s defense. Meanwhile, Peggy, who continues to watch over Alvin and Calvin, is on a crusade to end slavery. She’d also like to ruin William “Tippecanoe” Harrison’s chance of being elected president. When she realizes that Alvin is in danger, she goes to warn him and picks up a transformed Mike Fink along the way.

Alvin Journeyman, which won the 1996 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, is the fourth book in Orson Scott Card’s TALES OF ALVIN MAKER. There were some great moments in Alvin Journeyman, such as when the slave finders try to identify Arthur Stuart, but at this point in the series, the plot has slowed drastically and this book feels like a detour. Alvin spends most of his time in jail and most of the word count consists of characters’ verbal sparring with each other, usually in a teasing manner. Some of this is clever, but it becomes increasingly tiresome. The same thing happened with Card’s ENDER WIGGIN series. Orson Scott Card’s characters talk too much. I’m ready for everyone to shut up and get moving. Come on, let’s go!

I’m still listening to Blackstone Audio’s version which is very good. To their credit, the narrators don’t appear to be as bored as I am.

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KAT HOOPER is a professor at the University of North Florida where she teaches neuroscience, psychology, and research methods courses. She occasionally gets paid to review scientific textbooks, but reviewing speculative fiction is much more fun. Kat lives with her husband and their children in Jacksonville Florida.

View all posts by Kat Hooper

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