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The Alvin Maker Series
by: Orson Scott Card
Review by Ciara Grey

I confess freely that I have a new addiction. Orson Scott Cardís Alvin Maker series is a must read for those working with a different style of narrative and dialog. True to form these novels have characters to love and hate and all the science fiction mixed with fantasy you could ask for.

This series is an alternative history set in North America. The American Revolution never happened, such things as doodlebugs and hexes are commonplace. Mr. Card uses his impeccable research of frontier life and Native American Indian lore to bring a vibrant story into being. The names he uses for his characters are descriptive of their personalities, station of life and abilities. If anything the names add to the characters.

The narrative of the story is unique in that it is in the frontier language of the characters. The transition between narrative and the characters speaking is very smooth and doesnít distract the reader. When a formally educated character is in the scene and is the main POV, the narrative matches their speaking voice. Mr. Card flawlessly maintains the balance of narrative and dialog throughout each novel.

The attitudes of the white settlers towards black slaves and Native American Indians is not sugar coated. The less kind characters of the story are used to show the ugliness of prejudice without the use of offensive terms. Many times an author uses racial slurs to get the point across and ends up offending and losing many readers. Mr. Card allows his characters to show the meaning of those slurs. This gives more impact to the injustice and makes the reader care even more about those that are the victims of ignorant cruelty.

Along the way, the reader is treated to humor and sharp wit. The religious thread, as is usual in Mr. Cardís writing, is not oppressive and gives the reader a fuller sense of the characters and natural elements.

There are a few points where explanations of scientific concepts run a bit long. Alvinís character as an adult seems a tad bit more childish than it should be at times. The continuity throughout all five novels is very clean. In his acknowledgements he always credits several people for finding continuity problems. It never hurts to have a few sets of eyes to find these nagging problems in your work.

I rate this whole series
* * * * 3/4. I recommend Mr. Cardís novels to writers of any genre. The tools he uses can only help other writers at their craft. You may purchase all of his novels from his official site. http://www.hatrack.com/.

Rating Scale:
* * * * * = Un-put-downable, excellent reading!
* * * * = Good value, interesting reading.
* * * = Had potential, but could have been better.
* * = Slow, difficult to read, could have been improved.
* = Imminently forgettable.


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