The Alvin Maker Series
by: Orson Scott Card
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
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
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
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/.
* * * * = Un-put-downable, excellent reading!
* * * = Good value, interesting reading.
* * = Had potential, but could have been better.
* = Slow, difficult to read, could have been
* = Imminently