Review by Patricia de Hemricourt
Though at first glance The Tales of Alvin Maker seems to be a departure from Card’s science fiction norms, it still contains many of the elements that have given him such fame as he has.
From the “cast” perspective, the main character is an innocent child blessed with special abilities and one on whom the fate of many will undoubtedly depend.
This main character will, in both cases, star as the central figure of a series and evolve into a different character altogether. The reader is invited to witness the profound evolution of the character and how his personal growth is both influence and influencing the world around him.
In The Tales of Alvin Maker , unlike Enders (from the Ender’s Game Saga), Alvin Miller Jr. is born in the distant past of early America, the seventh son of a family of pioneers. He grows up in an environment in which magic and curses are a part of everyday life. People live in fear of evil spirits and the Red man, and rely on Torches and Makers with special “knacks” (magic abilities) to guide them through life. In a world where the village priest seems to be lead by some kind of devil and little boys can cause materials to bend themselves to their wishes, anything is possible.
Though the book and the series are sometimes misleading as the border between fantasy and early America history is often blurred, I would wholeheartedly recommend this book and the entire series for the philosophical message it conveys through skilful writing and gripping adventures.