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Old 07-01-2010, 11:07 AM   #1
leebase
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The Crystal City - Orson Scott Card

The Crystal City wraps up the Alvin Maker series (so far anyway) by Orson Scott Card. We finally see Alvin fulfilling his destiny that started in the first book with his birth. It's a solid story weaving in Abraham Lincoln and freeing of the slaves -- in Card's alternate history fantasy. This time it's not a North vs. South war, but getting slaves and the down trodden white and black alike from New Barcelona (New Orleans) to freedom and the building of a new city.

There's also an interesting side journey with Calvin, Alvin's brother and fellow maker, going off with Jim Bowie to fight the Mexica -- Cortez not having wiped them out in this alternate history.

This book is much more like the 2nd for me. A "good read" but it just didn't hit that level the 1st, 3rd, and 4th books did where I felt Card had some truly brilliant moments and writing. Slavery is the major theme but it isn't handled as brilliantly as the witch trial scenes from the prior book. Calvin is still a potential nemesis but is neither all that bad nor is he redeemed in this book. There is clearly a set up for him to take on Alvin directly in the next book.

We've been wondering what "the Crystal City" might be since it was mentioned in the second book -- and the realization makes sense but it's not particularly inspiring up to this point -- IMHO.

Still, if you've read the first four books you'll want to read this one. It may not be Card at his best but it is a 'good read'.

Lee
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