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Alvin Journeyman (Tales of Alvin Maker #4)

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,770 Ratings  ·  228 Reviews
Alternate Cover for ISBN 0812509234

Alvin is a Maker, the first to be born in a century.Now a grown man and a journeyman smith, Alvin has returned to his family in the town of Vigor Church. He will share in their isolation, work as a blacksmith, and try to teach anyone who wishes to learn the knack of being a Maker. For Alvin has had a vision of the Crystal City he will bui
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 1996 by Tor Fantasy (first published September 1995)
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In his introduction, Card acknowledges that when "Alvin Journeyman" was first published, some fans had been waiting several years for the next installment in the series. Had I been one of those fans, I would have probably been really annoyed that I'd waited a long time and only got "Alvin Journeyman."

Just as is the case with the later Ender novels, the Alvin series seems to have descended into a series where people sit around and have lots of philosophical conversations that, while interesting,
Jul 19, 2014 Werner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of alternate history fantasies
Card continues his top-notch storytelling in this fourth volume of Alvin's saga. One of my Goodreads friends was distinctly displeased with this installment, complaining that it brought the series no closer to its resolution, and introduced characters and subplots only for the sake of lengthening the story. My take on these points, though, is quite different. The characters and subplots don't simply lengthen the saga; they add depth and complexity to it. You can tell a great (in the epic sense) ...more
Kat  Hooper
Nov 12, 2012 Kat Hooper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at FanLit.

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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mridupawan  Podder
Feb 24, 2016 Mridupawan Podder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating a book is never easy. And the worst mistake one does is my comparing a book with another. This book deserves a solid 4 star.

Orson Scott Card is no Brandon Sanderson or Patrick Rothfuss. Those guys get 5 stars just for being them. Everything is different from their books. From the pace of the tale to the language it speaks to you, from the intricate magical systems to minimalist plot lines. I've seen people give 3 stars to Robin Hobb just because it didn't entice them as much as Abercombi
Feb 26, 2014 Luisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Luisa by: Luiz Letti
The title to this one is a bit misleading, I guess, considering that Alvin barely journeys at all in the book. However, a lot of interesting things do happen in that one place he's in most of the time. Calvin is just getting stranger and a bit crazy even. Romance is more visible on this book, as are the subtler intreagues of the Unmaker. I dunno. More talk, less action, but still fun. I really enjoy the new character, the Lawyer from England. He sounds like a good person and I love his rhetoric ...more
Simon Mcleish
Jul 12, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in May 2000.

After a gap of a few years, Card has continued this series, one of my favourites of the fantasy genre. It is set in a fascinating alternate history USA in which much of the country remains in the hands of the colonial powers, and where magic is relatively commonplace.

Alvin Journeyman picks up the story of Alvin (usually referred to as Smith or Maker, from his occupation and magical gifting respectively) where the previous books left off, and carri
Sep 08, 2007 Christopher rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It has been said that any plot which depends on a dramatic courtroom trial is doomed to mediocrity. ALVIN JOURNEYMAN, unfortunately, is one of those plots. In this fourth instalment of Orson Scott Card's alternate-history and Mormon allegory "The Tales of Alvin Maker", Alvin is put on trial for his life. We, the readers, spend half the book being dragged through courtroom melodrama with a protagonist the reader is having a hard time caring about any more.

At the end of PRENTICE ALVIN, Alvin finis
Sep 15, 2012 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm well and hooked on this series now. I love the ease with which Card writes in dialect and the sort of rant that the narrator goes on in the first chapter. What was tough about this one is that I really hate misunderstandings that build and build through a story based on gossip and or lies and it's hard for me to stomach witch-hunt type trials, so what Alvin faces in this book grated on me. It's also rough to watch him be so clueless about the jealousy of his brother Calvin and just watch tha ...more
Jun 27, 2009 Diane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For quite some time now, I have been trying to pinpoint the exact date when one of my favorite authors, Orson Scott Card, officially made the jump from writing understated, powerful novels about fundamentally good, human, exquisitely rendered characters in fantastical settings, to writing over-analyzed crap with too much dialogue, too much pontificating about political machinations and without a single bloody word edited out.

Having read both Prentice Alvin and Alvin Journeyman within the past 24
Margy Levine Young
If you enjoy the Ender series, be sure to read the Alvin Maker series.
Jan 22, 2015 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the judge in the trial scenes. Some great character development all through the town of Hatrack River. Loved the nasty, jealous brother, Calvin (not his nastiness, just for the drama he created). However, I just have not warmed up to Peggy. Last time I liked her was in Book 2. I can't give away what happened to her in Book 3, but read it yourself and tell me whether you agree or not.

Also, every time the story veers toward the Red Man, I say to myself, "Huh? What? How much longer do I have
Trudging through the first chapter I wanted to scream. If I didn't already know that I enjoy reading books by this author I would have tossed the book. I'm sure as I continue through the story this memory will fade, but ... I just started the book, and the pain is still fresh.


But now it's finished, and that was good reading--especially the legal bit with the court case. I liked how it was wrapped up where much of the trouble started, where Mr. Dowser had said for the well to be dug.
Mukta Mohapatra
Apr 03, 2015 Mukta Mohapatra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since Vigor was dead when Calvin was born, he is also the seventh son of a seventh son. Why does Alvin get so much attention and praise when Calvin has very similar powers?

Calvin's resentment and jealousy are driving him to try and destroy Alvin. Calvin goes East to France to learn from Napoleon while Alvin goes West to try and get help from Ta-kumsaw.

Peggy sends Alvin a letter because she sees danger if he doesn't leave home right away. He is trying to teach the people of Vigor Church to become
Jul 25, 2009 Ron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, maps
Yeap, just kept getting sillier. More extraneous characters, more side plots for the sake of drawing things out, less progress toward the resolution of the series.

Suddenly, Card introduces a third person framing narrative in the opening and closing chapters of the fourth book of the series. Why? Ask him.

Not sure if I'll read any more. Card is a great storyteller, but he has unraveled his story so badly that I'm not terribly interested how it ends.
Miz Lizzie
Alvin returns home to Vigor Church with Arthur Stuart, the "mixup" boy, to start teaching folks how to be Makers in an attempt to find a way to build the Crystal City of his vision. His younger brother Calvin, also a seventh son of a seventh son, bitterly resents Alvin. Instead of learning how to be a Maker from Alvin, Calvin spitefully heads out on his own journey to find a way to destroy all that Alvin is attempting to do. In the meantime, Makepeace Smith has not forgotten that golden plow Alv ...more
Mathew Whitney
Alvin Journeyman is the fourth novel in Orson Scott Card's Tales of Alvin Maker. A large portion of this book takes on the tone of a courtroom drama, which makes it feel like a bit of a departure from the previous tales, and serves to freshen up the overall story a little.

At some point, I feel like Alvin has been given too many powers, and Card almost has to scramble to find ways to show some weakness that will allow for conflict to drive the story forward. This is likely what left me with a fee
Gail Morris
Apr 22, 2016 Gail Morris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
my library did not have book 3 in this series but I found that this book still filled in those gaps by retelling the events in the lawsuit against Alvin while still moving the story forward in this book.
As usual the world stacks up against the main character and he remains true to his goals without being malicious to others while they are seeking to harm him. But the split between himself and his younger brother Calvin brings a new side to the story as he travels to France to learn from the Empe
Dec 21, 2013 Samuel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So continues my reading of the Tales of Alvin Maker: book 4 of 6. In this segment of the story, Alvin returns to Hatrack River where Makepeace, his former Master who took him on as a 'prentice, has him jailed and tried for gold theft: Alvin's "living" golden plow that he made out of Makepeace's iron for his Journeyman piece. Perhaps the biggest let down in this installment is that Alvin really is not much of a "Journeyman" here. The majority of the action revolves around Alvin in jail and on tri ...more
Alyssa Archambo
This is one of the best alternate history series I've ever read. It's clever, well-researched, and incredibly entertaining. For those of you who know your early American history, you will appreciate Card's rendition of mid-nineteenth century America. What I appreciate the most about this series is the writing. It's clean and efficient, and he trusts his reader. Despite all the information he throws at you, he doesn't stop and take the time to explain every little detail; he trusts that you'll pi ...more
Tony duncan
Mar 07, 2008 Tony duncan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people that like involved plots and characters about good and evil
I read the original book maybe 20 years ago and loved it. I haven;t read fiction for a good 10 years and this was my first plunge back into science fiction.

While simplistic in some ways this is a beautiful grand narrative. An alternative history where magic is real and is based on folk magic form the 198th century. An america that came about without wiping out the native Americnas and where the south remained a loyal colony for years longer than the US. An Iriquois nation part of the US, and wes
Tim Giauque
Aug 13, 2012 Tim Giauque rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another exciting chapter in the Tales of Alvin Maker. This one focuses on another plot against Alvin by his old master, Makepeace Smith. Much of the plot revolves around Alvin defending himself from allegations of theft and inappropriate contact with a young girl. A few new characters and storylines make appearances, including Verily Cooper, an Englishman who had the unfortunate luck of growing up with a knack in a country where people like him could be put to death; and Alvin's little brother C ...more
Craig Williams
Aug 31, 2009 Craig Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It had been awhile since I read the last book in this series, Prentice Alvin, so I went in hoping I wouldn't have to refer to Wikipedia too much about the details of what happened in the last book, in case my memory failed me (as it often does). Fortunately, the only thing I have forgotten about Orson Scott Card is how deftly he is able to refresh the reader's memory on such things without breaking up the narrative. I was able to enjoy this book without even a glimpse of a Wikipedia cheat sheet. ...more
Oct 09, 2012 Sherri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In the 4th series of the Alvin Maker series we find Alvin in jail on trumped up charges. Makepeace Smith, his master while he was studying to be a smithy, has sworn that Alvin stole the plow that Alvin himself made as his master piece to graduate from being an apprentice. The only reason Makepeace Smith is saying this is because once Alvin had completed making the plow; he used his knack to turn the plow to gold. And this was the real reason Makepeace Smith wanted the plow - not to use it in the
Jul 01, 2010 Rusty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Victory of Eagles, A Novel of Temeraire, by Naomi Novak (recognizable historical mileu): Thoroughly enjoyed this story of Napoleon's invasion of Britain and how dragons, led by Temeraire, and his captain, Will Laurence, help the British repel the French, who have their own dragon force. While Napoleon escapes, by dragon flight, of course, Temeraire and Laurence are sent to Australia. Both have been removed from military service because they rescued the dragons of France from a debilitating and l ...more
Nathan Burgoine
Note: I won't be finishing this series, given the author's homophobic stance - I'm not going to fill his pockets. But these were my thoughts on the book before I knew how horrible a man the author was:

Quite happily, this book had quite a bit of Calvin (Alvin's younger brother, who, since Alvin's eldest brother died just after Alvin was born, is also a seventh son of a seventh son). Calvin Maker is extremely jealous of Alvin's abilities (and is poisoned to the thought of trying to even match Alvi
Jun 02, 2013 Christophe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Compagnon forgeron, compagnon Faiseur, Alvin est de retour chez les siens. Mais quelle est sa tâche aujourd'hui ? " Je ne peux pas apprendre aux gens comment bâtir la Cité de Cristal si je ne sais pas moi même de quoi il s'agit. " La Cité de Cristal : la vision dans la tornade du lac Mizogan, en compagnie du prophète des Rouges. Si peu des chemins de sa vie y conduisent ; Peggy Larner - Peggy la torche - le sait bien. Et l'ennemi de toujours choisit à présent des voies plus subtiles pour le dét
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Another great story within a story: I originally read this several years ago, and re-read it recently after getting the new book in the series. As I read this series as a whole, I am staring to notice that the individual stories form each book (The war in Red Prophet, the story of Arthur Stuart in Prentice Alvin, and the trial in this book) and the new characters that keep coming along, are starting to overshadow the overall story of Alvin's quest to build the Crystal City.

This book started a li

Patrick Stanko
Because I'm lazy, I'll just review books 1-4 here. I wouldn't go so far to say this is a great series but it is very fun. The books are quick and the setting and characters are interesting. The other benefit is that the story lines in each book are different from what you get in typical science fiction and fantasy series. It's easy for me to recommend this series.

I can't give this book more than 3 stars though because it's not very compelling. The book wasn't a struggle to read but I think that
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Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.
Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series Th
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Other Books in the Series

Tales of Alvin Maker (6 books)
  • Seventh Son (Tales of Alvin Maker, #1)
  • Red Prophet (Tales of Alvin Maker, #2)
  • Prentice Alvin (Tales of Alvin Maker, #3)
  • Heartfire (Tales of Alvin Maker, #5)
  • The Crystal City (Tales of Alvin Maker, #6)

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